Anyone who loves hummingbirds would agree that they don’t want to intentionally harm the birds that we so love and enjoy. This can happen quite by accident. The information contained here may help ensure that you don’t unintentionally harm these birds.
Pesticides should never be used in a hummingbird garden! The hummingbird can ingest the pesticide while feeding on insects and spiders. While you may think you are doing you plants a favor by using the pesticides this is a very bad idea, because the protein that is provided by the insects and spiders found on these plants is vital to the hummingbird’s diet. If these pesticides get ingested by the hummingbird it could make them sick of even kill them. It is important to remember that hummingbirds are extremely tiny and therefore even a small amount of pesticide can be deadly!
There is a great debate as to whether or not red food coloring is unhealthy for hummingbirds. I don’t know the definitive answer regarding this issue, but I will tell you for certain that the use of red dye is unnecessary if your feeder has red on it somewhere, either on the feeder its self or by attaching a red ribbon to the feeder. Yes, you can buy pre-made nectar solution that contains dye, but why do so. This is far more expensive then making your own nectar solution and making your own nectar solution is quite easy to do. This is what the makers of Perky-Pet hummingbird feeders had to say as a reason many people may believe that red dye may be harmful to hummingbirds. “Some liquid red dyes contain propylene glycol, a refined alcohol that is sometimes used as antifreeze. That is why Perky-Pet uses dry, USDA approved dyes and discourages the addition of untested red dyes by our customers to color nectar.”
Making homemade nectar solution is quite simple. The recipe for making your own homemade nectar solution is listed below:
To make your own nectar solution, use 1 part white granulated cane sugar to 4 parts water.
If you choose to make your own homemade nectar solution, you need to bring this solution to a boil for 1 1/2 minutes and then let it cool down. You now have a mixture much more similar to that of the flower nectar.
The decision of whether or not to use red dye in your hummingbird nectar is entirely up to each individual. I, personally, don’t believe it necessary, because I have repeatedly seen hummingbirds come to feeders without any dye in the nectar solution.
Honey should not be used to feed hummingbirds because it attracts bees and favors the growth of a black fungus that causes a fatal liver and tongue disease in hummingbirds.
This last tip may surprise you, just as it did me. Electric fences can be a real safety issue for the hummingbirds. Let me explain. May electric fences have red insulators that will attract the hummingbirds because they think the insulators are flowers and as a result the hummingbird will mistakenly fly into the fence. The best way to insure that this doesn’t occur is to paint the insulators either black or white.
Hummingbirds are one of nature’s most beautiful creatures. These birds face enough challenges to their survival, so let’s each do our part to try and insure that no harm comes to them. If you follow the tips listed here, you will be taking action to insure that no harm intentionally comes to these amazing birds.