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To Boil Water Or Not ??? (1 Viewer)

Hummingbird Market

Active member
Often you wonder “Do I need to boil the water for my hummingbird nectar”?

Water is indeed a large issue as we humans feed hummers. If you are feeding hummers please be cognizant of what goes into their feeder. Some people use city water, some use via a water softener/ conditioner/ reverse osmosis and some receive their water from wells.

  • Tucson Water - Tucson city water has been treated for human consumption, taking out harmful bacteria, etc. It does contain trace elements, as necessary minerals, that humans and hummingbirds need daily. You can get an analysis of the impurities present in your Tucson tap water in each monthly bill. The analysis will show the level of harmless (to drink) impurities such as sulphates, carbonates, sodium, calcium, magnesium etc., chlorine added by them to kill any bugs and hopefully a number of zeros against toxic ions such as lead and mercury, pesticide residues, bacteria and other items. Boiling city tap water will eliminate chorines, fluorides and any potentially harmful bacteria/ microbes that hummers don't need.
  • Water softeners/ Reverse osmosis - The common active ingredient in water softeners is sodium (salt) which may add too many minerals and salts to the water. With reverse osmosis and ionization the water can become overly acidic.
  • Well Water - In well water you may find agricultural chemicals and contaminant run-off that may be present in rural and suburban aquifers.
  • Distilled Water - Do not use distilled as it takes out too many naturally occurring minerals.
  • Filtered Waters - You can also use filtered water from a Brita or the refrigerator water filter.

Summary - It is best to get your hummer water from the purest source---before it is treated by a home water treatment system. I use the outdoor faucet from where the city water enters my house. You do not need to boil water to dissolve the nectar. Boiling water and eliminating bacteria will retard nectar fermentation by at least an additional 24 hours---your choice.

Important if boiling water: Allow the water to cool before adding the nectar---boiling water with nectar will alter the 4:1 water:nectar ratio via evaporation. Also, remember that here in our hot and arid Sonoran desert climate the liquid in the feeder will start evaporating immediately and in a matter of a few days it can change from 4:1 to 3:1 to 2:1 and will be refused by the hummers. Thus, in our warm weather it is best to clean the feeder and replace the nectar every two-three days.

Douglas Everett

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