Zealandia Designs has many unique jewelry designs including hummingbirds and butterflies made with hand-carved ancient ivory, set in sterling silver and accented with faceted gemstones. October 3rd is National Butterfly and Hummingbird day! It might seem strange to celebrate them both on one day, but they do actually have a lot in common. Rest assured, they do both have their own national holiday too; National Butterfly Day is March 14th and National Hummingbird Day is September 7th.
Hummingbirds and butterflies are both pollinators. Whether they are pollinating flowers that will develop fruit for us to eat, or flowers that need seeds to spread for future growth, the pollinating they do is essential for a healthy ecosystem. Both hummingbirds and butterflies feed off nectar from flowers and they’ll also drink the juice from broken fruit or tree sap. Hummingbirds and butterflies both lay eggs, although only one of the two lives long enough to care for their young.
While both hummingbirds and butterflies are attracted to the color red, it’s hummingbirds that especially home in on red flowers. However, if you want to mix up sugar water in a hummingbird feeder, you don’t need to dye the solution red. The dye can be quite harmful to the little birds and it’s not at all necessary. Instead, use feeders that have orange or red on the structure. Or just plant orange and red flowers and you won’t have to hassle with the sugar water!
In addition to the nectar, Hummingbirds eat many small insects which gives them the necessary protein to sustain their high energy flight behavior. Hummingbirds can fly in all directions, even backwards and upside down! Instead of flapping their tiny wings, they move them in a figure eight pattern which gives them sustained lift. Their flight behavior is one of the most identifiable traits of hummingbirds, and is what inspired our “Taking Flight” pendant.
Planting any flowers and trees and avoiding pesticide use is a sure way to attract pollinators of all sorts. Check with your local nursery to see which native plants grow well in your area; pollinators are much more attracted to native plants. If you want to specifically attract both hummingbirds and butterflies, here are a few to get you started: sunflowers, zinnia, chrysanthemum, bugleweed, columbine, lupine, bee balm, and petunias.
Butterflies love flowers of all kinds and they especially love herbs. Sometimes the caterpillars of butterflies will munch on your beloved herbs and this might not be quite what you planned on when you planted them. But, don’t worry! The herbs will grow back and soon you’ll have beautiful butterflies to enjoy! While doing a bit of research on which plants butterflies like, we came across this lovely explanation from perennials.com:
"Butterflies are the adult stage of an insect that starts life as a creeping caterpillar. You may not like the creepy-crawly part, but remember: no caterpillar, no butterfly. If you use insecticides regularly in your garden, chances are that you may kill off these caterpillars before they can pupate and later develop into the very butterflies that you are trying to attract."
Planting flowers and trees for pollinators is an extremely rewarding experience. Watching hummingbirds zip through the air will delight your inner child, as will watching butterflies walk around tenderly on flowers looking for nectar. Destruction of habitat is one of the main threats to all wildlife. If you can give them a little spot on your pesticide-free land to find food, water and shelter, they will reward you with their inspiring beauty.