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Will Red Food Coloring Hurt Hummingbirds ???

Started 1336990607.4 in For the Home Talk | Last reply 1337225669.027 by Rainbows and Roses


I have several Hummingbird Feeders and they all leak which
causes ants and bees..........

I did see a feeder on QVC that has a stopper on the bottom that
will prevent the leaks......ITEM # M27588

It comes in 3 Multi Colors...Red, Blue and Purple....

Since I do not like the Red or Blue Multi Choices, I thought I would get
the Purple.......

The only problem with the Purple is that it is REALLY ALMOST White, Clear.....

The formula for Hummingbird Food is 1 part Sugar to 4 Parts Water....
(1/4 Cup Sugar to 1 Cup Water)

I was thinking that I could add Red Food Coloring to the water as Hummingbirds
are attracted to Red and to make the Feeder more attractive.....

Does anyone know if Red Food Coloring will hurt the Hummingbirds ?????

I have seen ready-made Hummingbird Liquid Food that is Red
but I am not sure if the Red Color comes from Food Coloring...

I DO NOT want to hurt the Birds !!!!!

Thanks a Bunch !!!!! {#emotions_dlg.ohmy}

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CSH1336993682.3332334 PostsRegistered 12/5/2009NW PA

Kids are not supposed to eat red dye...why feed it to the hummers?

I have a glass feeder with a copper top and yellow ports.

No red at all. Just your recipe...and make sure you clean your feeder every time you add new food...and watch carefully for mold.

New food should last 2 days...any more will mold. Put less in and fill it more often.

Hummers are creatures of habit...once they find a feeder they will return year after year.

If you really want red...get a red Million Bells hanging basket and place it near your feeder.

Nope...no red dye please!

Enjoy your bird watching!

My hummers have just returned.

Last edited on 5/14/2012

Last edited on 5/14/2012

Play is children's work!

violann1336995591.25713932 PostsRegistered 12/12/2004
Last year i put great big red velvet Christmas bows on some of my bushes until the hummers were comfortable here (yeah, for sure out of sight of my neighbors!), and I never use dye. Just not necessary.

I didn't come here to argue.- Peg Bracken

DaniM1337046781.21889 PostsRegistered 1/25/2009

Food coloring is made from coal tar, not really good for any living species.

Zcat1337047217.732700 PostsRegistered 2/3/2010Florida

No dye - it's bad for them.

Skylands1337049251.9536667 PostsRegistered 5/30/2010

Seriously, red dye is bad for hummingbirds. Why do we, as in people, eat it all the time and the FDA hasn't come out and said it's bad for us?

wdeerest1337051908.44981 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004

Red dye is not good for them. Red attracts them, but use a red hummingbird feeder or put out red flowers where you have the nectar and they will be attracted there. I have a feeder on a sheperd hook with a red ribbon tied at the top. I have read many books and articles about hummingbirds and the red dye is toxic to them.

nckjm1337053059.527828 PostsRegistered 7/20/2009NC

red dye bad

red ribbon good

Hilo1337053382.4777105 PostsRegistered 8/28/2007

I've always wondered how good it is for me when I eat a piece of Red Velvet cake. I wouldn't give it to hummingbirds.

Kat 131337076336.617870 PostsRegistered 7/6/2011


Thanks for all of your answers.......

I already have a lot of Red feeders and do plant Red Flowers, etc around them.
I do get lots of Hummingbirds..............

The reason I asked about the Red Food Coloring was ONLY because the NEW feeder
that I was planning on purchasing because the ones that I have leak, (( the one with
the stopper )),............. IS UGLY.......
The Purple choice is VERY VERY Pale and I wanted to JAZZ it up a little.

SO, What is the RED color in the pre-mixed Hummingbird Food ??????

Anyone know what it is ???

I always make my own..................

Thanks a Bunch......Kiss

gardenman1337081624.70317972 PostsRegistered 6/30/2005Southern New Jersey

A lot depends on what the red dye is made of. There's a red dye (cochineal food coloring) that's made from crushed bugs. While that's not especially appealing to most humans I suspect the hummers wouldn't mind.

I know there's been a lot of bad press about red dyes, but I'm of the belief that they're not as bad as many would have you believe. From time to time the press will jump on an issue and give way too much credence to one or two studies/reports that show that something consumed in vast quantities is bad for you.

Call me crazy, but I tend to think the manufacturers don't really want to kill their customers. It tends to be bad for repeat business. Any red food dye/coloring you find in a store or in a product on the shelves these days is almost certainly safe to use as long as you don't go way overboard using it.

A lot of the horror stories you hear come for absolutely false stories. There was one story that the San Diego zoo experienced all kinds of problems in their bird population when fed nectar with red dye. When investigated the zoo reported that the story was completely fabricated and they'd had no such problems.

I don't use red dye for my hummers, simply because I don't find it necessary. If you want to use red food dye then feel free to, at least to get the hummers there, but once they're there you can both save money and allay any doubts you may have by then going back to clear nectar. The hummers will still come back to the feeder as long as there's fresh nectar there regardless of the color of the nectar.

Fly! Eagles! Fly!
In Chip We Trust!

Missey11337222351.873174 PostsRegistered 12/21/2008Sierra Foothills CA

I have almost always used red food coloring. I do believe they will also come without any color at all. I have done that too.

Rainbows a­nd Roses1337225669.02718545 PostsRegistered 6/4/2011

I just use sugar water in my red only feeder........yellow attracts wasps which hurt the hummies..........I use a little more than a one cup of sugar and three cups of water and make sure it is clear before I place in the feeder. My hummies love it.

"Crying is for plain women, Pretty women go shopping." Oscar Wilde

"The most beautiful makeup of a woman is passion but cosmetics are easier to buy." YSL

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