Updated at: 13-08-2022 - By: Jane Brody

Hummingbirds are really delicate creatures, so it’s understandable that they could be concerned if they ingested plastic, but consuming a well-known brand should be safe.

Plastic hummingbird feeders continue to have a flawless safety record, with no reported incidents or injuries. This is because the plastic used is non-toxic, thus no chemicals or poisons will leach into the nectar. Due to lack of maintenance, feeders can quickly deteriorate, yet any odors in the nectar will be completely safe.

Plastic Hummingbird Feeder

Only homemade nectar, with sugar as the primary ingredient, should be placed in a plastic hummingbird feeder.

While sugar won’t immediately destroy a plastic hummingbird feeder, prolonged exposure can weaken the structure over time. Similarly, using red food coloring or too much sugar in the feeder can be fatal to hummingbirds and render the feeder unusable.

The nectar’s color changes because sugar or food dye has dissolved into the soft plastic and seeped into the liquid, in the case of a red food dye.

Plastic is to blame since it degrades quickly if not maintained properly; a glass hummingbird feeder, on the other hand, can last for a long time with proper care.

All other considerations, such as the health of the hummers, should be set aside if there is any indication that microplastic is entering the water supply through the feeder. And this is something that can occur if the feeder was poorly designed or developed a defect unexpectedly.

Hummingbird feeders made from plastic should be cleaned as often as possible with a solution that dissolves sugar and kills bacteria on the inside of the bottle.

For the time being, and perhaps indefinitely, hummingbird feeders can be used without risk, so long as you keep an eye out for any unforeseen mishaps.

One reason is that the plastic used in less expensive hummingbird feeders can easily crack or discolor over time.

None of which directly threatens the well-being of our hummers, but all of which may cause problems in the future.

Feeders made in plastic safe

In the United States, plastic hummingbird feeders have been in use for decades without any reports of nectar contamination.

Avian conservation organizations, such as Audubon, nonetheless advise using plastic feeders since they are secure and effective.

These groups never have any doubts about the quality of imported plastic hummingbird feeders, which they always recommend when showing bird watchers how to feed hummers safely.

The chemicals used to create the plastic have never been observed to taint the sugar water, and made-in-plastic feeders continue to employ this tried-and-true, food-safe material.

Nonetheless, I will agree that a glass hummingbird feeder can be easier to clean than its plastic equivalent… but more on that later.

As plastic softens with age and usage, it allows dirt and debris to get farther and further within, so if you use a plastic hummingbird feeder, you should change it every few years.

Don’t worry about any harmful chemicals leaching into the nectar of your hummingbirds if you use a plastic hummingbird feeder made by a reputable company.

Glass Hummingbird feeder benefits

Plastic Hummingbird Feeder-2

Having said that, I will state that a glass hummingbird feeder is far safer than its plastic counterpart for a number of reasons.

Where does trashy plastic go? Walls within a building can be harmed if a solution of sugar and water is left there for too long. Whether it’s the sugar water’s plastic bottle or the port wells.

The hummingbird feeder’s lifespan could be drastically shortened by exposing it to sugar, which can degrade plastic and cause the color to fade and a foul odor to develop.

In spite of the fact that hummingbirds and other birds are perfectly safe to drink from and feed out of this, some species may choose not to.

Glass hummingbird feeders offer an advantage over plastic ones since glass does not break down over time.

In contrast to its glass counterpart, plastic water bottles can soon develop a rancid odor from the sugar inside.

Glass hummingbird feeders tend to survive much longer than their plastic counterparts, but both are still safe to use.

Plastic can require deeper clean

Sugary nectar drinks in plastic bottles, when hung from a hummingbird feeder, are just as safe for the birds as they are for humans to consume.

Sugar water, which is diluted to a concentration of between one and four parts by volume, has less of an effect on the feeder and can be stored in plastic containers designed for both strong and weak liquids.

Over the course of a year, a plastic hummingbird feeder may begin to degrade, manifesting itself externally as a cheap plastic odor emanating from within.

The sugary water has dissolved the plastic, releasing an offensive odor. This time, plastic hasn’t leaked into the water that hummingbirds sip; instead, it’s melted into itself.

Hummingbird feeders made of plastic may need a more thorough cleaning to remove sugar that has seeped deep into the plastic mold, but they are still safe to use at all times

Avoid this by replacing the nectar in the hummingbird feeder with fresh nectar once or twice weekly and cleaning the feeder more frequently.

After only a few days, the nectar in your hummingbird feeder will need to be emptied and replaced with a mix of vinegar and water to kill any bacteria and dissolve any leftover sugar.

As mold can grow within a feeder if it isn’t cleaned regularly, it’s crucial that you keep cleaning feeders despite the presence of potentially harmful bacteria inside.

Lightweight, more motion

Plastic Hummingbird Feeder-3

Because it is impossible for hummingbirds to accidentally swallow plastic or any harmful substances that may leak from a plastic feeder, they can be used with confidence.

What I can say is that the lightweight models do have a propensity to swing more, which is not safe when it comes to hummingbird feeders.

Hummingbird feeders made of plastic are lightweight, thus they can be easily damaged if knocked over or if they are hung from a tree branch instead of being affixed or placed on a tabletop.

Because of this, the plastic hummingbird feeder can fall to the ground while hanging from its bracket, either when it is empty or, even worse, while hummingbirds are actively feeding.

Yes, plastic hummingbird feeders can be dangerous, but those who truly care about the hummers in their yards will have a way to keep their feeders from flying around.

Hummingbird feeders can be hung in two different ways: with a rope and another object to provide stability, or with a bar and no visible wires or chains.

The nectar load’s weight can aid in keeping the feeder suspended in midair, but it’s still a good idea to hang the feeder in a fashion that doesn’t rely solely on counterbalance.

Quality can quickly decline

I don’t enjoy drinking water from plastic bottles because I can taste the plastic, but not because I worry so much about the environment.

For me, plastic water bottles swiftly degrade the quality of any water inside, including spring water and sparkling water.

Therefore, I think this holds true for hummingbirds, since the nectar loses its freshness and develops a plastic-y taste and smell over time.

In the warmer months, when hummers visit feeders, the nectar will quickly lose quality in just a day or two if not properly maintained. Hummingbird nectar can be replaced in feeders more frequently to prevent this problem.

There is no need to worry about the hummers becoming sick from the plastic flavor in the water, as I have already established that it is just the smell and not actual plastic that is leaching into the water.

Hummingbirds will happily continue to drink from a plastic-tasting nectar dish, but you should still put out fresh nectar every day or two.

Conclusion

The use of plastic hummingbird feeders has never been seen to damage hummingbirds.

To be honest, nobody has ever worried that harmful chemicals from the plastic might leach into their water until now, and that’s because a lot of us drink water straight from plastic bottles. This is because the chemicals used to make plastic in feeders are safe for human consumption.

Even if feeders are still risk-free to use in the yard, their quality may eventually exhibit symptoms of deterioration, as is the case with most plastic products.

Since sugary water remains in constant touch with the plastic hummingbird feeder’s inside, it can be difficult to clean or eliminate the plastic odor that is often discernible in the nectar’s smell.

For this reason, cleaning a plastic hummingbird feeder would be more labor intensive than cleaning a glass one, as nectar would leak into the plastic.

Lightweight plastic hummingbird feeders can be a nuisance to birds that are trying to feed, and if they move around while being used, the feeder could fall to the ground. However, there are easy ways to prevent this from happening.

Fading, cracking, and leaking are not safety concerns, but they are reasons to replace a plastic hummingbird feeder.

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