How to Make Homemade Hummingbird Food – Nectar Recipe
If you want to attract hummingbirds to your yard this summer, then you’ll need to provide them not only with a garden full of attractive flowers but also feeders full of this hummingbird food recipe, also known as nectar.
Every year I set out to make my garden one that will attract not only butterflies and birds but also hummingbirds.
Why you might ask? Because these three beauties are drawn to basically the same plants and foodstuff—which means for gardeners—more bang for your buck, so to speak.
That being said, hummingbirds need or want something more besides the beautiful nectar-rich flowers. They also crave hummingbird food that is simply water and sugar.
Fast Easy Hummingbird Nectar Recipe – Robbie & Gary Gardening Easy
As mentioned in the video, it’s best if you boil the water before mixing with sugar. This will not only help the sugar melt, but it’s also a great base then to add your cool tap water.
Hummingbird Food Ratio – The ratio for hummingbird nectar is 1:4: meaning one cup of sugar to four cups of water.
In addition, be sure to clean your hummingbird feeders before refilling. This will ensure that no bacteria will contaminate the new liquid.
And, to encourage friendly eating habits, hang your feeders with enough distance to keep the “bullies” at bay. Hummingbirds are aggressive eaters and some of them are more voracious than others.
Best practice is to allow at least five feet off the ground and 10 feet minimally between feeders. Think about placing these feeders close to cover, too, to help hummingbirds avoid predators.
Other Food Sources for Hummingbirds
You don’t have to limit yourself to just nectar water when feeding your hummingbirds. You can also attract them with fresh fruit.
Try hanging an open plate feeder with fresh bananas, cut peaches, plums etc. This will not only attract hummingbirds but fruit flies, which are a treat and a great source of protein for hummingbirds of all ages.
Tips to Create a Hummingbird- Friendly Yard
As mentioned above, besides providing sugar nectar for the feeders you can also provide needed plants to balance out the hummingbirds diet.
Here are just a few tips to plan the best hummingbird-friendly garden:
Nectar plants. Plant nectar-rich plants like Beebalm, Honeysuckle, Trumpet vine, Cardinal flower, Common Sage, Lupine, Columbine, Morning Glories, and Rhododendron, just to name a few.
Think native. Remember that planting native plants is better than hybrid ones, simply because this is what your local hummingbirds are naturally attracted to.
Group your plants. Grouping your plants together in sections of your garden plot will not only be pleasing esthetically but also great for hummingbirds. I usually like to plant in odd lots, meaning in 3’s, 5’s or 9’s.
Avoid chemicals. Herbicides and pesticides are a no-no for promoting a healthy hummingbird garden. Try to use good organic practices whenever possible and avoid chemical applications, as these can be detrimental to the hummingbird population.
Provide perches. Hummingbirds don’t rest often, but when they do, they need a place to make their nests and take a snooze for a little bit. Planting shrubs and trees that offer cover from other prey and protection from weather, will go a long way to promoting a healthy habitat for hummingbirds of all ages. Some favorite trees and shrubs that are best for hummingbirds are oak, birch, poplar and hornbeam.
Water. Even though you might provide a feeder filled with sugar nectar, hummingbirds still need a source for fresh water. Believe it or not these birds love their baths and refreshing themselves with clean water. If you can, opt for a fountain that gently dribbles water out for instant hummingbird satisfaction.
Best Outdoor Feeders for Hummingbirds
Here are just a couple of hummingbird feeders to consider for your outdoor garden:
Interesting Hummingbird FAQ’s
Q: What about feeding hummingbirds in winter?
A: Remember that hummingbirds are migratory birds, so you’ll only need to feed them from late spring to fall if you live in Wisconsin. Other climes like California and Arizona host hummingbirds during the winter.
Q: Are there certain hummingbird feeding times?
A: Hummingbirds eat all day long. They eat half of their body weight with a mix of nectar and bugs just to keep alive.
Q: Is it okay feeding hummingbirds by hand?
A: It’s possible to feed a hummingbird by hand. You just have to be patient. Check out these 5 Steps to Feeding Hummingbirds by Hand.
Q: Do hummingbirds die when they stop flying?
A: This is just a myth. In fact, hummingbirds do rest at night (sometimes upside down), which is called Torpor. Basically, their heart and body temperatures drop very low to conserve energy. When they wake up, it’s like they’ve been hibernating. Then, it’s up-and-at-em for them to find more sources of insects and nectar.
Q: How often should you change hummingbird food in summer?
A: When the weather is cooler, you should change the nectar every couple of days, but once the temps start climbing into the 70’s+ every day or when the feeder becomes empty, whichever comes sooner.
Q: What is the best sugar for hummingbirds?
A: Granulated sugar (castor sugar).
Q: Can a hummingbird hurt you?
A: The answer is: Yes! Besides being territorial, hummingbirds can get aggressive, as mentioned above. They do this to ensure getting the best food source to keep their metabolism going. Even so, humans are many times larger than hummingbirds, so most likely they’ll stay far away from you if you respect them.
Q: What to do if sugar water gets moldy?
A: Should you find mold anywhere on or in the hummingbird feeder container, you’ll need to wash it thoroughly with hot water and dish detergent. You can also use a 1:10 ratio (bleach to water) solution to follow as a rinse and rinse it once again with cool tap water. Then, you’re good to go.
Q: Is red hummingbird food bad for them?
A: Red dye #40 has not been proven to be bad for hummingbirds. However, the real question is should you add any dye to your hummingbird food? The answer is: No. In reality, nectar found in plants is colorless, and besides, hummingbirds have a great sense of smell when it comes to knowing where nectar is, so all you have to do is provide fresh, clean nectar sans coloring.
Q: What are hummingbirds afraid of?
A: Bees, wasps and ants might ward off hummingbirds, but hummingbirds are fairly aggressive themselves, so really, they’re not afraid of much.
Q: Why do hummingbirds stop coming to feeders?
A: The real culprits for why hummingbirds fail to come to your feeder are possibly changing or unhealthy habitats, seasonal anomalies and spoiled food sources (think dirty hummingbird feeders). These can and do contribute to hummingbird decline in certain areas.
Q: What insects do hummingbirds eat?
A: Insects are not only a great source of energy for hummingbirds besides nectar, but also keep their muscles and other internal organs working at their peak. In fact, these frenetic flyers need to eat insects like ants, beetles, mosquitoes, spiders and wasps (and more) on a daily basis.
Hope this information gets you inspired to host your very own hummingbirds this summer. Enjoy!
For more information on gardening for a variety birds, butterflies and hummingbirds, be sure to check out Wisconsin Homemaker’s Garden Section.
Homemade Hummingbird Nectar – Sugar Water Recipe
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 cups water
- In a sauce pan, heat the water and sugar until the sugar has completely dissolved. Allow to cool before placing simple sugar liquid into clean hummingbird feeder.