Hummingbird stories, tips and suggestions from BoNE readers

Photo by Chris Bosak A Ruby-throated Hummingbird hovers near a feeder in Danbury, Conn., summer 2016

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Ruby-throated Hummingbird hovers near a feeder in Danbury, Conn., summer 2016

The vast majority of the hummingbirds have gone south by now. But that doesn’t mean I can’t do another post on these spectacular tiny birds. I did a series of posts and bird columns on hummingbirds a few months ago and received a tremendous amount of feedback. So here, in no particular order or font, is a ton of information from Birds of New England readers. Thanks so much for your feedback and feel free to write any time. Siimply comment on this post or send me an email to

From Marsha,

We live in condos on a large open pond surrounded by trees so it’s a perfect environment for the little birds, lots of open space to chase each other around and lots of areas to perch. I can’t seem to get them to come to my feeder (I have one and my neighbor has 3) but they do occasionally visit my hanging petunias and fuschias which I specifically hung knowing hummers are attracted to the tubular flowers. They are extremely entertaining to watch and I was very disappointed to learn that they were actually being aggressive toward each other and not playing. Oh well, I guess it can’t be Disney all the time…

From Joan,

I have a feeder hanging about 2 feet from the glass jalousies that enclose my breezeway and see these little guys every day.  I don’t have any flowers near them (my yard is very shaded) but there are some coleus plants below the feeder so perhaps they see those bright colors.  I also have a hairy woodpecker who drinks from the hummingbird feeder and I find that I must refill it about every 4 days since he is so thirsty!  He just hooks his feet over the edge where the base meets the clear upper part and drinks away.  There are 3 plastic flowers around the base of the feeder that the birds drink from and they are a couple inches apart but if one hummingbird is drinking, the other one won’t go to one of the other flowers and in fact, if there are two of them around at the same time, they dive bomb each other.  One of the hummingbirds that comes has the bright red spot on his throat and the other one looks like the one in your picture without the red throat.  I can be just inside the windows that are tilted out and they come bopping around right up to the window.  I love seeing them and know they won’t be around too much longer but then it will be time to start buying sunflower seed for all my other winged friends

Photo by Chris Bosak A Ruby-throated HummingAbird perches on a branch in Brookfield, Conn., summer 2016.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Ruby-throated HummingAbird perches on a branch in Brookfield, Conn., summer 2016.

From Linda,

I love watching them. I have 2 feeders. I always get 2 birds. My problem is the bees took over. They sworm on them so I think birds won’t go there. Any suggestions?

From Susan,

I enjoyed reading your recent article about hummingbirds in The New Canaan News.

I live in New Canaan and we have lots of hummingbirds in our garden, too.  Our house is surrounded by woods in a clearing with perennial gardens.  We have male, female and probably immature ones feeding at our feeder all day long.  Only one comes at a time: as you noted they are territorial and dive bomb intruders.

Some of the flowers that attract hummers in our garden are:

Everblooming bleeding heart

Wooly Betony

Bee Balm

Cardinal Flower

Giant Blue Lobelia




I see them at other flowers as well, but they may be searching for insects to feed their young.

From Margaret,

I enjoyed your hummingbirds!   I’ve had two hummingbird experiences maybe worth sharing.

      The first was on a roofed, but open, porch, where the blooming branches of a trumpet creeper crept in.  As I sat preparing string beans to freeze, a hummer came under the roof, sampling the orange trumpet-shaped blossoms.  The bird noticed me and came closer to size me up, I guess.  As it paused there, I could actually feel the  breeze from its wings on my bare knee so strong, smooth and focused.

     The second happened because a hummer flew into our sun porch and got caught in a spider web.  When noted, motionless, by my mother, she thought it was dead.  But it moved and she went and closed her hand around it.  She called me to see it before she let it go.  We looked it over, imagining how terrified it must be.  Noting some webbing attached to its bill, I sought to remove it, lest it possibly prevent it from being opened.  As I did so, I was most surprised to find that the bill was not hard at all, but more like Tupperware in texture!  As Mother opened her hand to release it, the bird just sat there a moment ….  was it almost a thank-you?

From Pam,

I knew about how territorial hummingbirds are – so I put some feeders at different places and different heights The males like to be higher. My husband would say I was messing with nature – but I preferred to make the experience more bird friendly, and not so competitive.

Just by feeding them we are “messing with nature” 

The thing I found important was to have clean feeders in the house – so when I set out food I was not under pressure to clean the old feeder.   Now I am SO glad to see the newest and best Perky Pet feeders that are easy to clean.  I put the feeders and sugar expenses under Entertainment.

From Tom,

great article in new canaan news- have a feeder as well in middle of our small but well flowered backyard- our bird hits it several times a day and on rare occasion is with another – i have taken some great pics as well and will forward them to u separately- the birds also have enjoyed our butterfly bush; cornflowers ( much less so) and bee balm-

From Liz,

I was thrilled to see a hummingbird on a bush with bright orange trumpet type flowers across the street from my house on Saturday. I immediately thought of you and your hummingbird article. What a treat to see this charming bird. Way too fast for me to get my camera so I had to just enjoy watching it.

From Lynne,

was at work when my husband called to tell me that I should get home, because a hummingbird had flown into his open office door and was flying around the room. Exhausted, it finally landed on a ceiling fan blade (the fan was off, of course). When I got home, I cut a branch with open blossoms from our trumpet creeper plant, taped it to the pole we use to open our skylights, and held the blossoms in front of the hummingbird. It started drinking, and after a couple minutes, I slowly backed out of the office door with the pole held so the hummingbird could follow. Thankfully the bird followed the blossoms out and he flew free.

Photo by Chris Bosak A Ruby-throated Hummingbird sips nectar from Canna flower in Danbury, Conn., summer 2016.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Ruby-throated Hummingbird sips nectar from Canna flower in Danbury, Conn., summer 2016.

From Judy,

We have a large 2-car garage, and on several occasions hummingbirds have flown inside and gotten trapped..they exhausted themselves before we could catch them.  Finally we purchased a butterfly net (Agway) and with its long handle were able to snare the bird inside and release it outside. 

Just a suggestion.

From Pam,

We have a hummingbird come to our home regularly. She spends a lot of time dipping into the orange tubular flowers of the trumpet vine that climbs up to our deck. Fun to watch, today I heard her chirping first. 

Usually I hear the hum of her wings beating when she comes near. Thishummer appears mostly dark. Other times I have seen them with red on the neck. Not sure what kind it is.

They will also come to the small blue lobelia.

Thanks for your column!

From Donna,

Truly enjoyed your article on Hummingbirds. I have a summer cottage on Granite Lake and hang special  flower arrangements just for them. This season I have a try-level flower holder to hold three pot 6” pots and potted Mellow Yellow Cuphea.  Just recently a hummingbird comes to enjoy the flowers, a joy to pleasure.  Before the hummingbird, large yellow round bees came to enjoy the flowers.  The bees were gentle and when I was sitting next to the flowers they gently land on my arms like sucking nectar but never strung me. Never was I in fear just another precious moment of enjoying nature.

Keep writing your beautiful articles.

From Jan,

I have more hummingbirds this year than I have had in the 10 years+ I’ve been feeding them. I fill 2 feeders daily. I love them more than anything. Fyi. I have seen them on my phlox, petunias, tomato flowers, coralbells (a favorite), impatiens, rudbeckia, and many others, hosta, in addition to  all you have mentioned in your article.

From Carol,

I really enjoyed your recent column on hummingbirds. They are one of my summer favorites.  In addition to the flower list you identified, I have also seen them on pink phlox, gladiola, perennial sweet pea – which they love, coleus flowers,  and morning glories. My special joy is watching them fly through the sprinkler and seeming to really enjoy their own personal showers. They are really amazing creatures.

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