Hummingbird Food Recipe

Hummingbird at feeder - photo copyright Steve Byland -

How to Make Hummingbird "Nectar"

It's very easy to make hummingbird food (also known as nectar) at home. All it is is sugar and water. Do not add red food coloring - it's not necessary and it could be harmful to the hummers. Do not use any sugar substitutes such as artificial sweeteners, or honey, or brown sugar, or syrup. Just use regular pure cane granulated sugar (the basic stuff used for baking).

1. Boil 4 cups of water on your stove top

2. Stir in 1 cup of sugar as the water is heating up

3. Boil the mixture for about 2 minutes in order to boil away any chlorine in the water and kill any impurities in the sugar. Try not to boil the mix longer than a few minutes, or you'll end up with the wrong sugar to water ratio.

4. Let the mix cool before filling your hummingbird feeders.


Making Larger or Smaller Batches of Hummingbird Food

The ratio for hummingbird food is one part sugar to four parts water. You can make as much or as little as you want as long as you keep this ratio in mind. For example, 1/4 cup of sugar in 1 cup of water, or 2 cups of sugar in 8 cups of water.

Nectar formula 1 part sugar 4 parts water


How Long Does Hummingbird Food Keep?

Outside, in the feeder, hummingbird food should keep for about a week during cool weather. Once it gets up into the 80s, you should change it a couple times a week and if you live where the temperatures are up in the 90s or above, you'll probably need to change it every two days or even daily. Check on your feeders every day. If they water is starting to look cloudy or there are any signs of mold starting grow, clean the feeder and refill it with fresh food.

Extra hummingbird food kept in the refrigeration will keep for about two weeks. If it looks cloudy or moldy, throw it out and make a fresh batch.

Hummingbird Feeders

Hummingbird feeders are available during the summertime at most discount department stores or they can be ordered online.

We provide some tips on selecting the best feeder and links to a few of our favorite models.

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Hummingbird Gardens

Hummingbirds love sugar water feeders, but it's also nice to provide natural nectar sources for them. You can plant flowers in your garden or on your porch or patio that will be both pretty for you to look at and beneficial to the hummingbirds.

Learn what plants attract and provide nectar for hummingbirds.

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