Hummingbird food recipe – food.com
There’s a lot of well-meaning misinformation floating around about feeding hummingbirds, so it’s not surprising that some of it has shown up in the reviews. Here’s my perspective as someone who’s studied hummingbirds professionally for more than 25 years:
* Hummingbirds visit flowers and feeders for energy and water. They meet all their other nutritional needs (protein, vitamins, minerals, etc.) by eating insects and spiders (a good reason to avoid using pesticides in your yard).
* Artificial coloring isn’t a huge health issue for us because we consume such small amounts, but hummingbirds can drink three times their weight in nectar or sugar water every day. If you can’t resist coloring your sugar water, use a teaspoon or two of concentrated fruit juice (tart cherry gives a nice bright red color, but the birds don’t seem to like the taste of cranberry).
* Organic sugar isn’t fully refined, and that dingy color comes in part from iron, which hummingbirds have a low tolerance for. Pure white sugar is safest.
* Boiling isn’t strictly necessary, but it does help the sugar dissolve and the solution stay fresh a little longer. Microwaving is also okay, but don’t use hot tap water unless you have a special instant hot water dispenser at your kitchen sink. The CDC warns against drinking or cooking with ordinary hot tap water because it can contain elevated levels of lead, so it doesn’t belong in hummingbird feeders, either.
* Both vinegar (full-strength) and bleach (diluted) are perfectly okay for cleaning feeders, but bleach is a more powerful disinfectant. As long as you rinse the feeder well, any residual chlorine will be neutralized by the sugar in the solution. Soaps and detergents can be a problem if the feeder has nooks and crannies that you can’t reach to scrub and rinse, but some well-designed feeders can be washed on the top rack of a dishwasher.
* If the sugar water in your feeder “turns black” within three days, you likely have a problem with contamination of the feeder and/or the sugar.