Hummingbird Feeder Question

Hello:
Have recently bought a hummingbird feeder, but have unfortunately discarded the package so don't know the brand or model to mention.
Anyway, it has the inverted glass bulb, and four sunflower looking yellow ports for the birds (hopefully).
My question is:
Each round port is covered by a grill consisting of really small holes, behaps around a 1/32 of aninch, or so. Also, the exact center hole of this grill (or screen) is blocked.
Hard to believe that any hummingbirds beak is small enough to fit thru these holes.
Might anyone care to comment on this, please ?
Thanks, Bob
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If you've seen a hummingbird close up you'd know their beak could be a sewing needle! The grill is a bee guard. I personally don't use bee guards, but people who are allergic may. I also do not use the hummingbird food they supply. You do not need red dye, and it can be very dangerous to the health of the birds. Use plain water, four parts water to one part white sugar, boil, cool and use that. Store it in the fridge.
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Regarding the red dye myth..(undetermined) http://www.snopes.com/critters/wild/reddye.htm I am a hummingbird afficianado. I've had a researcher come to my house, catch and record information (weight, feathers, size, etc) and release the little critters. Nothing was ever mentioned about red dye. And I have been using red dye for years, and know for a fact that I have hummers returning year after year.
Perry
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The red dye is completely unnecessary.

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-> Regarding the red dye myth..(undetermined) -> http://www.snopes.com/critters/wild/reddye.htm -> I am a hummingbird afficianado. I've had a researcher come to my house, -> catch and record information (weight, feathers, size, etc) and release the -> little critters. Nothing was ever mentioned about red dye. And I have been -> using red dye for years, and know for a fact that I have hummers returning -> year after year. http://www.hummingbirds.net/feeder.html
--QUOTE-- Please, do not put honey, Jell-O, brown sugar, fruit, or red food coloring in your feeder! Honey ferments rapidly when diluted with water and can kill hummingbirds. The effects of red dye have not been not scientifically tested, and it is not necessary to color the water to attract birds to your feeder. Further, there are unverified reports that red dye can cause tumors in hummingbirds; this may or may not be true, but why take the chance? --END QUOTE--
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What's a hummingbird officianado?
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In the present case "officia" means "in the office" & "nado" means "nothing" or "nobody." Literally it means "nobody is in the office" but the usual English vernacular equivalent would be "nobody home upstairs." Which is how the odd conclusion that red dye is harmless could be made.

I'm an aficianado of books & had Stephen Hawkings to a bookish gathering long years ago. Does having a genius over make me a genius too?

Red dye #40 is derived from coal tar and/or petrochemicals; it might or might not be the least harmful of red dyes, but it's definitely harmful. It is proven to be carcinogenic & mutagenic to animals [Rosenkranz et al, 1990], decreases reproduction [Vorhees et al, 1983], increases incidents of cancerous & non-cancerous tumors & lesions internally & of the skin [Lagakos et al, 1981]. All red dyes are categorized as "xenobiotics" the same as most pollutants, & stress the metabolism accordingly [Kuno & Mizutani, 2005].
Since the most conclusive studies are on mammals, not birds, it might all be dismissed by mental deficients or vested interests; but no studies specifically on hummers are apt ever to be performed. Yet hummingbird experts like Lanny Chambers at hummingbird.net are pretty much convinced the increasing percentages of tumors found in hummingbirds is the result of well-meaning but ignorant amateurs feeding vast quantities of red dyes to hummingbirds. Personally I would not feed to birds or any other animal chemicals proven to be harmful to humans or mammals at doses even lower than are in manufactured hummingbird feeds, & I cannot imagine anyone with a measurable IQ do so, once they found out the science on this topic.
The daily maximum amount of red dye established by the World Health Organization as safe for humans (7 mg per kg of body weight, i.e., 0.007 mg per g body weight) is vastly exceeded by the amount of red dye which dose hummingbirds when people use manufactured products. So even if there is a safe level of usage permitted by the FDA, hummingbird products using red dye exceed that margin of safety by magnitudes of hundreds. A hummingbird weighing 3.5 grams fed the Opus solution is ingesting 0.42 mg of red dye daily (0.12 mg/g body weight) if it keeps visiting the same feeder, as compared to 0.007 mg/g considered within safety margins for humans. DNA damage in mice begins at daily doses of Red40 at 0.01 mg/g. So hummers are being fed 40 times the amount of red dye associated with DNA damage, & hundreds of times more than is regarded safe for human use. Obviouisly this can't be good. More often than not toxins & carcinogens that take down mammals also take down birds & fish. For the pdf file on low-dose DNA damage to mice, do a google on "DNA Damage Induced by Red Food Dyes" + "Tsuda" & the entire articled can be downloaded to your desktop.
Red dye #40 is used in the vast majority of manufactured hummingbird feed products, or they claim so at least (no one monitors them so they could be using & probably are using even less safe dyes, whenever the less safe dyes are offered much more cheaply on the open market). Other red dyes (decreasingly safe) including those which are completely banned for human ingestion are not banned in all other countries & frequently discovered to be (illegally) even in imported human food products. Since the manufacturers buy their dyes from the cheapest sources, it is only a pretence that it is always Red40, which isn't itself safe, certainly not safe at the amounts fed, but even if it were the safest of all unsafe red dyes, it is not really apt to be the only dye used.
Some exaggerated things have been said of red dyes such as it causing baby hummers to be born blind -- lots of myths about it, but the realities are sufficiently condemnatory that hummer AFICIANADOS (such as most frequently make their own food for the hummingbirds knowing most of the commercial products are harmful) do not include red dye in their recipes for the following reasons:
1. Red dye has no nutrient value so should not be fed to hummers. 2. Red dye masks fermentation making it difficult to assess the freshness of the mixture, encouraging users to risk keeping the mixture beyond its safety margin since it looks okay to them. 3. A properly designed feeder attracts no additional hummingbirds by coloring the water, so it is a useless additional ingredient. They are attracted to red flowers, not red nectar, so the feeder, not the feed, should be red. In comparison tests of dyed & undyed nectars offered side-by-side in identical feeders, the non-dyed is visited more often. 4. The potential carcinogenicity, DNA damage, asprin-like allergenic side-effects, lowered fertility, tumors, lethargy, & other health problems associated with doses far lower than are in manufactured nectar powders, are not worth risking on such small creatures.
Those are solid reasons why no "aficionado" uses red dyes in hummingbird foods.
So, what is the real purpose of red dye in hummingbird feeds? Only this:
1. The pretty color attracts the dollars of well meaning but ignorant amateurs. Since aficianados make their own, there is no marketing impetus to provide a better product for aficianados, the well meaning ignorant amateurs are the only customer base.
For the few 'Aficianodos' who do not make their own, the brand choice is Best-1, who have a stated policy of never including anything harmful in their powder mixes, & excluding all red dyes.
The Perky Pet Company has come up with a novel marketing angle because of the well-known dangers of red-40 & other red dyes. They advertise an all "natural" hummingbird food with dye made from flowers & insects. The insect-derived dye is carmanic acid, banned in many countries & restricted in the USA, a "natural" alternative to Red40 which is easily as dangerous as Red40 when injested. The flower derivation is amaranth, ie., the exceedingly dangerous Red-2 banned for human use, which is toxic at low levels, causing skin lesions, cancer, all manner of problems. The purpose of the Perky Pet product is to be able to use the word "natural" & work around the justified fear of Red40 which is a petroleum product no less than is motor oil. These alternatives are "natural" all righty, but increasingly harmful. The manufacturers don't care.
The law does not require these products to be safe for hummingbirds, so they aren't. If they were for human consumption they would not have the same ingredients at all.
One manufacturer's FAQ, when asked if the red dye is harmful to hummingbirds, did not say "no" but danced around the subject. Instead of a yes or no the Opus Hummingbird FAQ promises only that "All red dyes on the market now have been extensively studied and approved by the Food and Drug Administration as being safe for human and animal consumption." In reality the FDA had coal tar derived red dyes on the provisional use & restricted use lists for years, & the status of Red40 is at present in the limbo of an over-politicized process of re-assessment. Red40 is already banned in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Austria, & a few other countries, while Red Dye #3 is banned in Norway, restricted in the USA, being an animal carcinogen & causing hyperthyroidism & having estrogen-like side-effects interfering with reproduction & causing DNA damage [Dees et al, 1997; Aziz et all, 1997].
Red Dye #2 is banned in the USA, Russia, Austria & many other countries, for causing birth defects & sundry other problems, but still finds its way into animal food products & imported human food products. Red40 became the red dye of choice for manufacturers starting in the 1980s after Red-2 was banned; country by country Red40 is joining the banned list. Coal tar Red Dye #4 is also banned in the USA & elsewhere for human consumption. It's another coal tar dye; it still finds its way into animal food products & illegally in imported human food products.
In humans & rats, Congo Red is associated with cognitive loss & in humans excellerates Alzheimers disease [Inestrosa et al, 2005]. It also caused liver damage in rabbit-based studies, & many other problems.
Periodically there is news coverage of yet another human food product found to have one or another of the banned red dyes in it, but no one is even checking products not for human consumption.
The red dye that WOULD be safe (but still totally unnecessary) is Betanin derived from beet roots. It is expensive & not sufficiently stable when improperly stored (like at room temperature or in bright light on vendors' shelves) so the safest dye is just not used.
-paghat the ratgirl

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Geez...I more than anyone appreciate the sarcasm. It is one of my favorite forms of humor. As far as I know, asshat, there is no such thing as officianado. Aficionado..now there's something you can look up. Perry
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wrote:

Mix one ounce of sugar with 4 ounces of hot water and stir until dissolved. Pour in feeder and hang it in a shady spot so you can watch it and be amazed. Just for you, I measured one of mine by Perky Pets similar to what you describe and the holes are approximately 1/8" measuring (approximately) from .115" to .124" instead of .032" as in 1/32".
If you hang it by a window, in the shade, so you can see up close, the birds use their tongues to lap up the nectar so it doesn't take a lot of room.
Regards,
Hal
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Robert11 wrote:

No.
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Travis in Shoreline (just North of Seattle) Washington
USDA Zone 8
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