[Tweeters] Hummingbirds, honey and other additives
creinsch at comcast.net
Tue Dec 28 16:05:51 PST 2021
I used to go to Humnet with my questions, but it is now much less active
than it was 18 years ago, and I am unsure whom is left to answer them.
But Sheri Williams (author of /A Field Guide to Hummingbirds of North
America/ in the Peterson Field Guide Series) continues on the web. Here
is a link to a post she wrote to address repeated attempts by humans to
persuade hummingbirds to consume something they shouldn't. She provides
a lengthy list of "things that *don’t* belong in hummingbird feeders".
In another post Sheri writes specifically of honey: ". . . . .
hummingbird experts often warn against it, too, though mainly because
honey has been reported to cause a fungus-like disease of the throat and
tongue (presumably candidiasis
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candidiasis>). This is almost an urban
myth itself, as no one seems to have any hard evidence linking the two,
but there are other good reasons to avoid using honey in hummingbird
". . . . honey ferments rapidly when diluted to feeder strength, in part
because its main sugars, glucose and fructose, are readily used by
yeasts. These simple sugars predominate in the nectars of
insect-pollinated flowers, while sucrose, a disaccharide, predominates
in bird-pollinated flowers and is preferred by hummingbirds. Even if
honey contained the “right” sugars to feed hummingbirds, it’s extremely
expensive. So for happy, healthy birds, cleaner feeders, and a bigger
bank balance, stick with plain white sugar."
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