Experiments in feeding behavior of the Anna hummingbird


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Provide supplementary food for hummingbirds to increase adult survival

Action Link
Bird Conservation
  1. Provide supplementary food for hummingbirds to increase adult survival

    A controlled study in mountainous pine forests in California, USA, in July 1976 (Wheeler 1980) found that Anna’s hummingbirds Calypte anna fed more on red-dyed sugar solutions than solutions on other colours (17 visits/hour for red solution vs. 13 for yellow, eight for green, four for blue and five for uncoloured). However, birds did not show a preference when solutions were presented one after another. A separate experiment found that, after 40 minutes, approximately 80% of hummingbirds visiting a feeding area went to a feeder containing sugar solution, rather than a control feeder containing water. Solutions consisted of saturated solutions of cane sugar in water and were supplied from a 250 ml feeder with small holes near the base. The feeder had been used for several years before the experiment.


Output references
What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 20

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.

Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape Programme Red List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Bern wood Supporting Conservation Leaders National Biodiversity Network Sustainability Dashboard Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx British trust for ornithology Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Bat Conservation InternationalPeople trust for endangered speciesVincet Wildlife Trust