The first time I saw a hummingbird sitting still, perched on a branch, I was astonished. I don’t know why – logic tells us these little creatures need to sit and rest just like any other living thing. Somehow, though, I guess I’d only ever noticed them at feeders, with their little wings buzzing away at 50+ beats per second. Seeing them sitting still seemed the opposite of what I’d always thought of as their very industrious lifestyle. But hummingbirds do most certainly perch on their diminutive feet (which is about all those feet are good for), whether for preening, resting, or guarding a nearby feeder from rival birds – males are especially fond of doing this. And perched hummingbirds make great photos ops, as you can see in this photo by Connie Etter.
You can add perching locations around your own feeder to attract hummingbirds, giving you the chance to take photos like this one. If your feeder hangs from a shepherd’s hook, chances are good hummingbirds already perch there. You can also tie a branch or two with the leaves stripped to your feeder pole or nearby. Some birding supply companies are also offering hummingbird “swings”, like these from Duncraft. The company that makes the hummingbird swing on the right, Pop’s, even includes a video proving hummingbirds love to use these swings.
Here at Birds & Blooms, we didn’t have to look far to confirm that hummingbird swings do indeed attract hummingbirds. Linda Sue Mohrmann sent us this photo just a few weeks ago showing a hummingbird in her backyard enjoying another version of the perch swing.
If you’re a little bit crafty, you can easily fashion your own swing from materials you may even have on hand. I made one from some heavy gauge wire, a bamboo garden stake I cut down to size, and some red and clear beads I had on hand. It’s probably worth it to try to add some red to your hummingbird perch; we all know how much these creatures enjoy that bright hue! My finished project is simple but should do the trick hanging near a hummingbird feeder.
Unfortunately, summer is the wrong time to try to attract hummingbirds in Central Florida – they’re mostly still too far north though I do get the occasional visitor. Soon, though, I’ll be putting out my feeder to attract hummingbirds during migration, so my swing will hang nearby and get a good test drive then!
Do you have a hummingbird swing or perch near your feeders? Do hummingbirds use it? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below.