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Is Hummingbird food supposed to be red?

To Dye or Not to Dye, that is the question

The use of red dye in hummingbird nectar recipes is a controversial issue. While hummingbirds are attracted to bright colors, especially red, some red dyes in the 1970’s were found to be toxic.

Today, red dyes found in food coloring and commercial hummingbird nectar are safe for both human and animal consumption, but the color is not necessary to attract the birds. Many hummingbird feeders have red bases, feeding ports or other accents that will attract the birds without risking the use of unessential dyes.

If you want to use red to attract more hummingbirds to your feeders, consider planting red flowers nearby or adding a red gazing ball near the feeder to help catch the birds’ attention.