There has been quite a bit of discussion lately among those who feed birds jellies, nectars and fruits as to whether or not offering these foods are safe for wildlife. Some say the sugar content is much higher than the natural foods such as berries, plant nectars and the flowers the birds normally eat.
In regards to offering jelly, in March of 2013 we published an article about offering any jelly that is sweetened with high-fructose corn sweetener. High-fructose corn sweetener should not be offered because the HFCS cause a disruption in the bird’s satiety. You can read more about our findings at:
This year some concerns are being raised about offering jelly of any kind because it is thought to have higher sugar content than natural foods. The BirdBerry Jelly we offer by Songbird Essentials has a sugar content of 45% and the birds simply love it.
Grapes are average 16% sugars, and glucose and fructose are the primary sugars found in grapes. So if you are concerned that you are giving the birds too much sugar try blending the jelly you offer with chopped dark red grapes. We even have a recipe that keeps them coming in all summer long:
J.J.’s Oriole Munch
- One 20 oz. container BirdBerry Jelly
- One-cup finely chopped dark red grapes
- Three-ounces of dehydrated meal worms
- One 12 oz. cake Orange Suet Dough, grated
Stir to blend ingredients, fill oriole feeders, and store unused portion in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to one week or longer in the freezer. We have the jelly, suet, and suet dough right at our shop.
As for the nectar mix we offer, for filling hummingbird and oriole nectar feeders the
Best-1 Hummingbird Instant Nectar it is the closest we can come to the natural complex sugars found in flowers.
After researching several botany websites (and finding one we could understand) we found out that natural flower nectars average 65% complex sugars.* Flower nectar is basically a sugar solution composed of one disaccharide (sucrose) and two hexoses (glucose and fructose) which is a compound sugar called dextrose. These are exactly the types of sugars that are found in “Best-1 Hummingbird Instant Nectar.”
Our suggestion is do not offer any jelly or food that contains high-fructose corn sweetener to wildlife and birds. Do offer “natural” fruits like chopped dark red grapes, apples and oranges. Do offer “rendered” summer-safe suet, and roasted mealworms.
*For more info about natural plant sugars: The Annals of Botany
on behalf of the the Naturalists at J.J. Cardinals
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