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July 23, 2010


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The Zen Birdfeeder

Vivian, bats have been known to drink up nectar at night. The red dye is probably not good for them either though. :( Thanks for making the switch back!
Millicent - thanks for switching to CLEAR NECTAR!!
Theresa - NO. Read the post.

millicent dew

I stumbled upon your site because I was looking for an answer as to why my red Hummingbird nectar was turning clear. I'm so glad I found you! This is invaluable information and I'm making the switch today! I love reading the comments from other Birders too! Thank you so much!


Is red dye good for humming birds or not

Vivian Lurkins

My husband bought some red colored nectar and like me, was unaware of the harm the red dye might do so I will discontinue using it. I have made my own in the past and will resume that practice after seeing your tips.
My question is, what other creatures like the red nectar? There have been a couple times when I have had 2 nearly full feeders at night only to find both of them empty and undamaged the next morning. My fenced yard does back up to common ground but I have never seen any other animals attempting to get the feeders that hang from my elevated deck. I've never had this happen with the clear solution. (I live in St.Louis, Mo) Any ideas?

The Zen Birdfeeder

Christine, thank you so much and thanks for spreading the word on Pinterest!
Rick, good news!

rick d

I have sworn off red dye for everything/anything.

Christine Stanmyer

Thank you for the information about the red dye in humming bird nectar. I posted it on pintrist. I like many others had no idea how harmful it is. You are doing a great service by imparting this knowledge. Happy birding!

The Zen Birdfeeder

Shirley, oh yes, orioles LOVE oranges. Cut oranges in half and if they find them, you'll have quite a show!

The Zen Birdfeeder

Cheryl, thanks for staying away from red nectar!!

The Zen Birdfeeder

Good to hear Rita!!!

The Zen Birdfeeder

Taylor, I use hot water to dissolve the table sugar completely, and let it cool off before filling the feeder.
Thanks for checking out this post and have a great time feeding the hummingbirds!


The Orioles have returned! My 4 year old grand daughter and I just made our own nectar...yes, from scratch and NO dyes. Now, I have heard from friends that they also like oranges. My question is Is that true?


I try to avoid ANY product with red dye! It's hard!! But I had a dog years ago that after trial & error we found to be allergic to red dye! It was frightening! She would eat her food & then would swell up so much that she had trouble breathing. I had to give her benedryl & rush her to the vet. At the time MOST dog foods had red dye in them. At the suggestion of a very young teenage salesman at Petsmart we tried a dogfood that didn't have red dye in it. It worked & we never looked back! Red dye is a scary thing!


I never use red nectar. Always make my own...love my hummers.


Thank you for this amazing article! I have never fed the hummingbirds before- but just bought a feeder- I am so happy I found this information! Does the sugar water solution need to be warm to dissolve the sugar correctly for use?

The Zen Birdfeeder

Carolyn, sun or shade for hummingbird feeders but be aware that those in the sun will need to be cleaned and nectar changed more often (every 2-3 days vs. every 4-5 days.) Thanks for swearing off red nectar too!

carolyn suslovich carieme04

I'm taking the pledge. Thanks.
I was suspicious of the red dye and used only sugar water while living in northern n.m. I had probably fifty to seventy numbers every evening vying for spots on my feeders.
Here is another question. Should the feeders have lots off sunlight or does it not matter?

The Zen Birdfeeder

Shane, I stick with what the scientists at Cornell Lab of Ornithology recommend: plain sugar and water. The hummingbirds don't need additives! These additives, I believe are a marketing gimmick. We refuse to sell them.

Shane Harris

What about this product ?
Its made by songbirdessentials.com and its humming bird nectar, all natural and no dyes.

The owner of a local wild bird store says there is no dyes in it, the red colouring is from crushed hibiscus. Im just wondering because several people posted about it being difficult to gauge the level of nectar in their feeders with clear nectar

The owner also said he believed this product had some sort off crushed insect in it as well ( for protein I guess).

I make my own btw, but I was just curious on your thoughts about products that dont have the dye in them, but use natural colouring.

Thank You Shane

The Zen Birdfeeder

Richard, I'd say that your container is not 100% clean. Use a glass container to mix/store - easier to get squeaky clean! No need to boil the solution for a period of time - just hot enough to dissolve the sugar.
Thanks for taking care of the birds!

Richard Schiefer

I mixed 4 parts. Water. To 1 part. Sugar and i used a 1 gallon plastic. Water container and i am getting black spots in container.. Also i boiled the water and sugar a few minutes . WHAT KIND OF CONTAINER SHOULD I USE...????

The Zen Birdfeeder

Cathugs, personally, I feed only nectar that has no other ingredients other than water and sugar. I would not personally buy a nectar listing any additional ingredients. They will continue to get their minerals and vitamins from nature.


So I agree wth the no red dye but what about the vit D and calcium the bag says hummers need for stronger eggs? If we make our own they don't get these vits?

The Zen Birdfeeder

Sara, thanks for making the switch for the hummingbirds!



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