Wittier Word Weavers

Writers' Club of Whittier

Are Hummingbirds Attracted to Red?

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Orange aloe, lavender Mexican sage, bird of paradise, golden currant and red bottlebrush, hummers are drawn to any nectar sweet flower into which their little beaks fit. A birder friend of mine who leads nature walks says, “They’re not here for our entertainment.” I don’t know — watching the small packages of energy wage war, sit on their nest or blush orange or ruby, can keep me fascinated for hours.

Gorget. It derived from Old French meaning “armor that protects the throat.” “Gorgeous” is from the same root. The male Anna’s wears a whole red-violet helmet. Why are some birds so outrageously beautiful? ‘To attract a mate’ is the normal answer. Then why can sparrows and wrens find find love when they’re plain old brown?

Having a 300mm telephoto lens on a fast (10 fps) Sony Alpha 65 camera has made spying on the tiny creatures more interesting. I observe them catching gnats in the mid-air, snitching spider webs to build their nests and sticking out their tongues to lap up nectar. Before I thought they used their beak like a straw! Nature’s feast, a hummer at a flower. The bird is fed, the bloom is pollinated as evolution intended. I can’t help but think sucking artificial sugar water out of a red plastic container just isn’t right.

Author: Sherry Novak

Sherry Novak's novel 'The Chick Sexer' will soon be released.


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