Adding More Of This Color To Your Garden Will Attract Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds are not only a nice addition to your yard because of their beautiful appearance and bright iridescent colors but, also, because they are wonderful pollinators and are important for the health of the local ecosystem — just like bees and butterflies. However, hummingbirds like a specific type of environment and are more difficult to attract than many people realize. Just adding a hummingbird feeder to your yard may not always be enough. The good news is if you are having a hard time attracting hummingbirds, there is a simple solution — add more red.


While it seems too easy to be true, adding more red and red-adjacent colors like orange and pink to your yard near your hummingbird feeder is a great way to attract more hummers. According to the National Audubon Society, this works because hummingbirds have evolved to understand that the color red means richer nectar and better fuel for their lightning-fast wings. Also, scientists believe that hummers have a special type of vision that enhances warm colors like red, pink, and orange while dampening cold colors like blue and green. So, if you want more hummers, add more red.

Easy ways to add more red to your yard

There are a few different ways to add more red to your yard, and the first is to simply plant more red-orange flowers. This method works best if you plant your bright-colored flowers near your feeder and if you choose native flowers that the hummingbirds can also use as a source of food. In the U.S., these flowers would include honeysuckle, Canadian lily, and butterfly milkweed.


Other methods of adding red include decorating the feeder pole with red ribbons, buying a red feeder, or adding red garden ornaments. Red garden ornaments allow you to be as creative as you want to be and can include anything from red gazing balls and planters to red patio cushions and garden gnomes with red hats.

However, it is important to note that all this red will only draw the birds to your yard and won't necessarily keep them there. To maintain a group of hummingbirds that regularly hit your feeders, you should make sure they always have plenty of food options in your yard. This may include multiple feeders if necessary or multiple nectar-filled flowering plants.

Why you shouldn't dye the nectar red

While it may seem like an easy solution to simply dye the hummingbird nectar red inside the feeder, as it turns out chemical dyes can have harmful effects on the health of the birds. In fact, according to Sheri Williams author of "A Field Guide to Hummingbirds" and "Attracting and Feeding Hummingbirds" (via All About Birds), adding red dyes to hummingbird nectar can cause sickness and even early death in hummers. Also, as Williams notes, it's a waste of money because flower nectar is naturally clear. Plus, many hummingbird feeders already have red parts that will attract the birds without the dyed liquid.


So, adding other red elements to your yard instead of dying the nectar is the best option for your wallet and the birds themselves. As it turns out, the best nectar recipe is the simplest. To make it, just add one part white sugar to four parts water and boil the mixture until the sugar dissolves completely.