We love these jewels of the sky! These beautiful birds arrive in Utah in late April/mid-May and stay through September. It's best to prepare your habitat before hummingbirds arrive. However, it's not too late to attract these fascinating birds to your yard.
Many migratory hummingbirds, the breeding natives, arrive in Utah sometime in April or early May. It varies year to year depending on changing environmental factors. Like many wild animals, the male of the species is much more flashy than the female. They normally have colorful throats and tails and sometimes will whistle as they fly.
The best way to attract these jewels of the sky is to provide the necessities for their perfect habitat. The more of these you can provide in your own backyard the better chance you will have of daily hummingbird visitors. We've put together 5 guiding principles to make the perfect Hummingbird Habitat in your Utah yard.
When you bring up hummingbirds most people think immediately of red sugar water. But, that's not the only way to attract hummingbirds. A hummingbird feeder is a great way to supplement native sources of nectar in your yard. However, using native and non-native plants is the best source for these active birds.
Thoughtful plantings of native nectar sources can provide an uninterrupted food source throughout their stay. Because hummingbirds are well adapted to native plants they are the best way to invite hummingbirds to your yard. Native plants also make your yard a perfect nesting spot year after year.
Consider adding the following fantastic sources of nectar to your landscape.
We have the best Hummingbird Feeder Recipe. Again, we want to make sure and point out that a hummingbird feeder should be used as a second source of food for these busy little birds.
Supplemental feeders should be filled with a solution of four parts water to one part white sugar. Feeders can ferment if left too long. Keep your feeder fresh by cleaning them well and replacing sugar water before it begins to ferment.
Sometimes hummingbirds become territorial of a feeder. To avoid this behavior feeders should hang at a distance from each other or out of sight from one another.
Shallow water attracts hummingbirds. Traditional birdbaths tend to be too deep for these tiny birds. As a solution, you can fill your birdbath part way with pebbles and rocks to make them more suitable. We have a variety of birdbaths available at the nursery and filler too!
Hummingbirds also like moving / natural bird baths. They will bathe in sprinklers, misters and water droplets that have collected on large leaves. Planting Cannas and Hostas in your yard will create a natural birdbath for hummingbirds.
Hummingbirds will create their home in a place with natural materials readily available. Providing perching sites, nesting sites and nesting material is a great way to encourage hummingbirds to take up residence in your yard. And keep them from using your yard as just a pass through.
Trees, shrubs and vines offer protection from predators. These are also the perfect place to build a nest. Preferable nesting materials include moss, lichens, and fur. Pappus from seeds such as dandelions, thistle, aster and asclepias cotton also make great nesting materials. Surprisingly, spider webs are an especially important nest component.
Nature is it's own best exterminating system. Spiders and insects are a protein-packed meal for hummingbirds. We knew we loved these busy little birds!
Hummingbirds also use spider webs for nest building. Keeping an organic garden will allow nature to work at it's best. A well-balanced backyard ecosystem is essential for providing sources of protein.
For more information on hummingbirds visit
My 3-year old niece came tearing into gramma’s house the other day screaming, with delight, “My plants are growing, Gramma! My plants are growing!!”. She was so excited she could barely contain herself. She kept running around the house in circles, absolutely over the moon that “her” plants had grown.
It was one of those moments that, as a 5th generation member of a family whose business it is to help gardens thrive, made we wonder...how do we get kids to have this kind of love for gardening at such a young age? What was it that made my little niece want to jump back out into the dirt with her colorful shovel and help gramma grow her tomatoes?
We did a bit of polling among our gardening experts. Drumroll Please! It seems like there are a few ways to get the entire family gardening, and actually enjoying it, together!
Whether you are laying out an entirely new landscape design, planting a veggie garden or just refreshing a flower bed with a few annuals, let the kids be involved. If they get to select the tree you take home, or even just one small annual, they feel important. That feeling of ownership will have them more invested in the success of that plant. Plus, with their creative minds, they may pick a color or texture you would never have thought of. Sometimes a new perspective can make the landscape stand out even more beautifully.
Let your kids plot out a bit of dirt to take care of themselves. Even if they are too little to properly plant something, they can help in small ways. Suggest they pick up little sticks or debris (leaves, etc.) that may have fallen in the garden. If they are a little older, and with a bit of direction, they can help with weeding, cutting flowers for indoor décor and harvesting when the time has come. Then, of course, for the eldest, there is the all-important mowing of the lawn.
Kids will love being part of the process from start to finish. They might even be more excited about eating the veggies they have taken such good care of throughout the season.
Little hands need little tools. Gardening tools that fit their hands and are easy to use will make your kids excited to get dirty. There are some really cute gardening toys out there that are light-weight, durable and actually work! Kids can truly help with digging without yielding an overly heavy shovel designed for big hands.
We love and use Melissa & Doug for our little gardeners, they make great, long-lasting products. We even started carrying them, available now in our main store. However, there are others available on the market that will work and make it fun. We've seen good sets at local drug stores and Target.
Make the project a good challenge for their age, but not so overwhelming they end up unable to finish. While this is different for every family and every child, you'll know your child's skill level best.
Of course, there are some givens, a 3-year old won’t be able to mow the lawn and a 14-year old will likely get very bored picking up sticks. Find a project that challenges them enough to make them feel successful.
Grows together! Enjoy the side effects of spending time with your family in the garden. You will have given your kids something to be proud of while exposing them to nature, taught them where their food comes from and instilled in them a sense of accomplishment and pride. And, maybe just shortened your personal chore list a bit in the process.
Nest step? Use that extra time to cuddle up and watch a movie together before a rest-filled bedtime. Because, as we all know, physical activity helps promote deeper sleep and better rest.
Give them the gift of gardening and build their love of gardening right alongside yours.
We hope this short list triggers some ideas. We'd love to know how you get your kids involved in the garden in a fun and easy way.
As always, if you have any questions, we are here to help.