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How To Feed Hummingbirds: Easy Hummingbird Food Recipe

Updated on August 7, 2013

All About Hummingbird Food/ Feeders And Feeder Maintainence

Feeding hummingbirds is fun and simple to do. Once the hummingbirds find your feeders their aerial antics will provide hours of enjoyment.

In this article, you will find collection of information, tips and tricks for attracting and feeding hummingbirds. Buying commercial hummingbird nectar can be expensive, save money by making your hummingbird nectar using the easy Hummingbird food recipe below.

You should be warned before you proceed feeding and watching hummingbirds is a very addicting activity. You may soon find every available space in your garden taken up by a hummingbird feeders and your refrigerator full of Hummingbird Food.

Image Courtesy Of:
Ben Wilson / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Hummingbird Facts - 7 Easy Tips to Make Hummingbird Feeding Fun and Easy

Hummingbird at the feeder
Hummingbird at the feeder

Image Courtesy Of: likeaduck on Flickr

  1. Put your Hummingbird food out early. Check the books for the average arrival dates for hummingbirds in your area. By placing your feeders out 5 to 10 days in advance, the early arrivals will be more likely to find your feeders and take up residence in your garden.
  2. Avoid territorial disputes. In the eastern United States, where the hummingbird population is less dense, hummingbirds can be very territorial, so place your Hummingbird food in such a way that one bully can't guard all of the feeders. (This is not so critical in the western part of the U.S., where the sheer numbers of hummingbirds prevent one dominant bird from driving all of the others away.)
  3. Keep your hummingbird nectar fresh. The hummingbird food will need to be replaced every 3 to 5 days, or more often in warm weather. Check daily and if the nectar begins to look cloudy replace it. A cloudy appearance means that the nectar is beginning to ferment and may become toxic to your hummingbirds.
  4. Keep it clean. Hummingbirds are sticklers for good housekeeping, so keep your feeders clean or they won't use them. It is a good idea to give your hummingbird feeders a good washing every time you take them down to add more food. A simple wash in warm mildly soapy water and a good rinse will be fine.
  5. Avoid red food coloring. While no conclusive studies have taken place, preliminary test indicate that the red dye in food coloring may be harmful to hummingbirds. I encourage you to err on the side of caution. Choosing feeders with red incorporated in the design will attract hummingbirds and eliminate the need add artificial coloring to the Hummingbird's food.
  6. Plant flowers and shrubs hummingbirds love. When given a choice hummingbird prefer flower nectar over all substitutes. Plant some flowers that hummingbirds find attractive, to help insure that they maintain residence in your garden and continue to visit your feeders.
  7. Leave your feeder up late. You will notice a decrease in visits to your feeder as the hummingbirds begin their winter migration. Leaving your feeders up for an extra week or two, can help provide a much need energy boost for any hummingbirds passing through on the way to their wintering grounds.

Hummingbird Feeder Cleaning Kit

Having the right tools at hand will save you time, energy, and frustration. This inexpensive contains 3 brushes specially designed to let you quickly and easily clean your Hummingbird feeder's bottle, tubes and nectar nozzles.

Hummingbird Nectar Recipe - Super Simple

Note the clear nectar
Note the clear nectar

Image Courtesy Of: Mr. T in DC, on Flickr

There are many package nectar mixes available on the market today, but hummingbird nectar is very simple and inexpensive to make yourself. The nectar is simply a sugar solution consisting of 4 parts water and 1 part sugar.

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 4 Cups Water

Instructions

  1. 1. On the stove bring 4 cups of water to a gentle boil.
  2. 2. Add 1 cup of sugar stirring until dissolved.
  3. 3 Remove Mixture from heat and allow to cool completely
  4. After your hummingbird nectar is cooled, it is ready for the feeder. Any unused nectar can be stored in the refrigerator for several weeks
Cast your vote for Make Your Own Nectar For Hummingbirds

Hummingbird Nectar From Concentrate - For Those Who Can't Boil Water

Ok, if you're someone that finds boiling water a challenge hummingbird nectar concentrate is an option. If I were to go the concentrate route for hummingbird nectar this would be my choice. I like the fact that it contains no artificial food coloring.

Before choosing to go with nectar concentrate, you may wish to consider the number of hummingbirds you are likely to be feeding. A member of my family has a cabin in Northern Arizona, where an astounding number of hummingbirds visit their feeders consuming 2+ gallons of nectar per day. That would be more than 4 bottles of nectar concentrate per day, I will leave the cost benefit analysis to you.


First Nature 3052 Clear Hummingbird Nectar, 16-ounce Concentrate
First Nature 3052 Clear Hummingbird Nectar, 16-ounce Concentrate

A 16oz. bottle of concentrate makes a 1/2 gallon of nectarEasy To UseNo need to boil waterContains no artificial dyes

 

Afraid Your Feeder Doesn't have Enough Red To Attract The Hummingbirds?

Try tying some red ribbon around your feeder, to make it more attractive. You may also try wrapping the clear reservoir with red lens repair tape, such as you would find at an auto parts store. I have found this works very well.

Best Glass Hummingbird Feeders

When choosing a hummingbird feeder I prefer glass over plastic or polycarbonate. To me glass feeders just look better, feel better, and are more durable. This is purely a personal preference, as the hummingbirds can't tell the difference.


A Good Hummingbird Feeder Should:

  • Be easy to put up and take down.
  • Be easy to clean
  • Have plenty of red incorporated into the design. (This eliminates the perceived need to add red food coloring to your hummingbird nectar.)
Below you can see some of my favorite hummingbird feeders


Audubon Red Glass Mini Lantern Hummingbird Feeder Model NAH6
Audubon Red Glass Mini Lantern Hummingbird Feeder Model NAH6

This ruby red glass hummingbird feeder is simple, elegant, and easy to maintain

 
Aspects 381 Hummzinger Fancy Hummingbird Feeder - Rose
Aspects 381 Hummzinger Fancy Hummingbird Feeder - Rose

Hummingbird feeder is made of a durable polycarbonate instead of glass, but it is still a good feeder and very popular.

 

Prevent Unwanted Guests From Visiting Your Feeder

An Ant Moat offers a simple and effective method of preventing unwanted visitors like ants from visiting and fouling your hummingbird feeder.

Make Your Own Hummingbird Feeder

These simple inexpensive hummingbird feeding tubes allow you to turn just about any container into a hummingbird feeder. Simply plug the stopper into any container and decorate to suit your own style. Make a dozen feeders for the price of one.

Hummingbird Feeder Tubes For Making Your Own Feeders (Pkg of 12)
Hummingbird Feeder Tubes For Making Your Own Feeders (Pkg of 12)

Make a hummingbird feeder out of any container.Great craft project to do with the kids.Inexpensive alternative to commercial hummingbird feeders.Green recycle or up-cycle your used containers.

 

Hand Feeding Hummingbirds

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Love Hummingbirds? - Leave a comment here

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    • alex89 lm profile image

      alex89 lm 5 years ago

      I love hummingbirds! they are so pretty! Great lens by the way, i didn't know that red attracted them.

    • Morgannafay profile image

      Morgannafay 5 years ago

      I need to tell my mother in law this stuff, because we have put out humming bird feed many times and never got a single one come into feed. Same thing happened to me when I lived in maryland.

      Really great information here and I loved the video with the people hand feeding the humming birds! <3

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 5 years ago from Canada

      My father once rescued a hummingbird who had somehow pierced a bee onto it's beak. My father removed the bee and away the hummingbird flew. I guess he managed to stumble onto this little fellow just in time to save him from dehydrating.

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 5 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      Living in the UK, I can't feed humming birds but I still enjoyed reading about it and I feel quite envious. Never mind, I still love feeding our wild birds.

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 5 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      Living in the UK, I can't feed humming birds but I still enjoyed reading about it and I feel quite envious. Never mind, I still love feeding our wild birds.

    • KathyMcGraw2 profile image

      Kathy McGraw 5 years ago from California

      I had no idea a hummingbird was territorial. Loved the information here, and I do need a new feeder :)

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 5 years ago

      Nice lens.