Does Red Hummingbird Food Kill Them?

It’s a sad fact, but many hummingbirds die each year because of the red food coloring used in commercial hummingbird food. While the red color may be pretty to us, it’s actually very harmful to these delicate creatures. The red dye can cause kidney damage and even death in hummingbirds.

If you’re serious about attracting and helping these beautiful birds, make your own hummingbird food at home using sugar and water – without any added color. Your hummers will thank you for it!

If you’re a bird lover, you might be interested in learning about the different types of food that hummingbirds eat. You may have also heard that red food dye can be harmful to hummingbirds and even kill them.

So, does red hummingbird food really kill them? The answer is yes, red food dye can be harmful to hummingbirds.

In fact, it’s one of the leading causes of death for these little birds. The reason red food dye is so dangerous is that it contains a chemical called “sodium nitrite.”

This chemical is used in many industries as a preservative, but it’s also been shown to be toxic to animals (including humans).

So, if you’re feeding your hummingbirds nectar that contains red food dye, you could be inadvertently killing them. It’s important to always read the labels on any commercial nectar products before purchasing them, and to avoid anything that contains red food dye.

If you’re not sure whether a product contains this chemical, it’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid it altogether.

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Male ruby-throated hummingbird

Does Red Hummingbird Food Kill Them?

If you’re looking to attract hummingbirds to your garden, it’s important to know what kind of food they like. While there are many commercial hummingbird foods available, you can also make your own nectar using a simple recipe for sugar and water.

But what about the color of the nectar? Does it matter whether you use red food coloring or not? The short answer is that red food coloring is not harmful to hummingbirds and will not kill them.

However, there is some evidence that red dye may be detrimental to their health in the long run.

A study published in 2012 found that European starlings that were fed a diet containing red dye 40 (a common food coloring) had lower levels of antioxidants than those that were not fed the dyed diet.

Antioxidants are important for birds because they help protect against cell damage caused by free radicals. While more research needs to be done on the effects of red dye on hummingbirds, it’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid using it in their nectar.

If you do use commercial hummingbird food that contains red dye, simply add a little extra sugar to offset any potential negative effects.

How Does Red Hummingbird Food Affect Them?

Red food coloring is not harmful to hummingbirds and will not affect their health. In fact, many hummingbird enthusiasts use red food coloring to attract the birds to their feeders.

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However, it is important to note that too much red food coloring can cause stomach upset in hummingbirds and should be used sparingly.

If you do use red food coloring, be sure to dilute it with water so that it is not too concentrated.

hummingbird hovering

Why is Red Hummingbird Food Harmful to Them?

The quick answer is that red food coloring is harmful to hummingbirds because it contains chemicals that can be toxic to them. In particular, the chemical known as “cochineal” is of concern.

This natural dye is made from crushed insects and has been used for centuries to give foods and beverages a red color.

While cochineal is considered safe for humans, it can be very harmful to hummingbirds. When consumed in large quantities, it can cause liver damage, kidney damage, and even death.

While many people believe that bright colors attract hummingbirds, this isn’t necessarily true.

In fact, most hummingbirds are attracted to flowers that are yellow, orange, or red. However, the nectar of these flowers does not contain any red food coloring.

So why do some companies add red food coloring to their hummingbird feeders? The answer is simple, marketing. Many people believe that brighter colors attract more birds, so companies add red food coloring to their products in order to make them more appealing to customers.

If you’re interested in attracting hummingbirds to your yard, the best thing you can do is provide them with a safe place to drink and eat by installing a feeder filled with fresh nectar.

There’s no need to add any food coloring, just plain old sugar water will do the trick!

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Stop Feeding Hummingbirds Nectar with Red Dye

Is Store-Bought Hummingbird Nectar Safe?

Whether store-bought hummingbird nectar is safe is a hotly debated topic. Some argue that the sugar content in the nectar is too high and can cause health problems for the birds, while others claim that the nectar is perfectly safe. The truth likely lies somewhere in the middle.

The sugar content in store-bought nectar is certainly higher than what hummingbirds would find in nature. However, most experts agree that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

In fact, the extra sugar can actually be beneficial to the birds, giving them a much-needed energy boost.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. If you notice that your hummingbirds seem to be having trouble digesting the store-bought nectar, it’s probably best to switch to a natural alternative.

You can easily make your own hummingbird nectar at home with just sugar and water – no need to add any artificial colors or flavors!


No, red hummingbird food does not kill them. In fact, it is actually good for them! The sugar in the nectar provides energy for the little birds, and the red color is just an added bonus that makes them look pretty.

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