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Attracting Hummingbirds, Keeping Them Healthy and Happy

Attracting hummingbirds to your lawn, garden or patio is not too hard. Hang a red hummingbird feeder filled with sugar nectar in an open area that is easily accessible or them and safe from predators. If there are hummingbirds in your area, eventually they will find it.

Getting hummingbirds to stay around and getting migrating hummers to return year after year, however, takes a little more effort. If you want them to nest in your yard, you need suitable trees and a good population of spiders. That means you cannot spray with pesticides.

In certain parts of the country, especially in humid, forested areas near lakes and streams, spiders are considered pests. People install misting systems to keep spiders away from their houses and porches so that they will not clutter up the place with webs.

Spraying for spiders can be counterproductive for two reasons: Spiders eat flies, mosquitoes, and other flying pests, and hummingbirds eat spiders. In fact, spiders are the hummingbirds’ main food source.

So if you kill off the spider population near your house, your yard becomes less attractive to nesting hummingbirds. The spray may also be bad for the tiny birds. Do not spray for mosquitoes or wasps either.

Planting red, trumpet-shaped, nectar-bearing flowers also attracts hummingbirds. If you do that, be sure to plant them where you will be able to easily see the hummingbirds to come to drink from them. It can be a beautiful sight.

In dry areas, or during dry summers, lawn sprinklers help the flowers and provide drops of water on leaves for the hummingbirds. To save water in dry areas while maintaining lush flowers and foliage for the hummers, a drip irrigation system is efficient and economical.

So if you want crowds of hummingbirds around your feeders, and you want the chance of seeing a nest of baby hummers in your yard, be kind to spiders, plant the right flowers and plants, hang red hummingbird feeders (and keep them clean and filled with fresh nectar)—and irrigate for lush vegetation.

Then just sit back and watch the show.

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