recipe for hummingbird food

Hello there, bird lovers! Are you looking for a delightful way to attract hummingbirds to your garden? Look no further than making your own hummingbird food! Not only is it an easy and affordable way to keep these gorgeous creatures around, but it also allows you to control the ingredients and avoid any harmful additives that may be found in store-bought options. In this article, we’ll share our easy recipe for making delicious hummingbird food that your feathered friends will surely love!

recipe for hummingbird food

Before we dive into the recipe, it’s important to note that hummingbirds need a diet that’s high in sugar. These tiny birds have a quick metabolism and need to constantly refuel with nectar. While there are many commercial hummingbird food options available, they often contain red dyes or preservatives that can be harmful to these delicate creatures. By making your own hummingbird food, you can ensure that your backyard visitors are getting the best possible nourishment.

The Recipe for Hummingbird Food


Hummingbirds are fascinating creatures, with their iridescent plumage and fluttering wings. These tiny birds are not only a delight to watch, but they also play a crucial role in pollinating plants. One way to attract them to your garden is by providing them with a steady supply of nectar. Buying commercial blends may seem like the convenient choice, but making your own hummingbird food is not only easy but also cheaper. Additionally, it ensures that the nectar is free of preservatives and additives, which are not good for the birds.


To make hummingbird food, you will need only two ingredients – sugar and water. It is essential to use granulated white sugar as it closely mimics the nectar found in flowers. Avoid using honey or brown sugar as they can contain bacteria that are harmful to the birds. Similarly, artificial sweeteners or additional additives can be toxic to hummingbirds. It’s essential that you provide the nectar in a plain form.


Here’s a step-by-step guide that will help you make the perfect hummingbird food:

– First, mix one-part white granulated sugar with four parts of water in a pot on the stovetop. For instance, one cup of sugar requires four cups of water.
– Place the pot on the stovetop and heat the mixture until it comes to a boil. Stir occasionally to ensure that all the sugar is dissolved.
– Boil the mixture for one to two minutes and then remove it from the heat.
– Allow the nectar to cool down to room temperature before pouring it into the feeder. Do not use hot water to fill the feeder as it can damage the delicate beaks of the birds.
– Any excess nectar can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.

It is crucial to remember that you do not need to add food coloring to attract hummingbirds. In fact, it is not good for their health, and they are naturally attracted to the color red. You can use a red feeder or hang a red ribbon on the feeder to catch their attention.

In conclusion, making hummingbird food is simple and easy, and it ensures that the nectar is free of harmful additives. By providing a constant supply of fresh nectar, you can attract these delightful creatures to your garden and observe their beauty up close. With this recipe, you can make hummingbird food that is nutritious and, most importantly, safe for these precious birds.

Benefits of Making Your Own Hummingbird Food

Attracting hummingbirds to your garden can be a rewarding experience. These small and fascinating birds add life to any outdoor space with their vivid colors and zippy movements. One of the most important aspects of caring for hummingbirds is providing them with the nectar they need to survive. While you can find commercial hummingbird food in stores, making your own food has several benefits.


One of the key advantages of making your own hummingbird food is that it is more cost-effective than purchasing commercial blends. The ingredients required for homemade nectar are easily available and inexpensive. You only need to mix sugar and water in the right proportions to make a delicious treat for your feathered friends. On the other hand, commercial nectar blends can be quite expensive, and if you have a larger hummingbird population, it can become difficult to keep up with the demand. By making your own hummingbird food, you can save money while providing your hummingbirds with a tasty and nutritious treat.

Healthier for Hummingbirds

Another significant benefit of making your own hummingbird food is that it is healthier for hummingbirds compared to commercial blends. Many commercial nectar blends contain preservatives and food coloring that can be harmful to hummingbirds. These additives can not only disrupt their digestive system, but can also lead to other health issues. Homemade nectar, on the other hand, provides natural nutrition that supports their health and energy. By making your own hummingbird food, you can ensure that your feeder visitors are receiving the best possible care.

Environmentally Friendly

Making your own hummingbird food is also environmentally friendly. Commercial nectar blends often come in single-use plastic containers that can add up to a lot of waste over time. By making your own nectar, you can reduce your carbon footprint by eliminating the need for plastic containers. In addition to helping the environment, this can also be a point of pride for you as a conscientious gardener.

By considering the benefits of making your own hummingbird food, you can rest assured that you are providing the best possible care for these delightful birds. With a little time and effort, you can make homemade nectar that hummingbirds will love without breaking the bank.

FAQs About Hummingbird Food

How Often Should I Change My Hummingbird Feeder?

Hummingbird feeders should be cleaned and refilled with fresh nectar every 2-3 days in hot weather and every 5-7 days in cooler weather. It is important to change the feeder and nectar regularly to prevent spoilage and contamination. When the temperature rises, be sure to check the nectar daily to ensure freshness and a clean feeder.

When changing the feeder and the nectar, it is important to wash the feeder with hot, soapy water and rinse thoroughly. Any leftover nectar should be discarded, and the feeder should be completely dry before refilling with fresh nectar.

Can I Use Brown Sugar Instead of White Sugar?

While brown sugar may seem like a healthier alternative, it is not recommended to be used in hummingbird food. Hummingbirds need a pure, refined sugar solution to extract the energy they need. Brown sugar contains impurities that can cause bacterial growth, and the molasses content can ruin the taste of the nectar.

White granulated sugar is the best option for hummingbird food. It dissolves easily in water and provides the necessary calories for the birds. Avoid using powdered sugar, honey, or artificial sweeteners, as they can harm the hummingbirds or promote bacterial growth.

What if I See Bees at My Hummingbird Feeder?

Bees and other insects are naturally attracted to the sweetness of hummingbird nectar. While it can be frustrating to see them swarming around the feeder, it is important to keep in mind the harm that can come to them from insecticides and traps.

To deter bees, try moving the feeder to a different location or using a bee guard attachment to the feeder. Additionally, you can offer bees a separate food source away from the hummingbird feeder to draw them away. Avoid using any insecticides near the feeder, as this can harm the hummingbirds as well.

In conclusion, it is important to change the hummingbird feeder and nectar regularly, use pure white granulated sugar as the sweetener, and find non-harmful solutions to insect problems. By following these steps, you can ensure the health and well-being of these delightful little birds and enjoy their beauty in your garden!

Sweeten Up Your Garden with Homemade Hummingbird Food!

Thank you for taking the time to read about how to make delicious hummingbird food! We hope you found this article informative and inspiring to create your very own homemade nectar. Watching these little birds fly and dart around your garden is an absolute delight, and providing them with a nutritious source of food is just as fulfilling.

Remember to keep your feeder clean and filled with fresh nectar to keep your feathered friends coming back. And don’t forget to share your pictures with us on social media! We love seeing your hummingbird visitors and hearing your success stories. Come back to our website often for more gardening and birding tips and tricks. Happy hummingbird watching!


1. Is it safe to use honey or other sweeteners in hummingbird nectar?

It is not recommended to use honey or any other sweeteners in hummingbird nectar because they can promote bacterial and fungal growth that can be harmful to birds.

2. What is the best ratio of sugar to water in hummingbird nectar?

The best ratio of sugar to water is 1:4, which means using one part sugar and four parts water. This provides the right amount of sweetness and energy for hummingbirds without harming their health.

3. Why is it important to use granulated white sugar instead of other types of sugar?

Granulated white sugar dissolves easily in water and is the closest to the nectar that hummingbirds naturally consume from flowers. Other types of sugar, such as brown sugar or powdered sugar, can contain additives or clump together, which can harm the birds.

4. How often should I change the nectar in my hummingbird feeder?

Hummingbird nectar should be changed and feeder thoroughly cleaned every 2-3 days in hot weather or every week in cooler weather to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and mold.

5. What type of feeder should I use for hummingbirds?

Hummingbirds prefer feeders with bright colors, such as red or orange, and that have multiple feeding ports. The feeder should also be easy to disassemble and clean.

6. Can I add food coloring to my hummingbird nectar?

It is not recommended to add food coloring to hummingbird nectar as it can be harmful to the birds. The bright color of the feeder is enough to attract them.

7. What are some plants that attract hummingbirds?

Some plants that attract hummingbirds include bee balm, cardinal flower, trumpet vine, and salvia.

8. Should I stop feeding hummingbirds during migration?

It is recommended to continue feeding hummingbirds during migration since they need to build up energy reserves for their long journey. However, it is important to maintain a clean feeding station to prevent the spread of diseases.

9. How do I clean my hummingbird feeder?

To clean your hummingbird feeder, disassemble it and wash it with hot, soapy water. Use a bottle brush or other cleaning supplies to remove any buildup of nectar or mold. Rinse thoroughly and allow it to air dry before refilling.

10. Can other birds drink from the hummingbird feeder?

Other birds may drink from the hummingbird feeder, but it is designed specifically for their small size and feeding habits. Larger birds or animals can damage the feeder or harm the hummingbirds.

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About the Author: David Dunlap

Worked in restaurants for years before turning to food writing and has won multiple awards for the work, including more than a dozen awards.

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