Hummingbird nectar... You've been doing it wrong!


My apologies for the click bait title. It is a bit of a joke at the countless articles that insist you are wrong in doing countless trivial things. I'm not really here to tell you about any wrong doing, but to educate.
Hummingbirds have a max forward flight speed of 30 mph and can reach up to 60 mph in a dive maneuver. Hummingbirds also need to consume about ½ their weight in sugar daily, feeding an average of 5 to 8 times per hour. So lets feed some hummingbirds.
Break out some ingredients:
- Sucrose (sugar water/nectar)
- Sodium Benzoate (preservative)
- Tartaric Acid (preservative)
- Red #40 (petroleum based food coloring)
If you are wondering why I didn't stop at Sucrose, congratulations... this is the whole point.
Most instant nectar concentrates include extra chemicals that are “Developed to attract”. Preservatives for sugar water? Red food coloring? How long do you really need nectar to last? Why not just make less? And most feeders are already flamboyant enough to attract.
The truth is you don't need any of the extras to feed the tiniest of birds. But before I get to that, a word about Red #40.
There was a study done on the toxicity of this chemical, which is produced from petroleum distillates. In the study, they discovered that the Red #40 lowered reproductive success in rats, as well as reduced parental and offspring weight, decreased brain weight, and lowered chances for survival in newborn rats.
Even if this doesn't effect the hummingbirds in the same way,why risk it?
Let's take it down a notch and make some good ole fashioned hummingbird nectar:
1. Add 4 cups of water to a pot and bring it to a boil.
2. Add 1 cup of granulated sugar.
3. Stir until dissolved.
4. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool.
5. Add mixture to your hummingbird feeder.
6. Leftovers can be stored in a refrigerator for up to a week.
 Note the 4:1 ratio which can be multiplied for more nectar. Enjoy!
hummingbird feeder
 A word from Post Host: 

The above picture is of our newest Light Duty Hanger Kit, designed to hang up to 12 lbs. Installs with ease on any 2 3/8" metal fence post without risk of screws rusting in wood and leaving your plants or feeders on the ground.

 

References:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6636206

Leave a comment