About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Birds-eye View: Are Hummingbirds Attracted to Red Feeders?

Some hummingbirds are attracted to red feeders as much as some humans are attracted to the “Golden Arches”. But just as we realize McDonald’s isn’t the only restaurant in town, hummingbirds can find nectar feeders of various colors too.

Scientists have confirmed that most birds see colors. Humans’ eyes have three types of color-sensitive cones that allow us to see three primary colors in terms of light are red, green and blue. Birds' eyes have four types of color-sensitive cones which allow many birds to also perceive ultraviolet (UV) light.
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Being able to see a broader spectrum of light can make as big a difference as watching black & white verses color television.
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Although unsure how birds benefit from their enhanced visual perception, you can assume from the way UV light reflects from their feathers that it might play a part in mate selection. And for nectar eating birds like the hummingbirds, a flower’s secret pattern on the petals act as arrows, to guide the pollinating birds and insects to the right spot.
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So there is no need to worry if you received a blue hummingbird feeder as a gift and there is no need to color your nectar (sugar water) with red food coloring. Click HERE for a more detailed sugar recipe.

2 comments:

Vetsy said...

Wonderful post, I now know that I won't have to fear if someone gives me a blue feeder as a gift and might even want to purchase one for the fun of it.. Very educational as well..

Thank you..

Wild Birds Unlimited Mid-Michigan said...

Thank you very much. People always come up with the most interesting questions for me to answer.