Hummingbird Myths Revealed

Do hummingbirds ride on geese? Find out as we separate hummingbird myths from hummingbird facts.

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.