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July 23, 2010


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The Zen Birdfeeder

Dave, thanks for your "no red nectar" pledge! And I know what you mean about the eyes; I've been seen leaning in close to check the nectar level in my feeders. Thanks for reading and commenting!

Dave In Colorado

The only reason I thought about using red dye was for me, not the hummers.
These old eyes are not what they were.
It is easier to see at what level the nectar is.
I have never used it in 25 years and, after reading this, never will.

The Zen Birdfeeder

Lori, yes, but if 4 cups is too much, you can make smaller quantities. Check out our website to see how to make 1-cup, 2-cup, 3-cup, and 4-cup quantities http://saratogasprings.wbu.com/content/show/22507

The Zen Birdfeeder

Thank you Angela and welcome to the hobby! Enjoy!


So.....are we saying it is best to make it with 1 cup sugar to 4 cups of water?


great information about not needing to color the water to attract the hummingbirds. I'm a newbie, and appreciate the information!

The Zen Birdfeeder

Bravo Barbara!!!

barbara morton

I have had hummingbirds for many years and knew about the harms of red nectar. I say leave the red dye out of bird feeders and use for the baking cakes and other yummy human food!!!

The Zen Birdfeeder

Linda, unfortunately you should not add anything to color the nectar. Does the feeder have a clear base? If not, our window feeder does so you can monitor the nectar level more easily.

The Zen Birdfeeder

Fred P.: Smart mom, good thing you listened to her!
llcecreates: Good to hear. Thank you!
Linda: You should use granulated white sugar, which on my bag reads "pure cane sugar".
Madge: First of all make sure the feeder is clean each time before you refill. Any mold left over from previous fillings will taint the new nectar. If possible, move the feeder to a shady spot. Nectar in feeders in the sun will go bad faster. If these two steps don't make your issue better, you'll need to clean and refill your feeders more frequently than you currently are. If you're tossing a lot of nectar, don't fill the feeder full.
Brenda: Since most oriole feeders are orange to attract them, just make your own nectar for their feeder as well. Nectar for orioles is 6:1 to 8:1 water to sugar ratio.

Linda Wagner

I make my own nectar also, have been for years. I just bought one of those kind of flat feeders that attach to the window. We have lots of hummers on it and they love it as much as we love watching them. My dilemma is that there are so many hummers on it they drink the limited supply of nectar it holds very quickly. It is very hard to see (we are old..LOL..) the level of nectar so I was wondering if there is anything we can add to nectar to just barely tint it that will not harm are little visitors? My husband thought maybe a drop or two of some kind of juice.. Maybe beet juice or cranberry.. Hope there is someone out there that can help. Thank-you in advance!


If this is true for humming birds is this also true for Orioles? The food I have seen for them is orange. And even the packaged that you mix with water turns orange. Why should I be doing for them?

Madge Russell

I use the 4 to one ratio, BUT have a really hard time keeping it fresh. I know that if any mold gets in the feeder the hummingbirds tongue will swell and I will kill them. Does anyone have a suggestion for this?

linda Lauher

Myth or Truth You should use pure cane sugar when making your nectar?


Was told this by my neighbor and stopped using it a year ago. Good info.

Fred Praise

I just started feeding humming birds at my new home. My mother hadfeeders for years and always made her own nectur NEVER used dye or coloring she had a beautiful hummingbird garden with nectur feeders. She taught me that addetives are harmful for natures beauties.

The Zen Birdfeeder

Bonnie, thanks for using only clear nectar and for sharing the word!!!

Bonnie McDonald

I started making my own 4-1 water - sugar solution about 3 years ago. I have hummers come back every year. Just shared your information for those that buy the red food. Thank you.

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.

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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.