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Hummingbirds

Create a Hummingbird Garden in the Monterey Bay Area with California Natives

It is estimated that hummingbirds need to consume the nectar from between 1,000 to 2,000 flowers each day, taking up around 1.5 times their body mass in water each day as they feed.  Unfortunately, development and urban sprawl have caused much of the hummingbird-friendly habitat containing these nectar-producing plants to disappear all across the country and across the birds' migration routes.

Planting a hummingbird-friendly garden can help reduce the impact of disappearing habitat.  It’s easy and will provide hours of enjoyment as you welcome these ever-active, diminutive visitors to your garden.

A hummingbird-friendly garden requires three key elements - nectar-producing flowers, insects and water.

Nectar-producing flowers

Natural nectar provides hummingbirds with a steady supply of fast energy and a balanced source of micro-nutrients.  Native plants can provide significantly more nectar than cultivated hybrids.  Native plants may also require less maintenance, less fertilizer and less water than many non-native plants.

Choose plants that hummingbirds prefer.  These are generally odorless with tubular flowers.  Red flowers are especially attractive to them, followed by oranges and pinks, purples, blues, and yellows.  Beware of exotics like bougainvillea, which only trick hummingbirds into wasting precious energy trying to drink from empty blossoms.

Group similar plants together and choose annuals and perennials with different blooming periods.  With a little planning, you will be able to provide a steady supply of flowers and nectar nearly year round.

Fill as much of your yard as possible with flowering plants, vines, shrubs, and trees.  If you do not have a garden, even a window box or hanging basket can attract hummingbirds!

Encourage your neighbors to make their yards hummingbird friendly too. An entire corridor of habitat is much more valuable than scattered patches.

Insects

Hummingbirds need protein from pollen and insects to maintain their bodies and grow new feathers.  They have specialized neck muscles that help them take insects from the air.  They also catch insects from leaves and spider webs.  In this way they can also help control some of the bugs in your garden!

Attract insects for the hummingbirds by maintaining a healthy ecosystem in your yard.  You can do this by:
    Eliminating pesticides.  Spiders and insects like mosquitoes, aphids, and gnats are an important part of an adult bird's diet, and young hummers still in the nest feed on them almost exclusively.
    Planting insect-pollinated flowers as well as plants that hummingbirds pollinate.

Water

Hummingbirds like to bathe frequently, even in the pools of droplets that collect on leaves. Provide your yard with a constant source of water from a drip fountain attachment or a fine misting device.

Hummingbirds in the Monterey Bay

What kinds of hummingbird do we have in the Monterey Bay area?  

Anna’s hummingbird is a year-round resident in the Monterey Bay.  The male is dark green with a red head and throat.  The female may have a few iridescent feathers on her throat, but is much less showy.

We also have three migratory hummingbirds – the black-chinned hummingbird, the rufous hummingbird and Allen’s hummingbird.  These all visit the Monterey Bay from early spring through summer.

Further Information Sources

Audubon Society:        www.audubon.org
The Hummingbird Society :     www.hummingbirdsociety.org
National Wildlife Federation:    www.nwf.org
Bauer Nancy, 2001, The Habitat Garden Book – Wildlife Landscaping for the San Francisco Bay Region, Coyote Ridge Press
Merilees Bill, 2000, The New Gardening for Wildlife, Whitecap Books
Carroll S and Salt SD, 2004, Ecology for Gardeners, Timber Press


Nectar-Producing California natives for the Monterey Bay that attract hummingbirds
Nectar-Producing California natives for the Monterey Bay that attract hummingbirds

 

 

 

 

 

Exposure

Soil Moisture

Botanical name

Common Name

Height


Flower Color

Bloom Period

Sun

Partial shade

Shade

Dry

Medium

Wet

Perennials:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aquilegia formosa

Western columbine

15-36”

Red & yellow

May-Sep

 

X

X

X

X

 

Castilleja spp.

Indian paintbrush

6-15”

Red, orange

May-Aug

X

 

 

X

 

 

Cirsium occidentale

Cobweb thistle

2-3’

Deep red

May-Jun

X

 

 

X

 

 

Cynoglossum grande

Hound’s tongue

To 2ft.

Blue

May-Apr

 

X

X

X

X

 

Delphinium cardinale

Red larkspur

2-4’

Bright red

May-Jun

X

 

 

X

 

 

Dudleya spp.

Bluff Lettuce

6-8”

Yellow-orange

Apr-Jun

X

X

 

X

 

 

Epilobium canum

California fuchsia

6-24”

Red

Jul-Oct

X

 

 

X

X

 

Heuchera maxima

Island alumroot

6-30”

White-pink

May-Aug

 

X

 

X

X

 

Heuchera micrantha

Alumroot

6-15”

White or pink

May-Jun

 

X

X

X

X

 

Isomeris arborea

Bladderpod

2’

Yellow

May-Sep

X

 

 

X

X

 

Lilium pardalinum

Lily

1-5’

Orange

May-Aug

 

X

X

X

X

 

Penstemon heterophyllus

Meadow penstemon

6”-15”

Blue–blue-pink

May-Sep

X

 

 

X

X

 

Penstemon spectabilis

Royal penstemon

2-3’

Pink

May-Sep

X

 

 

X

X

 

Salvia spathacea

Hummingbird sage

2-3’

Rose-pink

Mar-May

 

X

 

X

X

 

Satureja mimuloides

Wild savory

4-6”

Orange-red

May-Jul

 

X

X

 

X

X

Scrophularia californica

California bee plant

3-4’

Maroon

Feb-Jul

X

X

 

X

X

 

Silene californica

Indian pink

1’

Scarlet-red

May-Jul

 

X

 

X

X

 

Silene laciniata

Fringed Indian pink, Catch fly, Southern Indian pink

1’

Red

May-Jul

X

X

 

X

X

 

Stachys bullata

Wood mint

8-12”

Pink

Apr-Jun

 

X

X

X

X

 

Shrubs:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arctostaphylos spp.

Manzanita species

Varies

White-pink

Jan-Feb

X

X

 

X

 

 

Chilopsis linearis

Desert willow

6-20’

Rose-lavender

Jun-Jul

X

 

 

 

X

X

Galvesia speciosa

Island snapdragon

To 3’

Red

May-Sept

X

X

 

X

X

 

Lavatera assurgentiflora

Island tree mallow

4-6’

Rose-purple

Feb-Dec

X

 

 

X

X

 

Lepechinia calycina

Pitcher sage

1-4’

Lavender

Apr-Jun

X

X

 

X

 

 

Lonicera involucrata

Twinberry

3-10’

Yellow & red

Apr-Jun

 

X

X

 

X

 

Mimulus aurantiacus

Sticky monkeyflower

3-5’

Orange

Mar-Aug

X

X

 

X

X

 

Monardella villosa

Coyote Mint

1-2’

Purple

May-Jul

X

X

 

X

X

 

Ribes malvaceum

Chaparral currant

10’

Pink-purple

Oct-Mar

X

X

 

X

X

 

Ribes sanguineum and its many selections

Pink flowering currant

10’

Pink-rose

Feb-Apr

 

X

X

X

X

 

Ribes speciosum

Fuchsia-flowering currant

3-5’

Red

Mar-Apr

X

X

 

X

X

X

Salvia clevelandii

Cleveland Sage

2-5’

Lavender-blue

May-Aug

X

 

 

X

 

 

Salvia ‘Aromas’

Aromas sage

3-4’

Lavender-blue

Apr-Jun

X

 

 

X

 

 

Salvia ‘Allen Chickering’

Allen Chickering’s sage

3-4’

Lavender-blue

Apr-Jun

X

 

 

X

 

 

Salvia ‘Winifred Gilman’

Winifred Gilman’s sage

3-4’

Dark blue-purple

Apr-Jun

X

 

 

X

 

 

Salvia ‘Pozo Blue’

Pozo Blue sage

3-4’

Blue-purple

Apr-Jun

X

 

 

X

 

 

Salvia leucophylla

Gray sage, Purple sage

3-4’

Light pink

Apr-Jun

X

 

 

X

 

 

Salvia leucophylla ‘Amethyst Bluff’

Amethyst Bluff gray sage

3-4’

Dark rosy pink

Apr-Jun

X

 

 

X

 

 

Salvia leucophylla ‘Figueroa’

Figueroa gray sage

3’

Rosy pink

Apr-Jun

X

 

 

X

 

 

Salvia leucophylla ‘Pt Sal’

Point Sal’s gray sage

2’

Rosy-pink

Apr-Jun

X

 

 

X

 

 

Trichostema lanatum

Woolly blue curls

3-5’

Purple-blue

May-Aug

X

 

 

X

 

 

Vaccinium ovatum

Huckleberry

3-10’

White-pink

Mar-May

 

X

X

 

X

 

Vines:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lonicera hispidula

Honeysuckle

8’

White

May

 

X

X

X

X