Date: 5/17/18 11:49 am
From: Chuck Otte <cotte...>
Subject: Water Softeners and hummer nectar
So to answer my own question - I was able to track down an email that
Sherri Williamson wrote (Sherri wrote the hummingbird book for the
Peterson Field Guide series) where she discourages using water that's been
through a home softerner unit because of the elevated salt content. I'm
not sure what listserv this had been on originally, but it's from 1999 and
this is what she wrote:

"Bill Calder, longtime hummingbird researcher, found higher than normal
levels of sodium in the urine of urban hummingbirds in Tucson, where many
people use chemical water softeners. The typical softener system replaces
the calcium ions in the water with sodium, in the form of ordinary salt.
This, too, is probably not good for the birds in the long run. Natural
nectar contains a variety of electrolyte salts providing a balance of
sodium, potassium and other ions, so to bring your nectar substitute
closer to the real thing you might use untreated tap water or bottled
drinking water."


Chuck Otte <cotte...>
County Extension Agent, Ag & Natural Resources
Geary County Extension Office, PO BOX 28 785-238-4161
Junction City, Kansas 66441-0028 FAX 785-238-7166

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