Sugar water 'for the birds'

A bird drinking sugar water.

GEORGE NEWS - Many Georgians have sugar water in hanging bottles to attract nectar-eating birds to their gardens.
 
While this is a great way to attract birds, it is not always in the birds' best interests, as sugar water cannot compensate for or replace the nutrients the birds get from drinking nectar from flowers. It can deprive them of vitamins A, K, E, and D, calcium as well as the protein that they get from pollen.
 
Many of these birds play a large role in the pollination of plants as they look for and drink the nectar from the blossoms.
 
When the ratio of sugar to water is stronger than 1 part white sugar to 10 parts water, it attract wasps and bees and can upset the birds' stomachs.
 
If you are going to put up bottles, do it for a short time, for instance just for the period that you are in the garden. When you go inside, take the bottles down. A couple of hours a week will not negatively affect the birds.
 
You would also need to keep the bottles very clean as they get contaminated very quickly.
 
Do not use brown sugar or raw sugar as these spoil faster. Food colouring can poison some birds and, don't use honey, as this also spoils fast and can harbour micro-organisms that will make the birds very ill. The sugar solution can be stored in the refrigerator for a week.
 
Article by SPCA volunteer, Wendy Jones. 
 
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