Buzzed by hum­mers

Na­tional hum­ming­bird ex­pert com­ing to Char­lot­te­town for walk-and-talk event at new gar­den at Vic­to­ria Park

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - LIVING - THE GUARDIAN dstew­art@the­guardian.pe.ca

Any­one in P.E.I. who has a feeder knows what it feels like to get buzzed by a hum­mer.

They are among the small­est birds in the world, zip­ping in and out like tiny fighter jets.

Hum­ming­birds will be the sub­ject of a free walk-and-talk at Vic­to­ria Park in Char­lot­te­town on Tues­day, July 14. lead a tour through the new gar­den in the park and an­swer ques­tions.

Waddell says the ac­tual pop­u­la­tion of hum­ming­birds isn’t known so no one is sure whether it’s in­creas­ing, de­clin­ing or stay­ing steady.

“We just know they are abun­dant. (If) peo­ple see a de­cline at feed­ers . . . that’s when we get con­cerned.’’

In an email to The Guardian, Pe­nak said they at­tempted to uti­lize na­tive plants to P.E.I. in Vic­to­ria Park’s hum­ming­bird gar­den. If that wasn’t pos­si­ble, they made sure to try and use species na­tive to eastern Canada.

She said eight of the 14 species of plants and shrubs are na­tive to P.E.I.

They also tried to in­clude plants that have a range of bloom­ing times, from ear­lier fly hon­ey­suckle to plants that will bloom into the sum­mer like spot­ted jew­el­weed (an an­nual but will re­seed it­self) and spot­ted joe pye weed. That way, hum­ming­birds will find blooms at all times.

Ef­forts were made to plant a range of heights of na­tive plants, too, although there is a pref­er­ence for taller plants since hum­mers like them. The shorter plants in the gar­den are eastern red columbine (hum­ming­bird feed­ers tend to mimic this plant) and bee balm.

As for colours, Pe­nak says while hum­mers like red, blues and pur­ples they will feed on plants of other coloured blos­soms.

Waddell says the shrubs in the gar­den ex­pands na­tive plant­ings in the city parks sys­tem and also pro­vides good perch­ing and pos­si­ble nest­ing spots for rubythroated hum­ming­birds.

The walk-and-talk event be­gins at 6:30 p.m. and goes rain or shine. Par­tic­i­pants are asked to meet by the club­house off Brighton Road.

For more in­for­ma­tion,

call 902-892-7513 or email ad­min@is­land­na­turetrust.ca.

HEATHER TAWEEL/THE GUARDIAN

Jackie Waddell, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Is­land Na­ture Trust, says the new hum­ming­bird gar­den at Vic­to­ria Park in Char­lot­te­town (be­tween Me­mo­rial Field ball diamond and play­ground equip­ment) fea­tures plants and shrubs that the birds like best. One of Canada’s lead­ing ex­perts in hum­ming­birds will be con­duct­ing a walk-and-talk event at the gar­den on Tues­day, July 14, at 6:30 p.m. It is free to the public.

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