What Colors Attract Hummingbirds? (It’s More Than Just Red)

Many folks believe that the color red is the primary hue that grabs hummingbirds’ attention. If you’re wondering what colors attract hummingbirds, it’s time to broaden your horizons.

While it’s true that red plays a significant role in luring these delightful birds, numerous studies have shown that hummingbirds can also be drawn to colors such as orange and pink.

If you’re looking for the right color flowers to add to your garden to attract hummingbirds, read on—we’re diving into which plants to choose and how to create a hummingbird paradise with color.

Key Takeaways

  • Hummingbirds are attracted to red, orange, and pink colors in addition to floral nectar.
  • Providing a variety of nectar-rich flowers in your garden can increase hummingbird visits.
  • Debunking common myths and misconceptions can lead to more effective hummingbird attraction strategies.

What Colors Attract Hummingbirds?

hummingbird feeding from a red tubular flower

Hummingbirds’ Attraction to Red

Hummingbirds are known for their attraction to the color red, primarily because it’s a prominent hue in their natural environment. These small birds use their vision to guide them, and the bright red color is particularly eye-catching.

Red flowers, such as bee balm, are known for attracting hummingbirds because they produce plenty of nectar. Hummingbird feeders are often designed with red elements, though it’s important to avoid using red dye.

Read Next: Red Flowers Hummingbirds Are Attracted To

Other Hummingbird Color Preferences

Besides red, hummingbirds are also attracted to a variety of other colors in their natural color spectrum. Some of the colors that draw their attention include:

  • Orange: This vibrant color is another preference for hummingbirds, as seen in flowers like trumpet vines and honeysuckles.
  • Purple and Blue: Although not as strong an attraction as red or orange, hummingbirds are drawn to flowers in these hues, such as salvias, columbines, and petunias.
  • Pink and White: Lighter colors like pink and white are also attractive to hummingbirds, with examples of flowers being impatiens and bleeding hearts.
  • Green: While not typically associated with attracting hummingbirds, green plants with suitable nectar-producing flowers can be appealing. Some examples include viburnums and cannas.
  • Brown and other muted colors: These colors usually don’t serve as strong attractants for hummingbirds, but if a plant produces nectar, it may still draw their attention.

Understanding the color spectrum preferences of hummingbirds is crucial in creating a suitable environment for them, be it in your garden, yard, or balcony.

Bottom line: Having an array of bright colors in your garden (especially red, orange, and pink) will increase the chances of these beautiful birds visiting and staying in your space.

Key Factors in Attracting Hummingbirds

petunia flowers growing in a variety of colors

Considering Nectar-Rich Flowers

To attract hummingbirds, you should focus on planting nectar-rich flowers in your garden or yard.

Some ideal flowers to include are:

  • bleeding hearts
  • impatiens
  • petunias
  • salvias
  • bee balm
  • columbine
  • cannas
  • viburnums
  • honeysuckles [source]

These species offer plenty of nectar for the tiny birds, while also being visually appealing.

Don’t forget to plant flowers in pots or containers if you have limited space or live in an area with harsh winters – it’s possible to create a hummingbird-friendly environment, no matter the location.

If you want to know how to attract hummingbirds, check this article.

Choosing the Right Feeders

In addition to planting nectar-rich flowers, consider using hummingbird feeders filled with a nectar recipe specifically designed for these tiny birds. Red, orange, and even pink feeders can help capture their attention and draw them to your garden [source].

Remember to clean the feeders regularly to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold, which can be harmful to hummingbirds.

Setting up a Hummingbird Habitat

Creating a hummingbird-friendly environment involves more than just providing nectar sources. Hummingbirds also need shelter, winter feeding stations, and areas to perch on.

Prime features of a well-rounded habitat include:

  • Trees and shrubs: Plant trees and shrubs to provide shelter and nesting areas for hummingbirds. For a list of trees hummingbirds are most attracted to, read this article.
  • Fruits: Plant fruit-producing plants to attract small insects that hummingbirds feed on in addition to nectar.
  • Tubular-shaped flowers: Choose flowers with tubular shapes, as these are easier for hummingbirds to sip nectar from and can also help to limit access to bees and other insects.
  • Freshwater sources: Set up small, shallow containers or birdbaths for hummingbirds to drink and bathe in. Make sure to clean them regularly.

As you carefully plan your garden or yard with these factors in mind, you’ll create a welcoming environment that supports hummingbirds throughout their life cycle, including during migration times across North America, Southwest, and South America [source].

Remember to be patient, as it can sometimes take time for hummingbirds to discover these newly available resources. With persistence and the right combination of flowers, feeders, and shelter, your efforts will be rewarded with regular hummingbird visits, adding life and vibrancy to your outdoor space.

Specific Flowers to Attract Hummingbirds

hummingbird drinking nectar from a blue salvia flower

Native Plant Options

  • Hummingbirds are naturally drawn to bright colors, especially reds and yellows. Some excellent native plant options for attracting these tiny birds include cardinal flowers, bee balm, and salvia. These plants not only offer vibrant hues but are also rich in nectar, making them a favorite among hummingbirds.
  • Planting these flowers in your garden during their peak blooming season in August will surely entice these delightful creatures.
  • Vines are another great option for attracting hummingbirds. Planting native vines like trumpet creeper and coral honeysuckle around your pots and other garden structures provide additional nectar-rich sources and create more opportunities for hummingbirds to visit your garden.

Exotic and Ornamental Plants

  • If you’re looking to add a touch of the exotic to your garden while still attracting hummingbirds, consider planting some ornamental options like petunias, bleeding hearts, and white sugar. These unique plants not only offer visually stunning blooms but also serve as reliable sources of nectar for hummingbirds.
  • Another exotic option worth considering is the pride of Madeira plant. This eye-catching plant, with its silvery-green leaves and striking conical flower spikes, blooms from early spring to summer and is guaranteed to attract a large number of hummingbirds to your garden.
  • When selecting exotic and ornamental plants for your garden, it’s prudent to consider the impact on native species. While these plants may be visually appealing and attract hummingbirds, they could potentially impact native plants and bird species like goldfinches. Always research and select non-invasive species that are suitable for your local ecosystem!

Common Myths and Misconceptions

Addressing the Red Dye Controversy

A popular belief is that hummingbirds are solely or predominantly attracted to the red color. This idea has led to the common practice of using red hummingbird feeders and adding red dye to sugar water.

However, it’s not necessary to add red dye to sugar water; feeders with red parts are sufficient to attract these birds (source). While red is undoubtedly an attractive color for hummingbirds, they can still be drawn to other colors as well.

The red dye in sugar water has also raised concerns about the potential harm it can cause to hummingbirds. Since feeders with red parts are enough to grab their attention, it’s best to avoid using red dye in sugar water to ensure the safety and health of these lovely creatures.

Debunking the Fall Migration Myth

Another widespread misconception is that hummingbirds rely solely on nectar or sugar water during the fall migration season. This belief has led many people to remove their feeders during that time, assuming birds wouldn’t be attracted to them.

Contrary to this myth, hummingbirds do not exclusively depend on nectar or sugar water during migration; they also consume insects and spiders for protein, in addition to nectar for energy (source).

Hummingbird Gardening Tips

Catering to Beneficial Pollinators and Insects

  • Attracting hummingbirds to your garden isn’t just about the colors and flowers you choose. It also has much to do with the environment you create for these beautiful creatures.
  • To make your garden an inviting place for hummingbirds, opt for plants that attract beneficial pollinators and insects. For example, bee balm is an excellent plant for attracting a variety of pollinators and hummingbirds.
  • Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, keep in mind that a diverse and healthy ecosystem will attract and support a broader range of wildlife, including hummingbirds.

Protecting the Birds from Predators

  • Your garden should be a safe haven for hummingbirds to feed and thrive. Understanding the dangers they need protection from, such as predators, is a pivotal piece of the puzzle when designing a hummingbird-friendly landscape.
  • You’ll want to provide plenty of cover in the form of shrubs and trees to offer the birds shelter and escape routes from harm.
  • Additionally, positioning feeders away from areas where predators can easily hide will help minimize the risk of dangerous encounters.

Providing a Water Source

hummingbird catching water droplets in the air with its tongue

  • Hummingbirds, like all animals, need a water source to survive. Giving them a shallow water source, such as a birdbath, in your garden can be a fantastic way to invite these fast-moving tiny birds to make a stop.
  • Keep the water fresh, clean, and at a suitable depth for hummingbirds to find appealing.
  • Don’t forget to give them a place to sit and perch nearby, as these tiny fliers appreciate some downtime as well.

With these tips in mind, you’ll help create a balanced and harmonious environment for these mesmerizing creatures to enjoy.

Additional Ways to Boost Attraction

Apart from hummingbirds being attracted to specific colors, there are several ways you can enhance your garden to make it even more appealing to these fascinating creatures.

Let’s talk about adding visual elements, offering additional food sources, and setting up nesting sites.

Adding Visual Elements

Adding a few visual elements to your garden can make it more enticing for hummingbirds.

  • Hanging red objects, such as ribbons or ornaments, will naturally draw hummingbirds, as they are especially attracted to red colors.
  • Consider installing trellises and allowing vines like trumpet honeysuckle or cardinal flower to climb, creating a visually appealing environment for both hummingbirds and human observers.
  • Growing native plants and nectar-rich flowers like red hot pokers, petunias, and bee balm in pots will also contribute to a vibrant and lively hummingbird habitat.

Offering Additional Food Sources

While hummingbirds primarily feed on nectar from flowers, they also need other sources of nutrition.

  • Setting up hummingbird feeders filled with sugar water is an excellent way to supplement their diet and attract them to your garden.
  • Additionally, hummingbirds eat small insects and spiders, so a garden with a healthy insect population is beneficial. You can use fruit, such as overripe bananas, to attract insects and indirectly invite more hummingbirds.
  • However, be mindful of bees, which also seek sugar-rich food sources like nectar feeders. To minimize bee visits to your feeders, select ones with bee guards or use feeder designs with ports positioned above the nectar reservoir.

Setting up Nesting Sites

  • Providing safe nesting sites is another critical factor in attracting hummingbirds. While they often prefer trees and shrubs as nesting locations, you can also set up artificial nesting perches to encourage them to make your garden their home.
  • Maintaining a bird bath with clean, shallow water offers not only a place for hummingbirds to drink but also the opportunity to bathe and cool down during hot days.
  • Ensure the bath is placed in a secure spot, as hummingbirds are easily startled and require a sense of safety to visit frequently.

Frequently Asked Questions

What colors are most alluring to hummingbirds?

Hummingbirds are especially drawn to the color red, which is why many hummingbird feeders display this color. However, these fascinating birds can be attracted to other colors as well, such as green, yellow, and near-UV colors.

Do certain colors deter hummingbirds?

There is no concrete evidence to suggest that specific colors deter hummingbirds. Instead, it is crucial to focus on providing nectar-rich flowers and feeders, regardless of color, to attract these tiny creatures.

Are there specific colors that make hummingbirds more likely to visit feeders?

While the color red is considered the most attractive to hummingbirds, paying attention to other colors like green, yellow, or purple can also help lure hummingbirds to your feeder. The key is to use vibrant, eye-catching colors to grab their attention.

Which flowers with vibrant colors attract hummingbirds?

Although red flowers tend to be the most appealing to hummingbirds, they can be attracted to flowers with other bright colors. The important factor is that the flowers produce plenty of nectar. Some popular nectar-rich flowers that attract hummingbirds include trumpet vine, bee balm, salvia, and fuchsia.

Does the color of a feeder impact hummingbird attraction?

The color of a feeder can indeed impact hummingbird attraction. Having red parts on a feeder is typically enough to attract hummingbirds, but using additional colors such as green, yellow, or purple may also help.

Are hummingbirds drawn to any specific color of flowers?

While hummingbirds are known for their attraction to red flowers, they are also drawn to brightly colored flowers with ample nectar production. They don’t discriminate between flower colors as long as the flowers are vibrant and provide enough nectar.

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