This versatile hummingbird food and nectar recipe will have your sweet little friends squeaking their thanks all year long!
Don't feed your hummingbirds that nasty red dyed hummingbird food ever again!
Although there is no evidence to suggest red dye or food coloring in hummingbird nectar is harmful to sweet babies, in my opinion, it's a waste of money when it's so easy to make at home.
Especially when I guarantee you have all the ingredients for this hummingbird food recipe in your pantry at this very moment.
How to Make Hummingbird Nectar
Here is how to make hummingbird food in just a few quick steps:
- Pure white cane sugar: Pure white cane sugar is the most important ingredient when making homemade hummingbird food. Organic cane sugar, "raw" cane sugar, brown sugar, honey, agave syrup, artificial sweeteners or any unrefined sugars that are brown in color should NOT be used in homemade hummingbird nectar. Other sugars may be loaded w/ iron or are a rookery for germs and bacteria, all of which can be detrimental to hummingbirds. Pure white cane sugar is what works best! The only other substitute that may be ok is beet sugar, but I've never tried it, so I can't vouch for how well it works.
- 3-4 cups of water: I've never used anything other than water straight from the tap, and my hummingbirds come back year after year, but any filtered water, spring water, or unchlorinated water will do just fine! As for the amount, the consensus says to use 3 cups of water during the winter months, and 4 cups of water during the spring and summer (and sometimes up to 5 or 6), but the ratio really all depends on your hummingbirds. The standard ratio for a hummingbird nectar recipe is 4:1, but 3:1 works great although it may spoil a bit quicker. On hot summer days, you can even try a 5:1 or 6:1 ratio. Play around with the ratio and see what works best for your babies!
- DON'T USE RED DYE! There is no need to use any red food dyes in your homemade hummingbird nectar! The brightly colored glass and flowers on your hummingbird feeder will work to attract the hummingbirds much better than the harmful dye ever will.
- Bring the sugar and water to a simmer, stir until the sugar is dissolved, remove from the heat, allow to cool to room temperature.
- Fill your feeders w/ your hummingbird nectar (using a small funnel b/c it's so much easier) and watch as your little birdies chirp and zip about in a fit of happiness and thanksgiving.
Homemade Hummingbird Food Tips
Here are some tips to keep your hummingbirds coming back year after year!
- Change the hummingbird nectar a minimum of once per week, but twice a week, or every 4 or 5 days, is best. But, take it from me, your hummingbirds will let you know when it needs to be changed! My little guys flit and flicker and zip and zoom around my head, chittering and chattering when they want their nectar changed. I even had one bonk me on the head last year because I didn't have a feeder for them in my backyard!
- When changing the hummingbird nectar, make sure to dump out the full contents of the feeder and give it a good rinsing with very hot water before refilling. Don't just add nectar to what's already in there. That's just nasty.
- This hummingbird nectar recipe is great because you can make one big batch and store it in a glass jar, or another air-tight container, for up to two weeks. It makes enough to fill up two large hummingbird feeders halfway (or several smaller ones) and change them out over the course of two weeks.
Hummingbird Food Feeders
All of my hummingbird feeders are glass. I find the plastic ones are easier to mold and harder to clean. Plus, glass hummingbird feeders are prettier and attract more birds!
To catch the early birds, hummingbird feeders should be put out Mid-March.
Bring hummingbird feeders back in sometime between October 1st and Thanksgiving, but if you live in a warmer climate (like I do here in South Carolina) you can even keep them out year-round. Just make sure to keep the hummingbird nectar recipe from freezing.
Cleaning hummingbird feeders is super simple! Give them a bath for an hour or so in a simple solution of 1 part white vinegar to 2 parts water. Then use a curved bottle brush or pipe cleaners to give them a good scrub down before allowing them to dry completely. See! Easy peasy!
How do you attract hummingbirds to your yard?
The best way to attract hummingbirds to your yard is to:
- Put out a hummingbird feeder filled with fresh, homemade hummingbird nectar.
- Display the color red (without using food coloring) as much as possible by using a red hummingbird feeder, placing red flower or plants around your feeder, or even tying red ribbon close to or around your feeder as well.
- Plant or hang native, colorful, and tubular plants close to your feeder.
Hummingbird Food and Nectar Recipe
How to Make Hummingbird Nectar:
- Combine sugar and water in a pot over medium heat on the stove.
- Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently, until the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Allow the hummingbird nectar to cool to room temperature.
- Using the funnel, fill your feeders halfway full then hang outside for your flittering babies to enjoy!
- Store extra hummingbird nectar in a glass jar, or another air tight container, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.