hummingbird feeders

I've been wondering lately about the health of sugar in hummingbird feeders. I just researched it and learned:

Hummingbirds and Artificial Feeders

What nectar should be used in feeders?
The sugar provided by hummingbird plants is primarily sucrose and most ornithologists agree that the nectar in your feeders should be as close as possible to that provided by nature. The best sugar solution can be made easily. Just boil 1 cup white table sugar (sucrose) with 4 parts water for 2 min, and then fill your feeder when it has cooled. Higher sugar concentrations, although enticing to the bird (think ice cream sundaes at every meal), could cause kidney damage and being sticky, make it difficult for the bird to preen. Some scientists think that the large water volumes obtained from nectar, may be necessary to assist with cooling. Imagine how much water you would go through flying out in the heat of a mid-summers day!

What about commercial foods with red dye or a scent?
Most commercial hummingbird food products are a waste of money. Like many birds, hummingbirds can't smell and have only limited taste. Their main indicator about food is the presence of a bright colour. Many hummingbird flowers are red, which explains why feeders that mimic this natural advertisement are so successful. However, plants do not colour their nectar and it is probably best that we do not either. It is also possible that artificial colouring may harm the birds, especially in the amounts consumed from feeders. The red plastic on the feeder should be a sufficient indicator that food is available. Some commercial products add a scent. Unfortunately, the animal being attracted by that is the human, not the hummingbird.

Would other types of sugar be more 'natural'?
Absolutely not! NEVER use honey, brown sugar, icing sugar, juice or artificial sweetener!

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Only a day or so to go to sunshine!! enjoy summer!


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