what is the best recipe for hummingbird food

by Samanta Shields Published 1 year ago Updated 9 months ago

How to make the perfect hummingbird food?


  • Consider using 4 cups of water and 1 cup of sugar. You can store left overs in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
  • Using a medium sauce pan, bring water to a boil. Slowly add in the sugar stirring constantly. ...
  • Allow it to cool completely and the add to your hummingbird feeder.
  • Do not add red dye. It is NOT needed using a hummingbird feeder.

What is the best food for hummingbirds?

Understanding what food sources hummingbirds like best can help you plan an attractive backyard buffet that will tempt these tiny birds as well as meet all their nutritional needs. Nectar, either from suitable flowers or sugar water solutions, is the most abundant and popular source of hummingbird food.

How to make hummingbird food without sugar?

  • Sugar: do NOT use brown sugar, honey, sugar powders, artificial sweeteners. ...
  • Do not use red food coloring or red dye.
  • Make small batches as needed: clean and refill feeder frequently on warm days. You may need to remove feeder on hot days to avoid mold.

Can you make hummingbird food too sweet?

Use only granulated white cane sugar and fresh water. Store bought hummingbird food contains preservatives, avoid it. What if I make hummingbird food too sweet? Overly sweet nectar can promote fermentation and create a place for bacterial growth. The sticky sugary nectar can also make it difficult for the hummingbirds to digest.


What is the correct ratio of sugar to water for hummingbirds?

Directions for making safe hummingbird food: Mix 1 part sugar with 4 parts water (for example, 1 cup of sugar with 4 cups of water) until the sugar is dissolved. Do not add red dye. Fill your hummingbird feeders with the sugar water and place outside. Extra sugar water can be stored in a refrigerator.

Do I need to boil sugar water for hummingbirds?

Do I have to boil the water I'm making my hummingbird nectar with? A. No, all you need is for your water to be hot enough to dissolve the simple table sugar you're mixing in. Remember, table sugar ONLY, in a ratio of 1 part sugar to 4 parts water.

What is the best thing to put in hummingbird feeders?

The best (and least expensive) solution for your feeder is a 1:4 solution of refined white sugar to tap water. That's ¼ cup of sugar in 1 cup of water. Bring the solution to a boil, then let it cool before filling the feeder.

Do hummingbirds prefer homemade nectar?

Homemade nectar is better for hummingbirds, and once you learn how to make it, you'll never rely on commercial mixes again.

How often should you change hummingbird sugar water?

You must change your feeder's nectar, even if it looks like it hasn't lost a drop, on a regular basis. During hot weather, change it every two days. In milder weather, once a week is fine.

Is store bought hummingbird nectar safe?

In addition to being non-harmful and all-natural, Bird Health+ nectars even contain vitamins that are found in natural flower nectar but unachievable in homemade formulas. These added vitamins can be very beneficial for birds and can even help them produce stronger egg shells.

What time of day are hummingbirds most active?

A hummingbird's favorite time of day to visit a feeder and feed on your nectar is usually dawn and dusk, or early in the morning and late in the afternoon before sunset. But even though those two times seem to be their favorite to eat, hummingbirds will be seen feeding at various times throughout the day.

Should hummingbird feeders be in sun or shade?

Sunlight. While some sunlight can help a hummingbird feeder be more visible to passing birds, direct sunlight can also make nectar spoil more quickly. Positioning feeders where they will be shielded from the hottest afternoon sun can be the best option.

How do you attract hummingbirds to a new feeder?

How to Attract HummingbirdsDisplay as much red as possible; such as red flowers and red feeders.Hang red ribbons on your feeders, bushes and trees.Supply a water source.Plant trees or tall shrubs as perches.Hang a protein/insect feeder as a source of protein.Hang more feeders to attract more hummingbirds.More items...

Why won't hummingbirds drink from my feeder?

Hummingbirds are not coming to my feeder for 1 or more of the following 6 reasons: Unattractive hummingbird oasis, unable to locate the feeder, fermenting hummingbird nectar, bees on the feeder, seasonal migrants, presence of potential predators.

What is the healthiest hummingbird food?

Feeding HummingbirdsCane sugar is highly recommended, although beet sugar is okay.Do not use any other sugar — not turbinado, raw, powdered [it contains starch!] or brown sugar etc OR ORGANIC SUGAR* — and never use honey or artificial sweeteners.Spring water is preferred, but most tap water is acceptable.More items...

Can you put too much sugar in hummingbird nectar?

The mixture must always be four parts boiled water to one part sugar. Boil the water before mixing, evaporation may alter the ratio of sugar to water. Too little sugar will not provide the necessary calories; too much sugar can harm the liver and kidneys of hummingbirds.

Hummingbird Food Recipe Rule #1: No Dye Or Else Little Birdy Dies

If you love hummingbirds and want to see them thrive in your backyard, let’s get something out of the way right up front. Some people, in order to...

Hummingbird Food Recipe Rule #2: Don’T Use Fake Sugars

If you’re going to make your own hummingbird food and all you have is “pink” sugar in your pantry, don’t use it! Don’t use corn syrup. And definite...

Hummingbird Food Recipe Rule #3: Change It Up!

According to a Facebook page devoted to all things hummingbird, change the nectar (sugar plus water) every few days. Definitely no more than 5 days...

Hummingbird Food Recipe No Boil

If you want to keep it simple, there’s no more basic hummingbird nectar recipe than The Hummingbird Guide on Facebook’s recipe. The recipe’s goal i...

Hummingbird Food and Ants

Sugar attracts ants. And sometimes, hummingbird food will attract colonies of ants or other insects. Some people recommend an ant moat. Ant moats c...

Store-bought vs homemade hummingbird food

There are so many benefits to having your own homemade bird food in your bird feeder at home. Because of all the additives in store-bought hummingbird food, it’s really something that you should stop buying and do not use.

Hummingbird food ingredients

No matter what type of recipe you decide on, you’ll find a combination of these simple ingredients:

How to make hummingbird food

The easiest way to make hummingbird food is to put 4 cups of water on the stove and bring to a boil. Once it starts boiling, take off the stove and stir in 1 cup of white cane sugar. Let the sugar water get to room temperature before adding to the hummingbird feeder.

Frequently asked questions about homemade hummingbird food

As mentioned above, 4 cups of water to 1 cup of white granulated sugar seems to be just about the perfect combination for the birds.

Does Hummingbird Food Attract Ants?

Yes. Sugar ants also love nectar, too. It’s great to have a full feeder. But make sure none of the nectar spills to the ground, otherwise not just birds will be visiting your backyard. To reduce the chance that ants will invade hummingbird turf, you can set some homemade or store-brought ant moats.

Fresh Hummingbird Food

Hummingbirds are sensitive eaters in one sense. While they may not be picky eaters, after all, they only need nectar and some insects, they do prefer fresh ingredients. Therefore, if you don’t replace the hummingbird nectar frequently, they’ll take their business elsewhere.

Classic Hummingbird Nectar Recipe

Hummingbird nectar is a simple sugar water solution, but it must be made with the right proportions to attract hummingbirds and give them an easily digestible food source. By following the steps below you can easily create a safe and healthy supply of hummingbird nectar .

Hummingbird Nectar Recipe Tips

While hummingbird nectar is simple to make, be sure to consider these tips for ensuring it is safe for the birds coming to your garden.

When to Buy Commercial Hummingbird Nectar

Though it only takes a few minutes to make homemade nectar, if you don't have time to make your own hummingbird nectar, you can purchase powdered or liquid nectar concentrates to use as well.


If you live in the eastern half of the U.S., plan on hanging your hummingbird feeders in early May. In the west, aim for April. If you live on the West Coast and regularly spot Anna’s hummingbirds in your area, you can leave your feeders up all year.

STEP 1: Start with hot water

You don’t have to boil water before using it to prepare hummingbird nectar. If the water is safe for you to drink without boiling it, it’s okay for the birds as well. However, if your tap water has a strong taste or odor, indicating added chemicals or other contaminants, it’s best to use bottled or purified water—but not distilled water.

STEP 2: Add the sugar

Once you have your hot water, it’s time to add sugar. Use regular refined white sugar, not honey, artificial sweeteners, brown sugar, or other sugar products, all of which can be difficult for hummingbirds to digest. The correct ratio of sugar to water is 1:4, or ¼ cup of sugar to 1 cup of hot water.

STEP 3: Fill the feeder and choose the best location

Use a funnel, if you need one, to pour the nectar into your hummingbird feeder. It’s best to do the pouring over the sink to catch any sugary drips. Wipe away any solution from the outside of the feeder before hanging it outdoors.

STEP 4: Store extra hummingbird food

It’s convenient to mix up a big batch of hummingbird nectar and store the extra in your refrigerator to use as needed. You can store hummingbird food for up to two weeks in the fridge, but if the nectar turns cloudy, develops a sour or off odor, or has obvious spots of mold, it needs to be tossed.

STEP 5: Clean the feeders regularly

It’s a good idea to fill your hummingbird feeders with only as much food as the birds are likely to consume in a day or so, as the nectar quickly spoils and can even ferment when it’s warm.

Recipe for the Best Hummingbird Nectar

Directions & Tips Dissolve the sugar in the water. No red food coloring! Unused mixture can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Tips for Feeding Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds do not live on sugar water and nectar alone. They eat insects and tiny spiders to supply protein and also feed on tree sap (see this great video ). We assumed that supplying fresh spiders for your hummer population might not exactly be your idea of a good time and only included our top tips for hummingbird feeders below.


Note: Please do not substitute honey, which can promote dangerous fungal growth, or use red food coloring, which is not necessary and could also prove harmful to birds.

Birds Tell Us to Act on Climate

Pledge to stand with Audubon to call on elected officials to listen to science and work towards climate solutions.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9