Reasons to NOT Use Red Dye in Hummingbird Syrup
-It has NO purpose - Most hummingbird feeders you can buy have enough red color on them to attract hummingbirds without the need for red dye in the nectar. If there is no red on your feeder, simply tie a piece of red flagging, rope, or fabric to it.
-Red dye is typically petroleum based - The dye in colored nectar is red dye #40. Red dye #40 is now made mostly from petroleum, which is not good for any animal to ingest! (see photo)
-Natural nectar from flowers is clear, not red - Nectar made with water and simple white sugar at a 4-to-1 ratio most closely approximates the nectar found naturally in flowers.
-The red dye passes though the hummingbird - The dye stains their excretions red. These indicators mean the red dye is "not metabolized, but passes through the kidneys, where it might cause problems."
-You can make clear nectar more simply and cheaply – Purchasing nectar from stores is expensive. Try making it yourself at home. A 4-to-1 water to white sugar solution will attract hummingbirds.
HUMMINGBIRD NECTAR RECIPE - 1 part sugar to 4 parts water
Stir in sugar to dissolve
LET COOL and then fill feeder
Store remainder in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks
1 cup nectar 2 cups nectar 3 cups nectar 4 cups nectar
1 cup 2 cups 3 cups 4 cups
1/4 cup 1/2 cup 3/4 cup 1 cup
Information and text borrowed from http://wildbirdsunlimited.typepad.com/the_zen_birdfeeder/2010/07/top-5-