If you are into bird watching, you will definitely want to feed them to get a view that is up close and personal. Once you do that, you will be amazed at all of the different varieties you will attract. Besides songbirds and woodpeckers, it is also a lot of fun to watch hummingbirds. They are so small and their wings flap averagely about 53 beats per second. This uses a lot of energy that requires the hummingbirds to need lots of food for fuel. Luckily, it is super easy to make your own hummingbird nectar to keep these little birds strong and healthy.
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I used to buy commercial hummingbird nectar because I thought this was the best food source for the birds. After all, it contained vitamins which surely they must need? After doing some research, it turns out they that really don’t need vitamins added to their nectar for nutrition. They get their vitamins from the third of their diet that consists of small insects and spiders. The nectar that they need is purely for energy to fly and capture the insects. In nature, hummingbirds get nectar from flowers which is actually about the same as a simple sugar solution. So now I say, goodbye expensive commercial nectar and hello DIY hummingbird nectar!
RELATED: DIY Bird Feeders
How To Make Hummingbird Nectar
- 1 part white sugar
- 4 parts boiling water
I use 1/2 cup sugar and 2 cups of water to make a batch for my feeder without any leftovers. It’s easy enough to make that I’ll just make another batch when it is time to refill.
You may be wondering why there isn’t any red dye in this recipe to attract the hummingbirds. Although, commercial hummingbird nectar contains red dye, it’s not needed if you use a red glass feeder. And actually, anything that is red near the feeder will also work to attract the hummingbirds. If you’ve ever had a hummingbird come buzzing up to you, when you’re wearing a red shirt, you’ll know what I mean!
Step One: Boil The Water
I like to boil the water, or at least heat to steaming, to help the sugar to dissolve quickly. Hot tap water will probably work just as good. I use a teapot so it is easier to poor into the feeder when the solution is mixed.
Step Two: Mix In The Sugar
Once the water is steaming, pour in the sugar and let it dissolve. Let cool before transferring the solution into your feeder.
Step Three: Repeat And Refill
Change out the solution about once a week or as needed before that to keep it from getting moldy. If you notice that the hummingbirds aren’t sticking around to drink the water, you probably need to change it and clean the feeder.
There are several reasons that I am happy that I can make my own hummingbird nectar. First of all, my commercial nectar powder didn’t make it through the winter season being stored. It was as hard as a rock! Besides that, I needed a use for my white sugar. Since hummingbirds thrive on a white sugar solution, and I don’t, the homemade nectar was a good way to use up some of my sugar supply. If only I had the metabolism of those little hummingbirds! And finally, it is way cheaper to use sugar than a commercial mix for making a nutritious nectar. A win win win.
If you have a problem with your hummingbird feeder attracting ants, you can get an moats to keep them away!