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
Might anyone care to comment on this, please ?
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
Regarding the red dye myth..(undetermined)
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.
-> 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.
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?
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 &
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
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
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
Get your Paghat the Ratgirl T-Shirt here:
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.
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
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.