[Tweeters] "NECTAR DEFENDER", Hummingbird nectar protection: ALERT!

George Gerdts geopandion at gmail.com
Tue Jul 21 16:16:21 PDT 2015


The following note was sent to me, and I thought it quite pertinent. A
product to keep hummingbird sugar water free of microbes may have
unintended consequences...

George Gerdts

Bainbridge Island, WA
geopandion at gmail.com

This came to me today from one of our members (thanks Leslie!) and it seems
worth sharing because after all, who doesn’t love hummingbirds? The letter
below is regarding a product on the market called Nectar Defender and is
written by Susan Campbell, an authority on hummingbirds in North Carolina.
To establish her credentials I looked her up and found this very
satisfactory write-up from 2014:


As for the product Nectar Defender, read on for Susan’s thoughts about it.

*Subject:* *Nectar Defender*
Hi there!

Just wanted to follow up on the question last week about Nectar Defender
which is being sold by Wild Birds Unlimited this summer. In my opinion it
is another unnecessary product with unknown consequences for the birds that
feed on it. Although it may well have been tested to do what it is
advertizes to do (keeping certain microbes from growing in the feeder)-- it
has NOT
been tested in terms of palatability or safety to the birds. Assertions by
a poultry scientist at Cornell are hardly scientific evidence-- if you this
fella has as much as admitted now that he is not sure how the copper
additive or anything else in in it might truly affect the birds long-term.

Since the issue was brought up by me in our hummingbird research community,
more details have emerged beyond the material on the company's web site and
that which Wild Birds Unlimited has distributed. I know Wild Bird Centers
are also selling this product.

There have been two apparent cases locally of hummingbirds that did find
this additive to be unpalatable. I think it is possible-- just as it has
been with the Perky Pet food mix.

The bottom line is that we all just need to simply regularly clean our
feeders during the summer months. It seems that, sadly, some recent
posting of references to mold in hummingbird feeders causing fatalities has
directly influenced the sale of Nectar Defender. I will add that this
event is still not understood but occurred on the West Coast in winter:
hardly comparable here. But fortunately there is upcoming research being
planned at the University of California that will be looking into possible
toxicity issues in hummer feeders.

I fear educating about this is my next big crusade in addition to the
age-old red dye issue...

Happy hummer watching-- peak season is just around the corner!

Susan Campbell
Southern Pines, NC
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