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Toward the end of a four-hour stroll through the Huntington Botanical Garden I stopped to photograph the aptly named Kniphofia ‘Christmas Cheer’ (my visit was on December 22)…
Kniphofia 'Christmas Cheer'

That’s when I came under attack by a rather territorial hummingbird. Once he realized I wasn’t competition for the goods he went back to feeding and I attempted to photograph him. This is the best I could do, when he stopped for a moment on the neighboring bamboo.
hummingbird at the Huntington Gardens

What is it about hummingbirds?

Come summertime my favorite place to work is at the table on our patio, inevitably I hear the click-click-click (the “look at me! here I am!” song) which tells me there’s a hummingbird nearby. All work stops while I watch it dart about. In the wintertime it’s the Fatsia japonica, planted just outside the window where I work, that draws them. The odd flowers are hugely appealing to all the birds that pass through the garden, but it’s the hummingbirds I have to stop and watch.

What is it about hummingbirds?

I had a disproportionate reaction (way too much excitement) when I discovered this hummingbird photo bomb (I was actually photographing the grevillea and had no idea he’d swept in there)…
hummingbird photo bomb in Albany

And was thrilled when this hummingbird few into my photo while I was shooting a blooming aloe at the Los Angeles County Arboretum.
hummingbird at the LA County Arboretum close up

How charming that he dressed to match.
hummingbird at the LA County Arboretum

And paused ever so picturesquely on another aloe before flying away.
hummingbird at the LA County Arboretum at rest

On Monday afternoon I stopped in at my neighborhood nursery (Garden Fever) and although I was the only shopper (nobody else needed to look at plants on the first Monday in January?) I wasn’t alone, this guy kept me entertained as he darted around the plants and occasionally visited a feeder hung high in the rafters.
at Garden Fever
So what is it about hummingbirds, why do they demand my attention? Their size? Speed? Chatter? All of the above or something different? Do you stop to watch them too?

Below I’ve shared a few plants known to attract hummingbirds in my garden, you can also search with the filter wildlife/hummingbird and peruse 2,799 plants that will make them happy.