Hummingbirds and Butterflies

Hummingbirds and Butterflies

by Bill Thompson III, Connie Toops


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Hummingbirds and Butterflies by Bill Thompson III, Connie Toops

Hummingbirds and butterflies are some of the most beautiful visitors to a backyard, but they can also be some of the most elusive. This second collaboration between the Peterson Field Guide series and Bird Watcher’s Digest includes tips on how to attract hummingbirds and butterflies to backyards—and how to identify them once they’ve arrived. Bill Thompson III and Connie Toops have decades of firsthand experience and have written the book in a fun, lighthearted style, providing both amateur and veteran nature watchers with need-to-know information, including where hummingbirds and butterflies live, what they eat, and the best garden plants to attract them. The species profiles of the 15 most common hummingbirds and 40 most common butterflies serve as a field guide, showing ranges, identifying marks, and preferred habitats. Full-color photographs and detailed drawings make attracting, identifying, and feeding these colorful creatures a snap.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780618904457
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 04/21/2011
Series: Peterson Field Guides/Bird Watcher's Digest Backyard Bird Guides Series , #2
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

BILL THOMPSON III is the editor of Bird Watcher’s Digest and the author of the Peterson Field Guide Young Birders Guide to Birds of Eastern North America along with many other books. He lives with his wife, author and illustrator Julie Zickefoose, and their two children in Ohio.

CONNIE TOOPS is a nature writer and photographer with more than thirty years of experience documenting natural history subjects. She is the author/principal photographer of nine nature books and she frequently travels the country speaking on birding, wildlife gardening, and nature photography subjects. 

Read an Excerpt


Welcome to the buzzing and beautiful world of hummingbirds and
butterflies. These two types of creatures may not be related taxonomically;
after all, hummingbirds are birds, and butterflies are insects.
But to those of us who love them, they are related in several ways.
Hummingbirds and butterflies are experts at flying, they can be quite
colorful in appearance, and they are easily attracted to our yards, gardens,
and even our patios and windowsills.
 This book will help you enhance your enjoyment of hummingbirds
and butterflies, no matter where you live in North America. We will
guide you along the path to attracting more of these delightful creatures
and to identifying them when you see them.
 My coauthor for this book is Connie Toops, a lifelong naturalist,
knowledgeable gardener, talented photographer, and the author of
many books and articles on natural history topics. Connie has a special
interest in gardening for wildlife, so she was the perfect coauthor
for this project. Connie wrote the text for all of the butterfly chapters,
as well as the chapters “Plants for Hummingbirds” and “A Hummer
Garden Plan.” She also contributed many of the photographs in
the book.
 I wrote all of the hummingbird chapters as well as some of the front
and back matter of the book.
We hope you’ll enjoy Hummingbirds and Butterflies, which we’re
proud to contribute as a volume in the legendary Peterson Field
Guide series.
—Bill Thompson III

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments xi
Introduction xv


Chapter 1: What Is a Hummingbird?
Hummingbird Life History 5
Did You Know? 11
Myths Debunked 12

Chapter 2: Watching Hummingbirds
Finding Hummingbirds 17
Hummingbird Anatomy 19
Identifying Hummingbirds 19
Hummingbird Behavior 24

Chapter 3: Attracting and Feeding
Flowers versus Feeders 27
C hoosing a Feeder 31
Feeder Placement 33
General Feeding Rules 35
Ten Tips for Attracting Hummingbirds 36

Chapter 4: Plants for Hummingbirds
Planning Your Hummingbird Habitat 40
Bird-friendly Plants 50

Chapter 5: A Hummer Garden Plan
Regional Plant Lists 65
Plants for Container Gardens 86
Seasonal Progression of Blossoms 87

Chapter 6: Troubleshooting 88

Chapter 7: Hummingbird Species Profiles
Identifying Hummingbirds 98
Species Profiles 102


Chapter 8: What Is a Butterfly?
Butterfly Biology 120
Butterfly Life History 123
Did You Know? 132
Myths Debunked 133

Chapter 9: Watching Butterflies
Finding Butterflies 136
Identifying Butterflies 140
Butterfly Behavior 144

Chapter 10: Attracting and Feeding
Habitat Requirements 147

Chapter 11: Plants for Butterflies
Planning Your Butterfly Habitat 156
Butterfly-friendly Plants 160
Healthy Backyard Ecosystems 166
Container Gardens 167

Chapter 12: A Butterfly Garden Plan
Regional Plant Lists 170
Plants for Special Interest Gardens 206
Seasonal Progression of Blossoms 210

Chapter 13: Troubleshooting and FAQs
Predators 211
Hazards 214
Butterfly Conservation 218
Frequently Asked Questions 219

Chapter 14: Butterfly Species Profiles
Kindred Butterflies 223
Species Profiles 226

Appendix 1
Photographing Hummingbirds 268

Appendix 2
Photographing Butterflies 271
Resources 276
Photography and Illustration Credits 280
Index 281

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