With their iridescent feathers and shimmering wings, hummingbirds bring quick bursts of color into our backyards! Many of us look for brightly colored flowers and feeders when trying to attract hummingbirds. Color can help birds remember food sources, signal danger and even find a mate. But what colors are hummingbirds actually attracted to?
As you look for an attractive hummingbird feeder, chances are you’ll find an abundance of red, red and more red! Why do hummingbirds seem to gravitate towards this fiery color? Researchers have studied to find the answer to this tricky question.
To understand how hummingbirds perceive color, it’s helpful to first think about the color spectrum humans are capable of seeing. Humans have three types of color cones – red, green and blue, allowing us to see all the colors of the rainbow (spectral hues). Nonspectral hues are considered colors seen outside of the rainbow. For example, we can perceive the color purple because it stimulates our red and blue color cones simultaneously.
Hummingbirds have four color cone types in their eyes, creating color possibilities that we can only dream of! Hummingbirds are able to see a variety of nonspectral colors in near UV, including UV+red, UV+green, UV+yellow and purple. And while research has shown that hummingbirds have a heightened sensitivity to the red and yellow end of the color spectrum, they’re also attracted to many more colors that humans can only imagine - so don't let that limit your feeder choices!
Expand your color palette
Now that you understand the range of hues that hummingbirds can see, don’t be afraid to try out new colors and types of feeders that will both attract the birds and beautify your backyard. We have a wide variety of bright and bold styles of handblown glass feeders in reds, pinks or blues, like the Artisan Gravity Hummingbird Feeder - Sunny Day or our best-selling Illuminated Hummingbird Feeder with a solar-powered LED light.
Or give our So Real Series a try, with realistic flowers in oranges and reds, like the So Real Mini 3D Hummingbird Feeder, or pinks, and purples, like the So Real Gravity Hummingbird Feeder - Pink Fuchsia.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a traditional red hummingbird feeder! Our Traditional Window Hummingbird Feeder will mount right onto your window for the closest hummingbird viewing. Or a Traditional Gravity Hummingbird Feeder might be just what you’re looking for.
It’s all about the nectar
More important than the color of the feeder is what’s inside of it. Be sure to reward the hummingbirds with sweet homemade nectar and soon you’ll be enjoying regular visits from your feathered friends!