Do you know what is in your nectar
Many consumers are influenced to buy products they see repeatedly advertised in print and media. Most large companies compete with each other to produce the highest dollar-yielding results through expensive advertising and various marketing methods. Informed consumers are not swayed into buying their products simply because it has a colorful image of a hummingbird on the package. They aren’t fooled by labeling their product hummingbird “food” either. Most folks who attract hummingbirds using nectar feeders or nectar-producing flowers understand that the nutritional aspects of their diet (vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins, essential oils, fiber, etc.) consist almost entirely of insects. This is their food! Nectar is what gives them the energy to accomplish everything they need to do daily. Think of going to the gas station to refill your vehicle tank before it is empty. Your nectar feeder is the hummingbirds’ gas station. And, not all gas is the same.
Read Our Label
Unfortunately, consumers have few resources to assist them in determining what the best nectar is to buy. Informed consumers know to read labels to compare products. After all, when shopping, many of us compare prices to determine the best price. We also need to know exactly what it is that we are buying. Read our label. It tells you everything that is in our nectar. You’ll see our nectar is complete with all the necessary ingredients and contains none of the unnecessary additives. Then compare the price of our nectar to any others. You’ll find our nectar, ounce for ounce, is the most cost effective nectar there is. Smart consumers know that you must compare apples to apples, oranges to oranges, etc. And, the bottom line is you get what you pay for. We offer the best product for the best price. Simple as that. See our price comparison charts.
And, what about a simple sugar (sucrose only) solution. Many consumers believe that it makes no difference to the hummingbirds what they are offered. We know hummingbirds will come to any sweet liquid, but it doesn’t mean that that any sweet liquid is good for them. We know from experience that some folks have used organic sugar, artificial sweeteners, fruit juices, agave nectar, 7UP, etc. Certainly the hummingbirds have come to feeders that contain such liquids. But, their bodies cannot process these things into 100% beneficial energy and therefore should not be used. We believe the same is true of any simple homemade “nectar”. Without all the necessary ingredients that are found in our nectar and in natural nectar in flowers, all these homemade “nectar” recipes are simply sugar water – not real nectar.
Cause No Harm
Real nectar provides all the things the hummingbirds need to thrive. These delicate birds are more fragile than most humans understand and this is why we offer everything hummingbirds need from their nectar. This is why our motto is CAUSE NO HARM. Feeding your hummingbirds to assist them in their lives (and to appreciate all the wonderful aspects of hummingbirds) is indeed laudable, fun and educational. But feeding them the wrong solution and causing them harm is worse than not feeding them at all!
Commercial Nectars From Large Companies
The same is true for all commercial nectars. Nature’s nectar in flowers is a complex formula of combinations of plant sugars. The primary plant sugar is sucrose, followed by glucose, dextrose and fructose. Several other minor plant sugars may be present in a variety of nectar-producing plants. Trace elements of certain proteins, amino acids and electrolytes may also be present. Many commercials nectars sold are simply 100% sucrose only, and when cleverly marketed in colorful packages claiming to be “food”, unsuspecting consumers may be buying overpriced less than ideal nectar for their hummingbirds – and potentially harmful at that. Many commercial types of nectar still contain red color – suspected to be bad for hummingbirds.
Added Ingredients Add No Benefit
Food labels for animal products are not as well regulated as those for human consumption. In fact, trace elements present in commercial nectars are not even required by law to be listed in the ingredients on the label. Many commercial nectars contain a host of preservatives and other additives. The quantities of these potentially harmful ingredients included into many commercials nectars are unknown. How much preservatives are harmful to the birds? We know that too many preservatives are bad for humans, but how much (or how little) is harmful to hummingbirds? Also, these added and unnecessary ingredients are colorless. When water is added to the mix, we cannot see or discern these elements. These added ingredients are totally unnecessary, unnatural for hummingbirds to consume, and potentially harmful.
Concentrations--- 5:1, 4:1, 3:1
The relative concentration, that is the ratio of nectar to water, is also quite important. We know some people will make it more viscous/ thicker thinking that a concentration of 3:1 or 2:1 is sweeter. But that is not sweeter but more syrupy.
Concentrations of four (4) parts water to one (1) part nectar will evaporate into sweeter concentrations of three (3) to one (1) within a few days. Using concentrations of two (2) to one (1) may simply damage the hummers internal organs. We recommend a four (4) to one (1) ratio recipe. This is very safe, approximates what nature provides for them in flowers, and is more cost effective.
Solutions with higher concentrations of sugars (3:1 and 4:1) will offer more metabolic support than dilute nectars (5:1). Dilute nectars take longer to digest because more water is processed and excreted (Suarez et al., 2002) and dilute nectars will increase the birds metabolic rate by 15% to process the increase in water (Lotz & Nicolson, 2002). Thus, it is wasted energy. 4 parts water to 1 part nectar is best
5 parts water to 1 part nectar is a myth promulgated by those who believe that our desert birds need more hydration.