Sunday, June 24, 2012

17 Dead Humming Birds Later

Ruby Throated Humming Bird
(Image via Outdoor Nature Resource) 
Our barren backyard needed some life...wild life. We recently put out a humming bird feeder to attract something to look at in the backyard. We just picked up one from our Local Home Depot but decided to forgo purchasing the nectar in the store because we're on a budget and we wanted to attempt to make our own. After all, it's just water, sugar, and *red food coloring right?!?!?

17 Dead humming birds later... we perfected the recipe. KIDDING! No humming birds died... that we know of. And, I already knew the recipe so there was no experimenting. So far it's been a great success. We have several humming birds that chug the nectar like it's going out of style. We have to refill the jar at least 2 times a week they go though it so fast. They even wage war on each other to keep the nectar all to themselves. I never knew they would be so territorial. Anyway, Just wanted to share the idea and the nectar recipe if any of my readers want to attract these little visitors.

Humming Bird Nectar 
4 Cups Water
1 Cup Sugar
(Optional) *2-3 Drops RED food coloring

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Stir in the sugar and let dissolve. Return to a boil, and boil for 2 minutes to kill any mold or bacteria that might be hiding. Remove from heat after boiling for 2 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature. Fill your humming bird feeder. I add 2-3 drops of *red food coloring at this point. I typically have some remaining nectar as well. I just pour the extra nectar into a jar and refrigerate it for when the feeder needs a refill. (The nectar should keep in the fridge for a week or two. Anything past that will need to be thrown out.)

*2-3 Drops Red food coloring:  To use or not to use... This is a HOT topic in the birding community apparently. I'm not going to get into the argument or details. I use the red stuff and have not seen any ill effects. No dead birds, no disfigured birds, and weird behavior from them. I have researched and have not found any REAL and SOLID evidence of negative effects of the red stuff to the hummers. You can use your own judgment and your own recipe. Here's a link to some history and facts about the hot topic. Is red dye harmful to humming birds? via About

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