The site of flitting hummingbirds is a joy to amateur and professional bird watchers alike. Those who have a hummingbird garden at home know just how colorful and busy this little sanctuary can be. But, not everyone knows that you can find these lovely delicate creatures in the Caribbean.
The beauty and jeweled tones of hummingbirds seemingly floating in a blur of wings can’t possibly want for a better backdrop than the lush, tropical hummingbird gardens in the balmy Caribbean. These places take on an air of dazzling beauty, and you should not miss them. If you are planning your dream vacation or looking for sites to see while visiting your favorite tropical vacation spot, don’t forget to add a garden or two to your itinerary.
Beautiful Hummingbirds and Flowers In The Caribbean
The Western Hemisphere is the only place in the world blessed with these gorgeous and tiny jewels. Amazingly, there are some 300 species, and they live in a wide range of climates from chilly southeastern Alaska to the tip of southern Chile. However, most hummingbirds make their homes in the tropics — including the lovely Caribbean islands.
There are many wonderful Caribbean destinations for bird lovers. Like the Islands of the West Indies — Antigua, Barbados, Haiti, The Dominican Republica, Grenada, Puerto Rico, and Saint Lucia, for instance. But perhaps you want to travel a bit further south — like, say, Trinidad and Tobago? Looking for places that are famous for their hummingbirds? You’re in luck!
Hummingbird Gardens in Trinidad and Tobago
One such place is Yerette. Located in the verdant Maracas Valley in the Northern Range of Trinidad, Theo Ferguson and his wife, Gloria founded Yerette. Consequently, here you’ll find guided tours and a chance to see hundreds, and sometimes thousands of glittering hummingbirds at a time.
Enchanted with flowers
Ferguson knew he loved flowers and it wasn’t long until he became fascinated with the energetic little dynamos that rarely sat still. It wasn’t long before he was trying to photograph the challenging little critters. He says on the Yerette website that he fell in love with the challenge:
“…Since they are evasive and do not ever pose for a photograph.”
As a result, he honed his craft and became an expert at capturing the tiny creatures in flight. With a camera his constant companion.
“It was like discovering a whole new world of beauty to which I was blind throughout most of my life.”
Tours are by appointment only and are offered three times daily. Rates are $150 per person, a steal for the highly educational and beautiful organized events hosted by Theo and Gloria.
Or perhaps you’d like to walk the Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve
Considered to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the reserve has been protected for nearly 250 years, the oldest legally protected reserve in the Western Hemisphere. Not only that, the biodiversity in this astounding reserve is tremendous.
Hummingbirds and Flowers in The Caribbean
Rocklands Bird Sanctuary, Jamaica, located in Montego Bay, features a tranquil hummingbird garden where you can hand feed these living jewels. Also, the sanctuary is home to four species of hummingbird. Three of those include:
Red-Billed Streamertail (Trochilus polytmus)
Vervain Hummingbird (Mellisuga minima)
Black-Billed Streamertail (Trochilus scitulus)
The very best hummingbird gardens include flowers such as the heliconia below. And the one below grows in my garden. (Yes I’m one of those lucky people who live in the Caribbean).
Heliconias come in an astonishing array of colors, but most especially pinks, yellows, and reds. Here are two examples.
Trumpet vines such as Thunbergia laurifolia are also excellent hummingbird flowers. Moreover, they are found all over the Caribbean.
And like the hummingbird flowers above, it’s also beautiful.
Native to Guangdong, China, India, Taiwan, Indo-China, and Malaysia, Thunbergia is grown widely as an ornamental in the Caribbean. And hummingbirds really love the flowers.
Other Caribbean flowers that attract hummingbirds include:
Stachytarpheta jamaicensis. The genus Stachytarpheta is native to Asia, North America, and South America, with S. jamaicensis found throughout the Caribbean. A member of the mint family, this plant draws hummingbirds in like a magnet.
Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow (Brunfelsia grandiflora). Yes, that’s really the colloquial name of this plant, and I’m lucky enough to have it growing in my front yard. Butterflies and hummingbirds absolutely love this plant, and it’s prevalent in the Caribbean. Take a look at the photo below, and you’ll see why. What’s really fun about this plant is that it changes color. Amazingly, the flowers start out a deep purple color, gradually turning white over a period of days.
Brugmansia (various species). Native to South America, Brugmansia is a small tree that’s found all over the Caribbean. A beautiful ornamental with large, showy flowers in salmon pink, orange, to even white and red. Most of all, hummingbirds can’t resist its lovely fragrance.
If you find a hummingbird garden in the Caribbean, you’ll find this awesome collection of islands offers some of the most beautiful flowers for hummingbirds.
Places to Stay to See a Caribbean Hummingbird Garden
Each of the islands is studded with hummingbirds and other stunning forms of flora and fauna. Are you looking for a hummingbird garden that’s also a great place to stay?
- The Hummingbird Beach Resort: Located on St. Lucia, rates average about $150 per night.
- The Hummingbird Inn: Located in Dominica, rates average between $75-$124 per night.
- The Blue House: Located in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Rates begin at $160 per night.
If you’re a serious birder, check out SurfBirds.com to find out where you can reconnoiter with your bird-loving amigos.
Points to Ponder About Hummingbirds
Now that you’re out enjoying these living jewels in their habitat, here are some interesting facts you might like to know about these cute birds, courtesy of Defenders of Wildlife.
Hummingbirds gained this name because they flap their tiny wings so quickly (an astounding 80 times per second). Those little wings are so quick; they actually hum as they buzz from one flower to another. And amazingly, hummingbirds can even fly upside down and backward.
Those wingbeats might seem dizzying, however, and a hummingbird’s heart beats like a jackhammer — some 1,260 beats per minute.
And the purpose of that long bill? It helps the bird feed on delicious nectar from those tube-shaped flowers they love. Also, hummingbirds only use their feet for perching and not for walking or hopping. Hummers may be small, but they make up for that by fiercely chasing birds as large as hawks away from the nest.
Perhaps because of their size, the gestation period for hummingbirds is about 13 to 22 days, and they lay up to three eggs. Young birds are ready to fly in only 18 to 30 days.
Something to think about as you watch these tiny wonders in their Caribbean world.