Every year we put out our hummingbird feeders to attract these beautiful little birds to our homes. We do this both to view these little hummers in action, and to provide food for their long, impending trip south. We assume, that we are doing them a favor by providing difficult to find food.
The question is…are we really doing them a favor by feeding them what is the human equivalent of a Twinkie, for food? Hummingbirds are major pollinators of wildflowers, for one. If we’re feeding them sugar water, are we keeping them from seeking out nectar from the very flowers they are designed to pollinate?
There are arguments that they need both feeders and native habitat to feast on. If this is the case, then maybe we should be planting more hummingbird habitats, rather than putting out more feeders. This would be a more natural way of helping nature along.
I’m not sure what’s right, but for now, I’m going to continue planting more plants for hummingbirds and putting out the feeder. I do enjoy watching them right outside my office window. Another good reason for the feeder. If I discover that I am doing more harm than good, I’ll quit the feeders.
I do make my own sugar water using 1 part of plain white sugar to 4 parts filtered water. I don’t put red dye in it and it is not necessary. The birds have no problem finding it. I also make sure that I keep the feeder clean and sanitary for the birds, mostly mold buildup. Keep it clean and keep it healthy!