Artificial colors and ingredients in nectar results in sick and dead birds

Now that spring is here, it is time to put out hummingbird feeders to tide them over until your garden is in bloom.

But don’t make the mistake of using red dye in your nectar!

Bird rehabbers across the country are finding hummingbirds that are unable to fly after drinking nectar with artificial coloring. Not all survive.

The nectar in your feeder does not have to be red to attract hummingbirds. Even a small amount of red on the actual feeder will take care of that.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website:
“Sheri Williamson of the Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory (SABO), and author of A Field Guide to Hummingbirds and Attracting and Feeding Hummingbirds, writes, ‘The bottom line is that instant nectar products containing artificial coloring are at best a waste of your hard-earned money and at worst a source of disease, suffering, and premature death in hummingbirds.’”

Also, DO NOT use the following ingredients in your nectar. Hummingbirds can not metabolize these and so they can cause kidney damage:

  • organic/raw sugar
  • artificial sweeteners
  • honey)
  • koolaid
  • juices
  • sports drinks
  • brown sugar/molasses
  • maple syrup
  • any type of syrup

Making your own CLEAR nectar is simple and much cheaper.

  • Boil 4 cups water (to a temperature high enough to melt sugar; this will also break down some chemicals and remove many microorganisms)
  • Stir in 1 cup white sugar
  • Cool to room temperature before filling your feeder
  • Remaining mix can be store in your refrigerator for a week.

More information: Cornell Lab of Ornithology: Feeding Hummingbirds