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July 23, 2010


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No more red dye for us. Looks like maybe the hummers actually prefer the clear home made solution.


I will stop today and replace my feeders with clear liquid. We ate at a lake and I sit outside and watch them fight over the feed

Cindy Canida

I swore off red dye in my feeders last year. Heard it was bad for them. But now I understand why. It makes perfect sence. Thank you for the information. And since I started using clear nectar my hummer population not only didn't decrease, it actually has increasing! Its growing daily!! And they are such friendly little guys. I can hear their wings buzzing in my ears while they huver around me waiting for their fresh cool nectar Im filling their feeders with.
Healthy Birds are Happy Birds!! Lets all work together to keep them their healthiest!!!

Lee Tyndall

New to this Hummingbird feeding, have seen a darker colored one and a mostly green one using my feeder. Got rid of the red dye today, using your mixture, Thanks


We just discontinued. I purchased clear nectar and googled to see what the advantages which is how I ended up here. Thank you for the information and links.

Bri m

Lol I woke up in the middle of the night randomly thinking to myself oh my gosh! I hate red dye and it's so bad for your health my new hummingbird feeder is full of it ! Emptying it out and making the switch! Thank you!!

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

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