possible experiments with hummingbirds

cami.dfJanuary 13, 2014

hello,I was asked to design an expreriment on their hummingbird's habits and I wondered if i could put tape water in one feeder (with the 1:4 sugar concentration) and destilated water in the other (with the same concentration) to see which of the the birds would preffer.
My question is: could that hurt them at any point? if ther's no harm in doing it, why would they preffer one over the other one?
Thank you very much

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greenthumbzdude

doubt they will be able to tell the difference....birds have fewer taste buds than humans

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 7:48PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Some will say that distilled water lacks minerals that are part of the makeup of the sugar solution supplement. If you are in an climate where the feeders typically are supplemental to the flowers, insects that also help to balance their diets, likely no issue.

Here, where the annas sometimes overwinter and may have access to limited other food for several weeks, I might hesitate to use distilled water in the feeders long term.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 12:07PM
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grandmamaloy(7)

I would not use tap water, unless it is boiled, which is the recommendation when making your own nectar. Clean, chemical-free water and clean feeders are important to the health of the hummingbirds. As far as distilled water, that should not be a problem at all. I looked up distillation on Wikipedia and here's what it said: Distillation involves boiling the water and then condensing the steam into a clean container. Therefore, distilled water and boiled tap water are basically the same thing. I think I would opt for using two different kinds of feeders as an experiment instead. OR you could try coloring nectar in one and not in the other. (I use red-bottomed feeders but do not color my nectar and they eat it fine), So, we are back to different colored feeders. Like maybe one that's red and one that's yellow or green. I've even seen some that are glass that are swirled in different colors.

Another experiment...if you've got the time. Flowers vs feeders. Or different types of flowers for attracting them.

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 11:38AM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Chemistry.com - " The disadvantage to drinking distilled water is that most of the natural minerals in the water are gone. If these minerals are desirable (e.g., calcium, magnesium, iron), the distilled water might be considered inferior."

Instead of a definition of distilled water, try searching 'distilled water hummingbird feeders'. Several of the sites directed to feeding hummingbirds will warn you of long term use of distilled water, here's just one:

Here is a link that might be useful: Hummingvird Society - recipe warns against distilled water

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 1:09PM
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tima9209

Re: I would not use tap water, unless it is boiled, which is the recommendation when making your own nectar. Clean, chemical-free water and clean feeders are important to the health of the hummingbirds.

Boiling is not going to get rid of chemicals, and I wouldn't bother unless you have to boil it to make it potable for humans.

Re: Distillation involves boiling the water and then condensing the steam into a clean container. Therefore, distilled water and boiled tap water are basically the same thing.

The first sentence explains exactly why your conclusion is wrong. If you're not collecting the condensate of your boiled tap water, it's not the same thing at all. And I wouldn't try distilled water anyway; it's pointless.

Re: OR you could try coloring nectar in one and not in the other.

Why would you even try that? It's well-established that colored solution is unnecessary to attract hummingbirds.

This post was edited by tima9209 on Wed, Feb 12, 14 at 3:45

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 3:44AM
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