Hummingbirds in the Panhandle?


You bet. There are not nearly so many as in their summer destination of the cooler mountains. They do pass through though and we even have the native black chin that will stay around and raise their young through the summer. We can attract hummingbirds to our yards by using plants they prefer.
Hummingbirds specialize in feeding off of plants with tubular flowers. Red is the ultimate attractant for them, but they will feed on other colors as well. . Penstemons and Salvias are two groups of plants that are indispensable for getting hummingbirds to your yard.
There are many varieties of Penstemon that will work here. Most Penstemon prefer soil that drains well. Our wet clay soil in the winter can sound the death toll for several varieties of Penstemon. Several varieties of Penstemon seem to be short lived, at least here in the Panhandle. However, to get hummingbirds to visit early, plant them anyway. Most will make it at least through one winter and have wonderful blooms the following year to entice visitors.
Salvias are the workhorses through the summer. Most of those listed thrive in our dry, summer heat and provide near constant blooms. Salvia greggii provides red or near red blooms, while others such as Salvia chamaedryoides may provide blue blooms. Hummingbirds can also be seen hitting on the open blooms of other plants such as butterfly bushes, perhaps in search of small insects.
Having several different varieties of plants will help assure that you will have something blooming in your yard throughout the season to draw hummers in. Check out some of the recommended plants for the Panhandle
A feeder or two in your yard will be appreciated as well. Just be sure to keep the fluid fresh. Change it and rinse the feeder at least once a week. Fill it with a mix of 1 part sugar to 4 parts water (ΒΌ cup sugar to 1 cup water) that has been boiled for a minute or two to fully dissolve the sugar. Allow it to cool before putting out. Never use artificial sweeteners or honey; they are lethal for hummers. Put the feeder close to some sort of perch. Hummingbirds are territorial and they will want to protect their food source. A dominant bird will stay close to the feeder to fend off competition as well as it can. This can give some great displays and showmanship.