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Audubon Report Stories

Rhode Island’s Little Feathered Pollinator

Often when we think of pollinators, we conjure images of bees and butterflies. But there is another, often over-looked pollinator darting around Rhode Island: the Ruby-throated Hummingbird. These small, amazing birds help disperse flower pollen when they feed. Native blueberries are one of the plants that attract Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. Next time you sprinkle those delicious berries on your cereal, you might like to give a shout out to these little feathered friends!

If you want to attract hummingbirds to your garden each year, I highly recommend using native plants like I do. It’s amazing how their arrival seems to coincide with the blooms each spring.

Hummingbirds like tubular flowers. They are particularly attracted to red blossoms, but will also go to a variety of other colors. Some native plants to use are wild columbine, cardinal flower, wild phlox, and bee balm. If you have room for a vine, try trumpet vines. Beware of honeysuckles as they can be invasive. Viburnum bushes also make a great addition if you have the space. If you just have a small plot and can’t have a large perennial bed, try petunias, geraniums or fuchsia. These are all great in hanging baskets or pots on your porch.

Like all birds, hummingbirds love to take a bath. So any type of water feature is useful. I often see these birds
diving through the sprinkler on a hot summer day. Hummingbird feeders can also attract these birds, but I suggest bringing a splash of color to your yard with native flowers. So while trying to make your garden look beautiful this summer, don’t forget to add a few plants for those special feathered pollinators!

Happy Birding!