Hummingbirds Mexico’s Brilliant Garden Visitor

Hummingbirds: Mexico’s Brilliant Garden Visitor         

          Tara A. Spears

Hummingbirds are probably the best known birds. They lead high pressure lives, their heart beats more than 1200 times per minute when active. To support these extreme energy costs, hummingbirds eat half their own weight in sugar every day. Hummingbirds’ frequent meals are nectar from flowers and small insects and mites. Most species of hummingbirds are endemic to the subtropical and tropical latitudes but there are numerous species that migrate covering thousands of miles.

If you live in North America, chances are good you that you might have hummers in your neighborhood during the warm season. While hummers travel to Mexico and parts of South America for the winter, come spring, hummers know where they left the best flower nectar behind!

According to Beauty of Birds site, there are some different theories about what causes these tiny birds to migrate. Most biologists agree that the urge to travel long distances to and from their breeding territories is brought on by hormonal changes triggered by changing environmental conditions, such as shorter or longer days, environmental temperatures, and availability of food.

Males usually migrate up to three weeks earlier than the females. One assumes that the males are doing so because they want to have their choice of the best territories, which improves their chances of attracting females for mating.

What’s really exciting, to me, is that the five species that breed in the temperate zone of Canada and the 13  species of hummingbirds that breed in the United States will winter in Mexico and central America. That means you can enjoy the hummers in your northern home and when you winter in Jaltemba Bay you might be seeing the same birds! The species that you might see in Canada are:  The ruby-throated hummingbird; Black-chinned Hummingbird; Anna’s Hummingbird; Calliope Hummingbird; and the Rufous Hummingbird.        

The Rufous Hummingbird breeds further north than any other hummingbird species and they have to tolerate temperatures below freezing. This is only possible for it to stay north if adequate shelter and hummingbird feeders are available.

If you love hummingbirds and would like to see more in your garden, there are a couple of easy steps to attract them. Provide food, water, open space- that’s it.

Grow plants that naturally attract hummingbirds. Flowers with long throats or large amounts of nectar are their ideal. While they are attracted strongly to red and orange blossoms, any color will make a hungry hummingbird happy, so don’t feel tied to to only red. Local flowering shrubs and plants that hummers prefer are: ixora, salvia, lantana, alameda, (in vine or bush form), bougainvillea, and hibiscus.

 If you want to make certain that you see the hummers, place a feeder. To guarantee that hummingbirds return to your garden on a regular basis, providing feeders makes sure that even when your plants are out of bloom, your birds can depend on the food supply. Replace the hummingbird food every three days to keep it fresh.   Use Vaseline on the hanging cord to keep ants from getting into the nectar. Remember, just like any bird feeder, it can take a little while for the hummers to learn to trust you and your garden. Keep replacing the food, and eventually, they will come.

Another element that attracts hummers is to add water.  Shallow dishes of water are appreciated by these little wonders that are in near constant motion. In addition, hummingbirds like to be in the open to protect themselves against predators so plan some open space. 

The species of hummingbirds that I have in my Guayabitos garden are the Cinnamon, Green Violetear, Bumblebee, Emerald, and several types of Rufous hummingbirds.

   It’s no wonder that Mexico has numerous examples of hummingbird symbolism in their culture. Throughout the centuries, hummingbird feathers were treasured for their almost magical qualities. A few examples of symbolism in Mexican culture that began in ancient times: “Hummingbird brings love as no other medicine can do… the Aztecs believed that this bird never died, and it was the symbol (Huitzilopochtli) the god of war. In the Zapotec culture, hummingbirds were in charge of drinking the blood of the sacrifices.”


Watching these diminutive birds sparkle in the garden as they dine on flowers is such a pleasure.  With the right flowers in your yard you can enjoy their antics and brilliant colors of the hummingbird year round in Jaltemba Bay.

OpCinnamion Hummeren tiny hlans 5 days 2 hrs ago

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