Attracting hummingbirds is easier when you know how to tell the truth from the fiction. Do hummingbirds ride on geese when they migrate south? Should I add red dye to my hummingbird nectar? Will it cause problems for migrating hummingbirds if I leave my feeder up in the fall? We took a closer look at some common hummingbird myths, and we’ve got the answers.
Hummingbird Myth: Hummingbirds hitch rides on the backs of geese as they migrate south.
Hummingbird Fact: This legend is entertaining, but untrue. Hummingbirds and Canada geese migrate at different times and to different destinations.
Myth: All hummingbirds migrate.
Fact: Most, but not all, hummingbirds migrate south for winter. The Anna’s hummingbird stays along the West Coast year-round.
Myth: Hummingbirds sip nectar through their bills like a straw.
Fact: Hummingbirds use their tongues to lap up nectar and sugar water at about 13 licks per second.
Myth: Adding red dye to sugar water will attract more hummingbirds.
Fact: It isn’t necessary to dye sugar water. Feeders with red part do the trick.
Myth: Hummingbirds’ only natural predators are other, larger birds.
Fact: Besides other birds like hawks, hummers have to watch out for cats, spiders, snakes and even frogs.
Myth: Leaving hummingbird feeders up late into fall delays migration south.
Fact: You won’t interfere with hummingbirds’ migration; they know to fly south as the days get shorter.
Myth: Hummingbirds eat only nectar and sugar water.
Fact: Insects and small spiders are also an important part of a hummingbird’s diet.
Myth: Hummingbirds feed only from red flowers.
Fact: While red blooms draw them in, these sweet-toothed fliers will gladly feed from any color flower that produces nectar.