Hummingbird's Buffet

Do you know those cute little guys humming around your backyard? Aren’t they just fascinating? We think so, too, so we collected some interesting information to share with you concerning our providential pollinators!

For starters, hummingbirds can not walk, unlike any other bird, so they rely on their wings to get them everywhere. Hummingbirds are known to be nature’s helicopter as they are the only birds who can hover, zip backward, sideways, and even upside down. And if you have ever been around them, you know the humming of their wings can be quite startling. Hummingbirds have been recorded to flap their wings up to 200 flaps per second!

With a metabolism as fast as their wings, hummingbirds are constantly looking for a snack, refueling about every 10 minutes. In one day, hummingbirds can consume 50% of their body weight just to maintain their normal weight. That can equate to up to 12,000 calories burned per day. For reference, that's like a full-grown man's daily calorie burn multiplied by five.

Hummingbirds cannot sniff out their food, but they have excellent vision, which is why you will typically see these humming friends hovering over vibrant colors, especially red and orange, where they sip on sweet nectar. If you are ever adding a hummingbird feeder to your garden, it is important to note that dyes, while they are colorful and attractive, are harmful. Go the natural route instead and plant bright-colored flowers in your yard.

Our resident plant nerd, Valerie, recommends planting trumpet-shaped flowers with deep shades of red or pink to attract hummingbirds to their ideal sippy cup for nectar fuel. In our gardens, we have Weigelas and Butterfly Bushes that fit the bill. Weigelas hold a special appeal for hummingbirds, thanks to their flower shape, which outcompetes bees and perfectly accommodates a hummingbird's long beak. And with so many blooms on a Weigela bush to choose from, you may as well call it a humming buffet!

Maroon Swoon



Keep ‘em coming by trimming back the spent flowers. This will encourage new flowers, keeping your plant blooming all summer.

More resources on Hummingbirds.

Valerie’s Documentary Recommendation: