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  • Our eyes and ears should be open and alert to the natural wonders that surround us every day. Take time to look out our windows to see the birds that visit us and open our windows to hear them. Walk around whatever space we have to enjoy the birds in nature. Every day, work on improving our powers of observation.


  • Nature happens. We cannot MAKE natural things happen (or NOT happen). We can create habitats to encourage natural things to happen around us, but there are no guarantees.


  • Birdfeeding comes with responsibilities to the birds and the environment we share with them. If you are unwilling to accept these responsibilities, you shouldn’t feed the birds. We also have a responsibility to share these natural wonders with the next generation.
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« Focus on Fledglings 2010 - 5 | Main | Book Review: Bayshore Summer »

July 23, 2010


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The Zen Birdfeeder

Ginny - thanks for spreading the word!!!

Ginny Mavredes

I love your site. I copied and pasted to my FB page the 5 reasons not to use red dye foods. Hopefully this will be seen by some people that are feeding the hummingbirds on their flights and will prevent harm.

The Zen Birdfeeder

Martha, thank you! You made my day!!!

Martha styles

I'm convince and as if today I'm throwing out my store brought hummingbird nectar and will make my own. Thanks for the tip.

The Zen Birdfeeder

b chase - thanks for sharing the word!
Nicholas - do I hear a convert? Yeah!!!


Thanks for hipping me to the worthlessness of red dye in hummingbird nectar!

b chase

Not to mention that buying the sugar is a heck of a lot cheaper than buying the packaged stuff with the dye.

Will retweet the tweet that brought me here.

The Zen Birdfeeder

Good to hear, Linda!

I have never used the red nectar finding it unnecessary. I have always made my own!

The Zen Birdfeeder

HummFdrs - good! And we can all help spread the word!

Hummingbird Feeders

I stopped using "red" several years ago and the hummers keep on coming. Thanks for getting the message out there.

The Zen Birdfeeder

Margaret - good suggestion!


Coloration of the actual nectar is not needed, believe me. I just tie a simple red ribbon around the feeder stand, and the birds find it in no time flat. Try it -- it works.

The Zen Birdfeeder

Julie - thanks again for the inspiration. I think this "battle" will take constant vigilance and repetition!
Michael - sucrose is the sugar that most closely approximates flower nectar. That's what we're after, right? So plain table sugar is best.
And pass on the beet juice! Flower nectar is CLEAR! Per #1 item: color - of ANY type - is not needed!! Your feeder provides the color!!!

Mike Doraby

Beet juice for me, also, from now on. But is table sugar (sucrose) the best to use? I've heard not to use honey, but what about fructose? Its widely available at 'Homebrew' stores.


I have used the homemade sugar and water mix since day 1. I've seen hummingbirds visit flowers of every color in the rainbow. I don't think they really care what color things are, as long as there is food they will show up.

Julie Zickefoose

Thank you, Nancy. I'm delighted to see you take up the healthy nectar banner. I wasn't able to write as freely in my article as I can on my blog, but BWD readers are sharp folks and they filled in the blanks, I'm sure. The one thing I insisted on was that telling photo of hummingbird droppings, dyed shocking red. One look at that would convince anyone!

The Zen Birdfeeder

David - Red coloration of any type is not needed to attract hummingbirds to most commercially available feeders. Clear is fine. Clear is easier. Why dye of any type?

David Sanchez

I stopped using the red dye early on, mostly due to the reasons that you mentioned. You could add a splash of beet juice to your mix if you wanted a natural red nectar, but that's just too much for me. If I fill the feeders every 3 days it would be much more of a burden if I felt I needed to add beet juice every time. I will admit, beet juice is a STRONG red dye. I drink it myself and it can get pretty messy. Again, not necessary, but if you really want it, beets are a better alternative to the chemical colors.

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