See hummingbirds along flowery paths in Salt Lake City

Lora J. Finnegan,  –  June 7, 2005

“If I were a hummingbird, Red Butte Garden would seem like theultimate fast-food restaurant,” says Frank Howe, an avian expertwith the Utah Division of Wildlife. In summer the garden is loadedwith a buffet of nectar-filled blossoms that lure a multitude ofblack-chinned, broadtailed, calliope, and rufous hummingbirds. Youdon’t need binoculars to spot them, but it helps to know theirhangouts. Red Butte in July is one of the best places to see themin an urban setting, and its grounds offer pleasant strolling andlandscaping ideas even when the birds aren’t there.

For hummingbirds migrating from southern wintering grounds, thegarden is a stopover along a kind of nectar corridor; for othersthe garden is a permanent home. The birds prefer trumpetlikeflowers in red, yellow, and purple, and all are abundant here. Walkthrough the Children’s Garden and the Fragrance Garden, where thebirds zoom in on fuchsia, penstemon, red-hot pokers, andsalvia.

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Hummers also like water; from the Children’s Garden, follow thepath 1/4 mile north to the pond in the Perennial Garden. Visitearly and you may catch a hummingbird at its morning bath,fluttering its wings in the dew-covered foliage. Then it’s off tobreakfast in the blossoms. INFO: Red Butte Garden (9-9 Mon-Sat, 9-5 Sun; $5, $3 ages 2-17; 300 Wakara Way, SaltLake City; or801/581-4747)

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