Discover the Truth About Common Hummingbird Myths

Should you add red dye to hummingbird feeders? Find out as we separate hummingbird myths from hummingbird facts.

hummingbird at red flowersCourtesy Cynthia Bibb

Attracting hummingbirds is easier when you know how to tell the truth from the fiction. We took a closer look at some common hummingbird myths, and we’ve got the answers.

Plus, do hostas attract hummingbirds?

Hummingbird Migration Myths

Myth: Hummingbirds hitch rides on the backs of geese as they migrate south.
Fact: This legend is entertaining, but untrue. Hummingbirds and Canada geese migrate at different times and to different destinations.  Follow these expert tips for attracting hummingbirds.

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. Learn how hummingbirds survive snow and cold weather.

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. Here’s why you should leave feeders up for late migrating hummingbirds.

Do Hummingbirds Sip Nectar?

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. Learn how to clean hummingbird feeders.

Should Sugar Water be Red?

Myth: Adding red dye to sugar water will attract more hummingbirds.
Fact: It isn’t necessary to add dye to sugar water. Feeders with red parts do the trick to attract their attention. Learn the basics of feeding hummingbirds with Sugar Water 101.

Hummingbird Myth: Hummingbirds eat only nectar and sugar water.
Hummingbird Fact: Insects and small spiders are also an important part of a hummingbird’s diet. Learn more about the foods that hummingbirds eat.

Predators of Hummingbirds

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. Did you know that hummingbirds love this type of birdbath?

Gardening for Hummingbirds

Myth: Hummingbirds feed only from red flowers.
Fact: While red blooms draw them in, these tiny fliers will gladly feed from any color flower that produces nectar. Check out the colorful flower hummingbirds love.

Lori Vanover
Lori has been a writer and editor for 16 years, fueled by plenty of coffee and chocolate. She hopes to retire someday and become a hot pepper farmer, cake decorator or barbecue pitmaster.