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Waltizzo's Nature Facts #1 Traditional Cache

Hidden : 06/27/2024
1.5 out of 5
2 out of 5

Size: Size:   small (small)

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What is it about hummingbirds and the color red? Red flowers, and of course red feeders, are often rich sources of food for hummingbirds. The color red often signals high-octane fuel for their intensely active way of life.

The hummingbirds’ sense of color is due to the dense concentration of cones in its retina. The cones themselves contain pigments and oil droplets in shades of yellow to red, which seem to act like filters. The filters appear to heighten color sensitivity in the red to yellow range, while muting colors such as blue.

But it turns out that it’s the nectar, not the color that makes the most difference with hummingbirds. By varying the nectar content of flowers, researchers were quickly able to switch hummers from a preference for red to a preference for the most nectar-rich flowers, regardless of color. So even though hummingbirds’ eyes have a heightened sensitivity to colors in the red to yellow range, the little sprites are fast learners and will go to where the nourishment is.

Of course, this one is not usable to the hummingbirds. 


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