29 July 2010

critters: Hummingbirds

I've really been enjoying watching the hummingbirds zip around the front garden lately. We have two common species in Central Texas, the Black-chinned and Ruby-throated, and they are really difficult for me to ID most of the time.

I should admit that we are not flush with the hummingbirds, but I do see them almost every day. I have my suspicions that I might be seeing only one of the territorial little beasties. But I love watching it/them flit about the yard from my perch on the mosquito-free couch. And then, I like seeing them perch up in the retama tree keeping an eye out for intruders into their treasure trove. Then we're all perched there, just watching the flowers.

I wish that I were fast enough to snap a photo. Since I'm not, we'll just have to rely on good old text for this post.

Now, I used to set out a hummingbird feeder, and I'm definitely not philosophically opposed to the idea. They can be very good things. I've visited some feeders, especially in the tropics, that were just swarming with various species of hummingbirds. Gorgeous and exciting.

But, I'm a man of convenience, and I really hate making sugar water and refilling the feeder. Continual maintenance (mowing, watering, filling) just isn't really my thing.

So, I decided to fill my yard with plants for the hummingbirds, and it's really beginning to pay off.

Here's what I've planted for them (* = blooming now):
  • turk's cap*
  • flame acanthus*
  • red yucca*
  • coral bean*
  • coral honeysuckle
  • crossvine
  • Texas betony
  • mountain sage
  • desert willow*
Around town, I've also seen them sipping nectar from Gregg's salvia, among other common plants.

The moral of the story is that they love long red tubular flowers. In fact, they rarely stop at my desert willow, which has pinkish flowers.

3 comments:

Sarah said...

I recently saw one enjoying our society garlic...was quite surprised, actually.

Sarah

Tim said...

They love our Firebushes that we put in (I completely put them in the wrong place aesthetically, but can't move them because everyone loves watching the hummingbirds).

Also agave blooms.

LindaCTG said...

Yes, mine are very territorial as well, so I only get one or two that chase each other like mad. I would love to have clusters of them. I have turks cap all along the patio to watch them closeup, but I'm never fast enough with the camera either!

Oh, they also love Texas betony. And mine have come to the desert willow too in the past.