Can I put red food coloring in hummingbird food?

Can I put red food coloring in hummingbird food?

23 January, 2010 (01:47) | hummingbird food | By: admin


I just got a hummingbird feeder, and may make my own food to put in it. If i do four part water and one part sugar (I found that from this website:http://www.wbu.com/education/hummingbirds.html) will it harm the bird if I put red food coloring in it?

Red food colouring is used because the colour helps to attract hummingbirds (like brightly coloured flowers). There is no evidence that food colourings harm hummers but if you want to be sure why not make the feeder red instead of putting colouring into the sugar solution? This has been shown to work just as well.

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Comments

Comment from RoyW
Time January 23, 2010 at 7:33 am

Red food colouring is used because the colour helps to attract hummingbirds (like brightly coloured flowers). There is no evidence that food colourings harm hummers but if you want to be sure why not make the feeder red instead of putting colouring into the sugar solution? This has been shown to work just as well.
References :
http://www.rubythroat.org/FeedersMain.html

Comment from Mackenzie S
Time January 23, 2010 at 8:16 am

post deleted for being total nonsense

Comment from billhiltonjr
Time January 23, 2010 at 9:25 am

Mackenzie S is badly mistaken on several counts. Leaving a feeder up in fall will NOT keep hummingbird from migrating. They leave when the days get shorter. The only birds that MIGHT stay behind are weak ones that will die anyway in migration.

The amount of red in the bird’s neck has NOTHING to do with red in its food. Red food coloring is a PIGMENT, and the color in the bird’s neck is not caused by pigment. It is a STRUCTURAL color resulting from scattering of light caused by tiny air bubbles and grooves in the feathers themselves.

Also, all good feeders now have red plastic, so there’s no reason to use food coloring in the mix. It’s an additive and no one knows but that it might cause problems for these tiny birds.

Last, hummingbird do NOT hitchhike on the backs of larger birds such as Canada Geese.They fly on their own. In fact, geese are going to the coastal areas of the Carolinas and Virginia, while hummers are going to Mexico or Central America. They’re not even going to the same place!

Looks like Mackenzie S needs to spend some time looking at all the factual information on a reputable Web site such as the one for “Operation RubyThroat: The Hummingbird Project” at http://www.rubythroat.org

Comment from Amber
Time May 31, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Please don’t use brown sugar!!! REGULAR sugar only !

Comment from CK OShea
Time March 17, 2015 at 7:17 pm

Also do not use honey. It is harmful to hummers in the same way it can be harmful to infants and it spoils much faster. See http://faq.gardenweb.com/discussions/2766159/can-i-use-honey-instead-of-sugar-in-a-hummingbird-feeder for more info.

Also red dye is iffy, and if you use a store purchased feeder it is not necessary. The feeding area should be red to attract the little guys but not the syrup.

Comment from marla
Time September 7, 2015 at 12:45 pm

Some hummers stay all winter, Annas I think stay on the west coast all winter so we leave the feeders up for them

Comment from Janice
Time August 1, 2017 at 8:58 am

I know it says no red food color.My Mother always used it.She had lots and Lots of birds.I do not use it and 3 is the most I have ever seen at one time.What is the problem ?

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