Hummingbirds: Steer Clear of Red Dye
Yes, birds fly and this is the time of year we see them in the greatest number but have you noticed just how many there are flying around this year? Maybe it's because of lives have slowed down enough to really notice them.
I've been married to my husband for six years and have known him for about 12 years. And yet, I just learned that his favorite bird is the hummingbird. Apparently asking Jay what his favorite bird is wasn't on my prerequisite for marriage list.
I made the discovery of what my husband's favorite bird is by accident. Jay and I have a wish list on Amazon and while going through the list I saw hummingbird feeders. The plastic red and yellow ones that look like this:
I asked my husband what was up with the feeders and he said he'd seen the birds flying around our house and since they were his favorite (that's when I learned) he wanted to geet feeders to see if he could draw them closer so he could see them better. I never really thought about whether or not my husband had a favorite bird, but there was something in his expression when he told me that led me to believe the story went deeper- like maybe his departed grandma, who he adored, spent time teaching him about birds (turns out she did). So, I decided to remove the plastic feeders from the wish list and surprise my husband with colorful blown glass feeders. I know they probably work just as well as the plastic ones, but I wanted something really beautiful for my husband and his birds. Here's the feeder I picked out:
If you're thinking about getting a hummingbird feeder, please keep in mind that while it's been unproven that red dye kills hummingbirds, adding it to the feeder isn't necessary and if it's not necessary, why would you? Hummingbirds are attracted to the color red, but your feeder will have enough red on it to draw the birds in. According to the Audubon Society, "The color on your feeder is enough to attract them."
Making your own hummingbird nectar is so easy and inexpensive and is much more healthy for the birds than buying storebought dye. Here's how to make nectar that your birds will love: mix 1/4 cup sugar to every 1 cup of water. See? Super simple.
Also, memory bank this trick if your feeder suddenly starts attracting ants: applying petroleum jelly to the hanger will keep the ants from crawling into the nectar.