Are Hummingbirds Really Attracted to Red?

Are Hummingbirds Really Attracted to Red?

It is a popular notion that specific colors can attract birds. But you may be wondering if hummingbirds really are attracted to red. There isn’t a clear answer to this question. While there is no doubt amongst bird enthusiasts that hummingbirds seem to be drawn to bright colors, there isn’t a conclusive reason as to why they’re attracted to red specifically.

Seeing Red

Part of the answer may lie in the way hummingbirds see color. Our fast-flying feathered friends aren’t seeing red because they’re angry – just a little territorial. It turns out they actually have heightened sensitivity to the yellow and red end of the color spectrum, with blues appearing duller to them. Therefore, the bright, warm colors stand out more. But why do they prefer red?

There is some evidence to suggest that a preference to red is a conditioned response. After all, most commercially-produced bird feeders and even some nectars are red. Hummingbirds have a great memory, especially when it comes to food sources.

With that in mind, they specifically seek out sources that offer the most nectar and then stick to them. Feeders obviously offer the most nectar available from a single source, and because of the abundance of red feeders, hummingbirds have come to expect high-energy food when they see the vibrant color.

Adding Red to Your Landscape

Regardless of why they like red, it works. Hummingbirds seem to flock to this bold, bright hue, so be sure to introduce red to your yard wherever possible to keep them coming back.

  • close up of hummingbird at feederFeeders. Adding feeders with red accents is one of the easiest ways to feature this bright color in your yard. Feeders featuring red tops or lids are best because they can easily be seen from above.
  • Flowers. A great, natural way to introduce red to your yard is to plant red flowers! Hummingbirds can easily spot the flashes of red as they fly along, helping to draw them to your yard. Plus, the flowers double as a food source that also looks amazing in your garden.
  • Ribbons. Try tying ribbon or surveyor’s tape in various places around your home, such as trees, porch railings, and bushes. Similar to flowers, the bright ribbon can be seen as hummingbirds fly by during migration. Their curiosity will cause them to come down for closer inspection. Once they find your abundant food sources, they’ll be sure to stick around.

5 Things That Attract Hummingbirds Other Than Red

In addition to brightening up your landscape, there are many other ways to attract hummingbirds to your yard. Take a look at these five simple tips!

  • Introduce misters to your yard. Like many birds, hummingbirds love to bathe. Add a mister attachment to your hose so that they have access to a regular water supply. Hummingbirds can’t seem to resist the fine, moving water. They will love flying through to soak their feathers before heading off to preen.
  • Add more feeders. This may seem like an obvious tactic, but it can be very helpful. Hummingbirds are often very territorial. To keep one bird from dominating your hummingbird feeder, set up more in the same general area. The bully will have trouble fighting off other birds from multiple feeders, and eventually, give up his efforts.
  • close up of spider webEnsure continuous blooming. When you’re planning your garden, it is important to choose plants that bloom at different times throughout the season. Work out a schedule so that you know you’ll have new blooms throughout the season. This will ensure that hummingbirds will have a reason to keep visiting.
  • Leave spider webs alone. Spider webs serve two purposes for hummingbirds. First, they are one of the common features of hummingbird nests. They use the webs to hold their nests together for sturdiness. The webs are also a great source of protein-rich insects for hummingbirds.
  • Attract insects. In addition to loving high-energy foods such as nectar, hummingbirds like to eat insects. They are an important source of protein that hummingbirds can’t get from nectar alone. Choose flowers that are attractive to insects so that hummingbirds have plenty of food to suit all of their needs.

Hummingbirds in Your Yard

Have you introduced red to your yard to attract hummingbirds? Let us know how you did it or share pictures of your hummingbird residents on your next visit to our Facebook page.

You can stock up on hummingbird supplies such as nectar and feeders by heading on over to our online store! Also, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter, which will provide links to other great articles and clue you in on new products.