Ask the Bird Lady: Is it ok to feed hummingbirds red dyed nectar

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Question from a reader:

Is it a bad thing to use hummingbird nectar with red dye in it?

Christine Southwick responds:

Perky Pets bird feeder
with red nectar
Red dye is a hotly debated issue.

Some studies SEEM to indicate that the red dye increases cancer in hummers. But the data / jury is still out.

Perky Pets (brand name), a major maker of hummingbird feeders, still sells ready-made red nectar.

The majority of birders, myself included, ask, "Why take a chance with the red food dye?"  So instead we use feeders that have red parts, usually the feeder ports.

Most of us make our own nectar (1/4 cup of cane sugar to 1 cup of water. NOTE: do not use beet sugar -- the hummers can taste the difference).

Keep the feeders clean -- without soap.

During the cold times, I have at least two going (right now I have three), so that there is always food, even when I am cleaning one of them.

--Chris the Bird Lady


ladypfield December 18, 2016 at 1:53 AM  

I make my own nectar as well and change often. They love it and I love them! I got the best feeders from that bird store at the lake forest park town center (next to mid pizza). Super easy to clean and it has perches for the birds to relax on while they nectar up!

Post a Comment

We encourage the thoughtful sharing of information and ideas. We expect comments to be civil and respectful, with no personal attacks or offensive language. We reserve the right to delete any comment.

  © Blogger template The Professional Template II by 2009

Back to TOP