Attracting and Caring for Hummingbirds

Written by Johann Erickson

The oldest historical mention of hummingbirds likely dates back torepparttar Taino Native Americans, who were reportedlyrepparttar 139201 first humans to greet Columbus when he landed in America. The Taino believe that hummingbirds arerepparttar 139202 spreaders of life on Earth, and their warriors were known as Colibir, or Hummingbird warriors, because they are a peaceful bird that will defend their territory withrepparttar 139203 heart of an eagle.

How long they have been in America is unknown, but they have delighted bird watchers for many years, with their quick dashes intorepparttar 139204 garden, andrepparttar 139205 shine ofrepparttar 139206 sun on brilliant feathers. While there actually are duller colored birds,repparttar 139207 ruby-throated hummingbird isrepparttar 139208 most commonly recognized for its iridescent feathering, and dazzlig ruby-red throat. The color though, is not all it seems.

Hummingbirds get their unusual coloring fromrepparttar 139209 fact that not all feathers are pigmented, or colored. Inrepparttar 139210 duller colors, includingrepparttar 139211 Rufous Hummingbird,repparttar 139212 brown hue is actual pigment inrepparttar 139213 feather structure. Inrepparttar 139214 ruby-throated variety, light refracting throughrepparttar 139215 feather segments, breaking it up much like a prism would. Only certain levels of color will be seen byrepparttar 139216 human eye, and that color will change with every movement ofrepparttar 139217 feather, or angle ofrepparttar 139218 light striking it.

This is one ofrepparttar 139219 features that makes them so charming to watch as they flit around a garden or feeder. Hummingbirds are very fast, traveling at an average 25 miles per hour, with wingbeats of anywhere from 10-15 per second inrepparttar 139220 Giant Hummingbird, up to 80 per minute byrepparttar 139221 Amethyst Woodstar. The ruby-throated hummer falls intorepparttar 139222 middle range, at about 53 beats per second.

To sustain such rapid and prolonged activity,repparttar 139223 hummingbird’s heart must beat accordingly. For birds that are hot, or sleepy, that can be as low as 50-180 beats per minute, but a heart rate of an amazing 1360 beat per minute has been recorded in a Blue-Throated Hummingbird.

All this activity requires a humming bird to eat almost continually, to fuelrepparttar 139224 activity that will maintain its 105-109F body heat. That means dining as many as 15 times an hour, on high-energy food. In volume, they consume up to eight times their body weight a day. But reducerepparttar 139225 nectar to a solid by eliminatingrepparttar 139226 water, and it would amount to their own bodyweight.

A hummingbird can starve to death in as little as two hours, if still active. That makes rescue of birds trapped in garages or other enclosed areas, imperative within a short time. At night, their “thermal generators” shut down as they rest, and allow their body temperature to drop, so that less energy is used up while they sleep.

If you enjoy watching these delightful little birds, and are also an enthusiastic gardener, why not plant clumps of flowers or bushes, to bring them into your yard? Hummingbirds are creatures of habit, and will develop their own paths to food, checking them frequently and on a daily basis. Once they find out you have goodies, they’ll return over and over. Other hummers will follow, and you may then get to see hummingbird behavior at its worst, as they dive at each other to protect their food sources.

The Hosta – A Shade Loving Perennial

Written by Bonnie P. Carrier

My first introductions to Hostas were four small green and white clumps edging a small section of my mother- in- laws driveway.

I was not terribly impressed, they looked more like scraggly lettuce plants with a few sticks growing out ofrepparttar middle plus their size never seemed to change from year to year.

Fast forward a few years, I now had my own home with visions of gorgeous gardens blooming in my head.

The property was surrounded by trees, which we loved not only forrepparttar 139152 privacy butrepparttar 139153 house was kept quite cool duringrepparttar 139154 hot summer months.

I soon discovered that all that shade may have been good for keeping our home and family cool it wasn’t great for growing certain perennials as most I’d looked at all said full sun.

During trips to local nurseries looking for shade loving plants I kept noticing Hostas, thinking “Oh, great spindly lettuce” I went ahead and purchased two plants, I was desperate to plant something alongrepparttar 139155 perimeter of those wonderful trees.

The two green plants with white stripes found a home next to a simple concrete birdbath, one on either side.

Duringrepparttar 139156 summer I weeded around them, watered and feed them every two weeks but didn’t really hold much hope that they would turn into anything special.

The following Spring during winter clean up I noticed small green shoots popping up besiderepparttar 139157 birdbath but again didn’t get to excited.

Well, by mid summer those two had tripled in size were very full and looked absolutely beautiful.

I began to rethink my first impression of Hostas and after doing some research discovered there are hundreds – actually more then 2600- of varieties available.

Leaf colors include green, blue, gold and white. The leaves can either be a solid color or variegated with a second color mixed inrepparttar 139158 center or alongrepparttar 139159 edges.

Several plants in various shades can really dress up a shady corner. By mixing several ofrepparttar 139160 brighter hues along with darker shades can be quite dramatic.

Another way to use Hostas is by mixing them with other shade plants, which can include Perennials such as Astilbe, Bleeding Heart and Japanese Painted Ferns also, Shrubs like Azalea, Hydrangea or Sweet Pepperbush.

You’re not limited to using shade plants just within wooded areas or around trees.

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