Within the United States, the highest density of hummingbird populations is found within Texas and its rival, Arizona. Texas boasts 18 different species of hummingbirds. Gardeners across the state delight in watching the antics of the tiny bird and enjoy hosting "hummers" in their meadows and gardens.
Texas has 10 distinct ecosystems. Coastal prairies and marshes, pineywoods, high plains, plateaus and savannas present a wide diversity of plant life and food sources. Broad-billed, white-eared, blue-throated, ruby throated, black-chinned and broad-tailed species favor the northern part of Texas. The Lucifer hummingbird, calliope, rufous and Anna’s hummingbird are found in the midwestern portion of Texas. The green violet-ear, the green breasted mango, the violet-crowned and buff-bellied hummingbirds frequent south Texas. In south Texas, Costa’s hummingbird, Allen’s hummingbird and the magnificent hummingbird species have an established population.
Texas Hummingbird Round-Up
Each year the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department asks local citizens to participate in the Texas Hummingbird Round-up. The round-up is a cooperative effort of citizens and state specialists to pool information on the habits and habitat of the these feathered friends. In addition to the 18 verified hummingbird species that live in Texas, another eight species have been sighted in neighboring states. Texans hope these neighboring species will also spend some time in Texas and wish to verify visits. If you live or travel in Texas and would like to participate in this annual study to determine the habitat requirements of the various species of hummingbirds, visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife website to download a survey form and study guidelines.
Gardening for Hummingbirds
Home gardeners can create a hummingbird haven by providing plenty of fresh water, nesting sites, protection from the elements as well as flavorful flowers. Hummingbirds are attracted by flowers that are trumpet-shaped, long-necked, brightly colored and long blooming. Red is the favorite color of hummingbirds. The majority of artificial hummingbird feeders have red coloration incorporated into the design.
Enjoyed by thousands of Texans every season, hummingbird feeding supplements the voracious appetites of the birds. Hummingbird feeders of every size and shape are found in both country and urban settings. Hummingbird food is prepared from one part sugar to four parts of water. Boil the mixture to control bacteria, then cool. Store extra liquid in the refrigerator. Hummingbird feeders should be washed weekly in warm soapy water and rinsed in hot water, then refilled. Hummingbirds eat a huge amount of insects and are thus beneficial to the garden. Do not use pesticides if you wish to attract these graceful creatures to your garden.
Despite the amount of water hummingbirds consume in their food, they still require fresh water for drinking and bathing. A bird bath in a protected, shaded spot will draw birds to your garden.