Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.

Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.
The purpose of this blog is to provide information on using native plants in the landscape, issues related to invasive exotic plants, urban wildlife management, and wildlife damage management. It is my intention that this information will assist you in deciphering the multitude of information circulating around the web and condense in some meaningful method as it relates to Kentucky. In addition, I hope to highlight a native plant that can be used in the landscape.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The hummingbirds are back at the feeder!

It never ceases to amaze me how people are so concerned with our tiny little ruby-throated hummingbirds when they don't see them in early spring.  I always tell them to have some patience, they will return in mid-summer and yes, right on schedule the hummers are back at the feeders.  Why?  There are several reasons: 1. The babies have now hatched and are out and about on their own and looking to "beef up" prior to their annual trek to the tropics; and 2. the migrants are now beginning that journey south and are looking for nectar sources.  Because of these phenomena, it should come as no surprise that the best hummingbird nectar flowers are now just coming into flower including the number one species of all time: trumpet creeper!  This plant produces as much as 10x more nectar than any other hummingbird plant.  But other species are coming into flower now as well including cardinal flower (another favorite and maybe hummingbird plant number two), jewel-weeds, red bee-balm, our native mallows, royal catchfly (a specialist for the hummingbird), false dragon-head, monkey flowers, and trumpet honeysuckle.  Now that the heat is with us make sure you keep the liquid in the feeder fresh and clean the feeder scrupulously so no bacteria or fungal diseases become associated with it that might harm the birds. Here is a little extra recipe for attracting hummingbirds and non-nectaring butterflies: mix old stale fruit (peaches, nectarines, melon, pineapple) with stale beer and sugar.  Put in a blender and place in a container in the shade on a platform.  You will be amazed at what will come into that mixture as shown with the pearly eye butterflies shown below.  Happy gardening and enjoy those flying flowers from now until frost.

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