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 http://www.geary.ksu.edu/