General Question

Lalalime's avatar

Does Dye Harm Hummingbirds?

Asked by Lalalime (95points) June 5th, 2009

I don’t put any color in the syrup for my hummingbird feeder, I was told it was unnecessary. They seem to like it just fine, plain. Its the red ‘flower’ looking openings that attract them. My question is, when people do put food coloring in the water does this harm them? I always read about what dye’s do in humans – how much more so for a small bird?

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7 Answers

crisw's avatar

Here’s a good article on the subject from a hummingbird expert, giving a lot of good information. The conclusion of this article is that it should not be used.

Skippy's avatar

the more you read, the more I now will not use food coloring anymore. I make my own juice, and I get a ton of the little guys.
My feeders are just outside my living room window. I watch them from the couch, and hearing them squeek is almost like they are saying thanx.

I sure don’t want to do anything that would potentially harm them.

RocketGuy's avatar

One of my kids is allergic to Red #40. Can’t be good for birds either.

MissAusten's avatar

I had read that the dye isn’t good for the hummingbirds. It’s probably cheaper to make your own syrup anyway—it’s just sugar and water. No need to buy it. You’re correct that the color of the “flower” on the feeder is more than attractive enough to bring the hummingbirds to the feeder. Ours is clear with red flowers, and we have hummingbirds all the time.

Skippy's avatar

1 part sugar to 4 parts water. I got 2–1/2 gallon feeders to add to my feeder collection this past Mother’s Day.
I Lurve watching them Fluther around.

“WOW what a wordplay”

Darwin's avatar

I, too, have been told by ornithologists that dye is not good for hummingbirds. It is supposed to cause kidney damage

Also, however, it is very important that you put out fresh food daily. Bacteria and fungus can get into food left too long and cause serious illness in the birds. You also need to clean the feeders several times a week.

I generally have several feeders that I switch out, so every day I am using a clean feeder with fresh food.

Lalalime's avatar

I DO clean my feeder, the lil critters go thru an entire feeder of syrup A DAY! I have also experimented, holding the feeder flat on the palm of my hand, they are not too timid to come sit and eat right there! Thanks for all your help folks.

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