<< Previous Topic | Next Topic >>Return to Index  

Do Hummingbirds use flowering spring bulbs

April 17 2013 at 6:29 AM

Kerry  (Login alkerry1)
Birder 2011

I was outside yesterday, noticing that all my daffodils are up and some are blooming. Not that I have noticed them being used by hummers but do they feed at all those spring blooming bulbs that are all flowering this time of year? Just a thought. Does anyone know?

 
 Respond to this message   
AuthorReply

Penny
(Login Pennytoo)
Hummingbird Moderator 2005

Re: Do Hummingbirds use flowering spring bulbs

April 17 2013, 6:37 AM 

Kerry,
I have never seen them using any of my spring flowering bulbs but that being said they are generaly done blooming before my hummers arrive.
BTW, we had a very light frost here overnight...how about you? I felt the grass crunching under my feet when I went out to fill the bird feeder a while ago.

Penny
NY
USDA hardiness zone 6a
Heat zone 4
Sunset zone 39
North_Tonawanda.gif


    
This message has been edited by Pennytoo on Apr 17, 2013 6:40 AM


 
 

Kerry
(Login alkerry1)
Birder 2011

Re: Do Hummingbirds use flowering spring bulbs

April 17 2013, 6:53 AM 

No frost here. Did get down to 37 though.
I was wondering about the feeding on bulbs especially for those hummers that seem to be leading the pack. Nothing else is blooming yet. I have a bunch of Colombine. But thats not even close. So I'm asuming others in our area and just south of us are at the same stage.......Wondering what the one that made it to Canada is feeding on.

 
 

Penny
(Login Pennytoo)
Hummingbird Moderator 2005

Re: Do Hummingbirds use flowering spring bulbs

April 17 2013, 7:04 AM 

Kerry
I do have Johnny jump ups blooming right now and there are some woodland plants that blooms very early. They also will feed at sapsucker wells and glean tiny insects. I have seen gnats already around my compost pile. In fact I removed the cover just for that reason.

Penny
NY
USDA hardiness zone 6a
Heat zone 4
Sunset zone 39
North_Tonawanda.gif

 
 

Kerry
(Login alkerry1)
Birder 2011

Re: Do Hummingbirds use flowering spring bulbs

April 17 2013, 8:48 AM 

I used to have Johny jump ups years ago. I may have to plant more. Or I could by some pansies. Ive seen nats around. Uncovering you compos pile is a great idea. The next couple of days should warm things up nicely, untill it cools of again on Saturday. Then back up to the 50's and 60's.....Typical April weather. lol

 
 
Gary
(Login Naturelover68)
Hummingbird lover 2009

Re: Do Hummingbirds use flowering spring bulbs

April 17 2013, 8:56 AM 

I've also never seen hummingbirds feeding from spring flowering bulbs. The daffodils are always done blooming when the hummers arrive but I still have tulips blooming then and the hummers completely ignore them.

Gary
Napoleon, OH
Zone 6a
Napoleon.gif

 
 
Greeangardens
(Login greenmangardens)
Hummingbirder 2012

Re: Do Hummingbirds use flowering spring bulbs

April 17 2013, 1:45 PM 

I was surprised to see my Anna's trying out one of the really early Iris reticulata cultivars. These bloom early with or even before some of the crocus. Others pointed out that other Iris species, especially Iris fulva, are used by hummers, as well as Iris douglasiana in California (though I have never seen any hummers on my I douglasianas, so dunno what's up with that.) I only saw the hummer visit the I reticulata once though, so I'm still not sure if it was just testing something different, or if it was really getting good nectar from it. At that time of year, there just isn't much in bloom. If I were a hummer with only one or two flowers to visit, I'd check out anything new in the neighborhood too!

I have also seen photos of hummers using Hyacinthus hispanica, the Wood Hyacinth. Again, I have them but not in an area I watch all the time, and haven't seen it but some seem to have. The Dutch hyacinths are distantly related, but so overbred I wouldn't expect much to be left of the nectar in them. I've never seen even bees on mine, and no fruits ever develope, so I assume they are sterile, or need hand pollinating to form seeds.

Not sure you would qualify it as a "spring bulb", but one of my natives, camas, both Camassia quamash and C leichtlinii are pretty good when they start blooming, even in pots. Camas is pretty common all over the west, but I think there is only one species in the Eastern half of the country. The three species I have grown have all been good to excellent at attracting pollinators, bees and butterflies too. Seeing a big yellow and black swallowtail hanging from the dark blue purple spikes of starry camas flowers is quite a sight! Mine usually bloom late in spring, usually around Mother's Day. One precocious individual should be opening it's first floret today if the sun stays out here.

The other group of bulbs I have seen used well are the Turk's cap type lilies, especially the American natives like Lilium columbianum, L pardinum etc. but again, these bloom in late spring to mid summer for the most part. L pardinum, the leapord lily, is pretty easy to grow here, and generally gets good use from the hummers. California has some other native bulbs good for hummers like Dichelostemma Ida-Maia, which is adapted to being pollinated by hummers, but they act more like annuals here, and rarely come back for me.

Brett Johnson
near Seattle
Washington 98040
USDA zone 8b


 
 

Kerry
(Login alkerry1)
Birder 2011

Re: Do Hummingbirds use flowering spring bulbs

April 17 2013, 3:06 PM 

Brett.....Where I am, I'm mainly thinking of daffodils, crocus, hyacinth and tulips and their hundreds of differant varieties. I'm sure their are others that I can't think of off the top of my head.
Also I planted this last fall. Parrot tulips and Allium. Some one told me they had seen hummers using Allium. We shall see.

 
 

Penny
(Login Pennytoo)
Hummingbird Moderator 2005

Re: Do Hummingbirds use flowering spring bulbs

April 17 2013, 3:26 PM 

Kerry I have some alliums. I have forgotten which type they are but I have never seen a hummer use those either. When I ordered them many years ago the number one reason was because the description said that they attracted hummers. Well not here they don't! I also thought it would help keep the voles out of that bed....wrong again! One day I may get rid of them but they do provide some early color.

Penny
NY
USDA hardiness zone 6a
Heat zone 4
Sunset zone 39
North_Tonawanda.gif

 
 

Kerry
(Login alkerry1)
Birder 2011

Re: Do Hummingbirds use flowering spring bulbs

April 17 2013, 3:36 PM 

Drats........Well they look pretty. Like you said they provide color early.

 
 
Ward
(Login WardDa)
Bird Lover

Re: Do Hummingbirds use flowering spring bulbs

April 17 2013, 3:37 PM 

I wondered about camassia. My neighbor has a bunch of big patches. The Iris that I see the most activity on is the none native Siberian Iris, but it is more of a late spring/early summer flower. Tiger Lily is used and I expect several species of our native wetland Iris also receive use.

 
 

Kerry
(Login alkerry1)
Birder 2011

Re: Do Hummingbirds use flowering spring bulbs

April 17 2013, 4:08 PM 

Camassia......Had to look it up. Very pretty. Going to have to try and find some. happy.gif


    
This message has been edited by alkerry1 on Apr 17, 2013 5:10 PM


 
 

Penny
(Login Pennytoo)
Hummingbird Moderator 2005

Re: Do Hummingbirds use flowering spring bulbs

April 17 2013, 4:45 PM 

That is very pretty. I have never seen wild hyacinths either. The only ones I was famiiar with are the grape hyacinths.

Penny
NY
USDA hardiness zone 6a
Heat zone 4
Sunset zone 39
North_Tonawanda.gif

 
 
Greenmangardens
(Login greenmangardens)
Hummingbirder 2012

Re: Do Hummingbirds use flowering spring bulbs

April 18 2013, 3:39 AM 

Last I checked, Brent and Becky's Bulbs carries quite a few camas species and cultivars. And the wood hyacinths. They are also easy enough from seed if you have some patience. Like most Liliaceae, they take a few years to flower, at least 3-5 years. The first year usually they just look like chives, lol. Takes a bit for the bulbs to get big enough to flower, bit sp long as your patient they are pretty easy to grow. Just need lots of sun in spring and early summer.

Brett Johnson
near Seattle
Washington 98040
USDA zone 8b


 
 

Penny
(Login Pennytoo)
Hummingbird Moderator 2005

Re: Do Hummingbirds use flowering spring bulbs

April 18 2013, 6:42 AM 

Up north the Cannas don't bloom until summer once we finally get some really warm weather. Many of us grow Canna indica each year.

Penny
NY
USDA hardiness zone 6a
Heat zone 4
Sunset zone 39
North_Tonawanda.gif

 
 

Kerry
(Login alkerry1)
Birder 2011

Re: Do Hummingbirds use flowering spring bulbs

April 18 2013, 6:51 AM 

I have a few cannas started in pots. Like Penny said we have to wait till summer for these guys.

 
 
Nancy Newfield
(Login NLN)
Bird Lover

Re: Do Hummingbirds use flowering spring bulbs

April 18 2013, 9:12 AM 

I don't grow many bulb plants and haven't seen hummers using any that I grow, namely Zephyranthes citrina, which stays very small and flowers in August and September when there are many, many other nectar choices. Also, there is a small patch of Bletilla striata, an orchid rather than a bulb plant, which also receives no hummer attention.

Therefore, I was a bit surprised on Tuesday when I noted hummers using Phaius tancarvilleae repeatedly. This large, terrestrial orchid might bloom too early for most on this list, but it certainly is spectacular.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Nancy L Newfield
Casa Colibrí
Metairie, Louisiana USA
USDA Zone 9b
http://www.casacolibri.net/
[linked image]

 
 

Kerry
(Login alkerry1)
Birder 2011

Re: Do Hummingbirds use flowering spring bulbs

April 18 2013, 11:00 AM 

Nancy, the Nuns Hood Orchid is beautiful. If grown here it would have to be in pots and started early. If its even possible to do it. Love it.

 
 
Nancy Newfield
(Login NLN)
Bird Lover

Re: Do Hummingbirds use flowering spring bulbs

April 18 2013, 11:28 AM 

Kerry said: "Nancy, the Nuns Hood Orchid is beautiful. If grown here it would have to be in pots and started early. If its even possible to do it. Love it."

NLN: Yes, Kerry, they are stunning. Everyone here that I know who grows them keeps these plants in large containers though I suspect they would be OK outdoors in the ground most winters. Although I had more than 200 orchid plants in the early 1970s, this is one I have not grown. Maybe after I get the yard 'reorganized' . . .

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Nancy L Newfield
Casa Colibrí
Metairie, Louisiana USA
USDA Zone 9b
http://www.casacolibri.net/
[linked image]

 
 
Jay
(no login)

Yes, I've seen hummers at my spring bulbs

August 11 2017, 8:17 PM 

Hi, all,

Haven't posted in a long while, but your bulb question came up when I was searching for new ideas for my ruby-throated hummers so I thought I'd add my observations.

Just wanted to say that, Yes, I have seen hummers at my spring bulbs, particularly those that bloom in late April through June here in southern Ohio when the birds first arrive.

Those bulbs would be: red hyacinths, allium nigrum and other tall alliums, red tulips, camasias, tall bluebells, martegon and turk's cap lilies. Sorry, not dafodils though.

Then of course later in the summer, the red heritage cannas, red crocosmias.

I wouldn't call these spring bulbs 'hummingbird magnets' but they do nectar from them, especially when there is little else in bloom.

J.

 
 
 
  Respond to this message   
  << Previous Topic | Next Topic >>Return to Index  
Search the Hummingbird Forum using Google search:
TinyPic image hosting site
TinyPic is a free picture hosting site (ad supported) and is not associated with this forum.

To use: Click on the Tinypic link above; Browse for your picture; Select and Open; Upload Now; Copy the Direct Link for Layouts; Paste that code in your message.

Postimage hosting site
Postimage is a free picture hosting site (with some ads) and is not associated with this forum.

To use: Click on the Postimage link above; Browse for your picture by clicking on Choose Image.; Select your image and Open; Highlight and Copy the Hotlink for website ; Paste that code in your message.

PLEASE VISIT OUR OTHER SITES:
Feathered Friends The Butterfly Forum The Brugmansia Forum

map_v2.png?u=h2sm&d=9lixPygMc1t0CHHPqCRs

Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites

The Hummingbird Forum was founded on September 15, 2005
Keeping hummingbirds alive in cold weather
web analytics