Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Hummingbirds and Dangers of the Dye in Feeders

Hummingbird hovering to feed at a red feeder w...Image via Wikipedia

Liv and I love to watch birds. She calls them "cheep cheeps" because she loves listening to them sing.
I am very grateful to live where I do. My state bird is the Eastern Goldfinch, a bird I did not see till I was an adult and visited my husbands parents in New Hampshire. Now living in a more rural part I see them, along with other wildlife I thought only existed in other states, daily.
One thing I do not see in my yard is hummingbirds. I have been working to bring back the gardens and other greenery that the previous homeowners neglected so there are not too many plants that attract them.
While I was leaving the library I spotted this book and went right back to check it out.
Its a great resource on how to attract hummingbirds to your yard. I wanted to get us a hummingbird feeder and am so glad I read this book before I did.
I always thought that the nectar needed to be red to attract them. Which is not true. Most feeders have enough red parts to attract hummingbirds. I never thought that most of these nectars are made with Red 40, which numerous studies show that this dye is harmful in large and possible small quantities. Imagine how harmful it could be to a small hummingbird who is drinking a lot of it?
Instead you can just make your own nectar with 1 part sugar to 4 parts boiling water and let cool. Its cheaper then buying the store kind, and kinder to the birds.
It always makes me think how many things we do that can be so harmful to nature with out even realizing it.
"Leave only footprints" when it comes to nature.
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