Hummingbird Nectar is so simple to make at home, much less expensive than commercial mixes, and it contains none of the food coloring or supplements that aren’t needed by (and can even be harmful to) the birds.
As part of our home renovations last year, we cleared thirty-nine trees, most of which were loblolly pines that were close to the house and in danger of falling onto the house. After we removed the trees, we started to clear understory to have a better view into the woods surrounding the house, too.
Then, it was a natural progression to start feeding the birds. We have to be very careful about our bird feeding, since we are very close to the boundaries of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, thus…close to bears.
In the fall and over the winter, we had wild turkey, doves, titmouse, wrens, a variety of finches, cardinals, nuthatch, blue jays, three different varieties of woodpecker, and various other critters. When spring arrived, I decided I would get a hummingbird feeder.
I researched different foods and decided to make my own. When I started asking friends who attract hummingbirds what they fed, I got a unanimous response of commercial feeds. When I said I was making my own, everyone asked how to make it. And since it’s so darned simple, I promised I’d post the recipe.
First of all, coloring is bad for hummingbirds, very bad. While hummingbirds are attracted to red, it is the color of the flower that attracts them! The nectar found is flowers isn’t colored. So don’t add food coloring! Yes, hummingbirds are attracted to red, just have some red on your feeder and they will find it. My feeder is copper and glass, but the flowers on the feeder are red metal.
Also, it’s important to change the nectar often. I’ve included in the recipe a chart for how often to change the nectar, but even using that chart, if you notice the nectar getting cloudy, or dark spots forming in it, change the nectar and thoroughly wash the feeder (something you need to do each time you change the nectar). Any fermentation or mold will be harmful to the birds.
Here is the recipe…now, make your own, too! The hummingbirds and your pocketbook will thank you.
- 1 cup water
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- In a small saucepan, over medium heat, add the water and sugar.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and allow to boil for 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
- Add to your hummingbird feeder.
- It is best to replace the nectar and clean the feeder often. Weather will impact the need to change the nectar. See the notes for a handy nectar-change chart.
71 - 75° change every 6 days
76 - 80° change every 5 days
81 - 84° change every 4 days
85 - 88° change every 3 days
89 - 92° change every 2 days
93°+ change daily