Hummingbirds have very little sense of smell but they can distinguish colors and have learned to favor the colors red, orange and pink as sources of good nectar. Free use photo
Exploring Nature: Feeding Hummingbirds
My resident hummingbird looks to be a female ruby-throat. She does not have a ruby throat, however, and is a rather drab light green, with touches of white on her head.
She readily drinks from the sugar water feeder on my back deck and I hope she supplements this with nectar from flowers blooming around my place.
My sugar water is prepared on a ratio of four parts water to one part cane sugar. In the wild, flowers produce nectar that varies from twelve percent to almost fifty percent sugar. Interestingly, hummingbirds prefer the more dilute nectar while bees and other insects like the stronger concentrations.
This presence of sugar is the reason some folks have problems with bees and ants at their hummingbird feeders. However, if you use feeders with built-in bee guards, and if you coat your hanging wire with cooking oil, you can generally avoid this problem.
By the way, hummers have very little sense of smell and as a rule, the flowers they visit have little fragrance. On the other hand, they can distinguish colors and have learned to favor the colors red, orange and pink as sources of good nectar.
If you plant flowers in these colors, you’ll increase the odds of hummingbirds visiting your abode.