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July 23, 2010


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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!



The Zen Birdfeeder

Sharon, thanks for sharing your experience with your switch AWAY from red nectar.
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are known for not sharing well. Other hummingbird species are better at it, as well as ruby-throateds during migration. Where are you located (to know what hummingbirds you might attract)

The Zen Birdfeeder

Rosie, from what I've read, hummingbirds aren't necessarily attracted to lime green naturally, but if they try it and it contains fresh quality nectar, they'll come back. Tying a red ribbon was a good idea to help attract them to it!

The Zen Birdfeeder

Cherie - hooray!!! Thank you for making the switch for the birds!

Sharon Popikas

After three years of trying to attract hummingbirds to my feeder, this year I didn't use the red colored liquid, I made my own with water and sugar. I now have two that come on and off all day long. I had a surprise last night after dark when I looked at the feeder. Both birds were sitting on the feeder. They normally chase each other away. They stayed there for several hours. Is this normal?


I just bought a new pack of Perky Pet nectar powder. Went to make a batch and it turned red. How disappointing. I won't be using it. I did contact them to see what they use to make the solution turn red. Will be interested to see what they say. Another question. I bought a new feeder this year and its lime green. Do you think it matters when I am trying to attract the hummingbirds (so far not much luck although have one flying around. Hopefully I'm just missing when they hit). I did attach red ribbon to my feeder to see if that helps. Would be interested if you think the green feeder is distracting instead of attracting. Thanks. Peace


Convinced me....I will make my own!

The Zen Birdfeeder

Diane, thank you so much for (1) taking the time to read that label; (2) checking here for more information; and (3) your very kind words. Your comment made my day!!!! Thank you!

Diane Kuhring, Belleview, FL

I recently bought a feeder & commercial nectar (out of ignorance) when I saw a hummingbird going after my hanging baskets. But when I turned the bottle over to read how much to dilute it I read the ingredients & was shocked! HF corn syrup & Sodium Benzoate, a preservative & possible carcinogen! I don't consume this stuff myself or my dogs! Thank you Zen Birdfeeder for your HELPFUL advise. BTW the syrup recipe is also backed up by the Smithsonian info website. Peace

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?

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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.


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