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July 23, 2010


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James H. Hall

While my Mother laid in bed for nearly 2 and a 1/2 years due to a stroke and 2 broken hips . WE would do pretty much anything to ease her boredom and pain and see her happy . A kitten that God brought to us gave the kitten a good home and Mom, enjoyment. She always cared for the poor little animals that were dumped or orphaned . Well one day at Wal Mart I saw the hummingbird feeders . well getting to the point , we have three feeders now . a grown cat that watches the little angels buzz around . And God only knows how many hummers . Mom enjoyed watching them . They are there to greet us in the morning and when it starts to get dark go home to there nests. They are good for the heart. I know they were good for Moms by the smile on her face. I make about 16 cups of 4 to one 1 food for them and will discontinue using any food coloring (.Some of them remind me of jockeys . Little guys with big attitudes) . Pure enjoyment and wonder . Thank you God for all of your angels you put in our lives.

Ben Burgdorf

SOOO much easier and "better", at least I think so, to make your own nectar. Other than 100% sugar, you KNOW that nothing else is added. I have noticed my hummys seem to be feeding on the gnats that swarm around the feeders as well. PROTEIN!!!!

The Zen Birdfeeder

Cindy, the red dye is (1) not needed and (2) not metabolized, but passed through the hummingbird. No harm has been proven but most hummingbird experts say why risk it if it is not needed.
First Nature sells red nectar because unknowing people buy it. They don't want to lose the $$$.
Our store doesn't sell it and we actively encourage people to just make their own clear nectar with sugar and water.
Birds before bucks.

Cindy Frost

I've been using First Nature Hummingbird Nectar I bought at Walmart. I followed the dilution directions on the bottle and have been using it all summer. I haven't seen any dead birds under the tree they live in or under the feeder. My sister told me that commercially sold red-dyed nectar is dangerous to the health and safety of hummingbirds. I stopped using it and called customer service at First Nature. The rep said they couldn't sell the nectar if it wasn't safe for the birds to drink. I love my hummingbirds and want to protect them from harm. Any comments?
North Carolina

The Zen Birdfeeder

Pat, thank you for being a good feeder steward for your hummingbirds!!!

Pat Haston

I have been using clear this summer. Hummers love it. When they can get it. I have a very persistent little hummer we call "fierce" who sits from sunrise to sunset on a tree near the feeder and chases any other visitors away. MINE!!!!!!! He says. Also would like to stress what you said. Keep the feeders clean and changed so Our summer in Tennessee has been 90 every day. We change our feeder every three days.


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!

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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.