I particularly missed having birds around. Because I had cats, I didn't want to attract a lot of sparrows and similar small birds to my yard by setting out bird feeders. I also knew that bird feeders were a good way to attract squirrels, and I didn't want to encourage the squirrel population explosion that we are experiencing in this area. But I was hopeful that I could get hummingbirds to stop by for a visit, given the right inducements. I knew that they were fast enough that would stand a better chance of evading the cats, and they would be attracted by plants alone without having to put out feeders and seed.
It took two to three years for the hummingbirds to become regular visitors, but now I can spot them almost every day in my garden. Although it is often said that hummingbirds are attracted to red, I've found that they're happy with flowers of any color, and since they have no sense of smell, fragrance is not an issue either. What does seem to matter is the shape of the flower. They are very attracted to flowers with a tubular shape and because of their agility they can seek out those flowers on tall vines as easily as they can in low potted shrubs.
Here are a few of the plants that they've responded to best in my garden: