“Hummingbird don’t fly away, fly away…” Seals and Crofts’ lyrics always repeat in my mind this time of year. But as the temperatures drop in North Texas, hummingbirds must migrate south.
If you are like me, the spring arrival of the first hummingbird is always a Red Letter Day. The song lyrics continue: “I love you, love you, love you. I don’t even know the reason why…”
Hummingbirds have always held a fascination for me. Finding a hummingbird nest continues to be on my life list. To attract hummingbirds, I have planted many native plants including coral honeysuckle, Turk’s cap, flame acanthus, scarlet buckeye, false indigo bush, red yucca, various salvias, standing cypress, Texas lantana, cenizo, lemon beebalm, penstemons, and Texas betony.
My love affair with the little birds found us traveling south recently to Rockport, Texas, to learn more about these amazing creatures. Rockport is a stop on the migration map for many birds. For more information on Rockport’s 24th Annual Texas HummerBird Celebration, visit http://rockporthummingbird.com
“The sweetness of your nectar has drawn me like a fly…” The hummingbird event offered four days full of lectures, workshops and field trips. I only attended one. Instead, the view of these fascinating birds (uncharacteristically) sharing feeders at the 25 tour stops mesmerized me. At a single landscape more than a hundred birds could have been counted simultaneously fluttering around the feeders and flowers. I was enchanted by the hummingbirds—and the people who hosted them before sending them off for the next leg of their journey. One yard had 40 feeders! At another, a gentleman told me he uses about 60 pounds of sugar to prepare his feeders for the weeks the hummingbirds fly through.
The tiny birds look for more than just sweet nectar. Gardens with food, water, and shelter are the most attractive to hummingbirds.
Here in North Texas, we can evaluate our yards now to host next spring’s hummingbirds. Plant bird-friendly native plants in our milder fall temperatures. This will give those plants time to establish strong roots during the winter months. Their blooms will welcome a bounty of life. Remember the importance of supplying fresh water. Careful arrangement of shrubs and trees should provide protection for the birds and an easy step-ladder approach. Then next spring, you might be marking your calendar with the first day you spot a hummingbird in your yard!