Today, I decided I wanted to get a hummingbird feeder, but a thought ocurred to me: maybe I’d actually be harming them a little.
The recipe that I’ve always heard is one part ordinary white sugar to four parts water. But refined sugar can’t be good for them, can it? I mean, they must be getting some other vitamins nutrients from the nectar they drink that would be absent from refined sugar. So, am I feeding them “junk food?”
I’ve always heard that birds become somewhat dependant on feeders: if food is always freely available in one location, why spend time searching for other sources? The difference is that in my regular bird feeder, there’s a mix of various seeds, very close if not the same as they’d be eating in the “wild.” My squirrel feeder is the same: filled with nuts and grains, much like the squirrels’ usual diet. However, hummingbirds don’t usually eat Domino Brand White Sugar-water.
I know the hummingbirds are unlikely to suffer untimely death over from drinking my unnatural concoction, but something about the idea of making them dependant on an unhealthy food source bothers me. Is it the equivellent of bribing them with “candy” to hang out in my yard so I can enjoy watching them?
So, what’s the dope? Does nectar vary in any significant way from plain old sugar-water? If so, do birds rely heavily or exclusvively on a constant food source to the extent that it would keep them from getting some of things they need in their diet? Am I a fruicake for letting this concern me?