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One of the smallest and most enjoyable birds to watch is the hummingbird. There are fifteen species of hummingbirds in the United States. If you live in the mideastern part of the United States, chances are you will be able to attract the Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Three other common hummingbirds are located in the southwest. These are the Rufous Hummingbird, Black-chinned Hummingbird, and Anna's Hummingbird.

There are many species of flowers that will attract hummingbirds to you yard. Some of the more common plants are the Trumpet Honeysuckle, Trumpet Creaper, Morning Glory, Columbine, Impatiens, Coral Bells, and Hollyhocks, just to name a few. Contrary to popular belief, flowers do not have to be red to attract hummingbirds. They prefer red, but will feed from other flowers as well. Hummingbirds look for specific plants and materials for building their nests. You may want to encourage hummingbirds to nest in your yard by making these materials available. Some good choices to have in your yard are ferns, lichens, and moss. Hummingbirds will also use spider silk and small twigs for their nests.

As an additional food source you can provide a hummingbird feeder. There are many sizes and styles of feeders available. Nectar can be purchased ready-made, or you can make your own hummingbird nectar. To make your own nectar, you will need to boil together four parts water to one part sugar. Red food coloring is not necessary, and it is not good for birds. Most hummingbird feeders are red, and they will attract the birds without additional color. After the sugar mixture cools, store any leftovers you may have in the refrigerator. Your feeder will need to be cleaned every four to five days, and the nectar should be changed. Never use honey or artificial sweeteners in your nectar. Honey can spoil, and artificial sweeteners do not provide the carbohydrates and nutrition that hummingbirds require.

When you put out a new hummingbird feeder, it may be several days before you see any birds. Most hummingbirds have territories where they regularly feed, and it may take time for them to notice your feeder. Have patience, and soon you will be enjoying these beautiful, iridescent little jewels.