Bird Watcher's General Store

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Response to PBS Hummingbird Nectar Formula

On a different topic: I’ve been getting lots of calls about a new hummingbird special that’s been airing on PBS. I have not seen the special myself, but I’ve seen some of the mind-blowing clips on YouTube. It looks like a great show, but there’s a problem. In the course of the special, according to the callers, the filmmaker suggests that the best mixture for hummers is two parts water to one part sugar, or even stronger. People want to know why I suggest a weaker mixture of four parts water to one sugar. Okay, here’s the deal. Four-to-one is best for the birds; it is close to the nectar they get from flowers. It’s the formula recommended by the National Audubon Society, Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology and the Tucson Desert Museum, where they have a hummingbird aviary. That’s why I recommend four-to-one. Come on! Do you think I make this stuff up? Well, sure, sometimes I do, but not this time. Stick with four-to-one, and donate the money you save on sugar to PBS. They’re about due to have a fundraiser. They haven’t had one in almost two days.