i love hummingbirds! ..they’re beautiful, fun to watch, and even friendly once they get to know you..
..and best of all they don’t leave a huge birdseed mess all over the ground, attracting, slugs, rodents and weeds.
in nature, hummingbirds eat flower nectar for energy and bugs for protein, flower nectar is 21% to 23% sucrose.
making your own organic hummingbird nectar will cost you pennies using just one ingredient from your pantry.
first, you’ll want to choose a feeder. the most important feature when selecting a feeder is, make sure it’s easily taken apart for cleaning, it’s extremely important to keep your feeder clean.
i suggest a glass feeder vs plastic, you can easily sterilize your glass feeder with boiling hot water and a feeder cleaning mop that slips into the feeder to wash the sides and bottom. a glass feeder will also last longer over time.
another key feature is the color red, hummingbirds are attracted to the color red, so choose a feeder that has red glass and/or red flowers. you can find a nice quality feeder at your local nurseries, walmart, home depot, and lowes for under $20.
- 4 cups water [4:1 ratio]
- 1 cup organic white table sugar
- Bring 4 1/4 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan, why the extra 1/4 cup, this will compensate for any evaporation while boiling.
- Remove from heat and pour boiled water into a glass measuring cup up to the 4 cup line. [the measuring cup makes it simple to pour into your feeder too..]
- Gently stir in 1 cup organic white table sugar, keep stirring until the water is clear and the sugar is completely dissolved, let cool.
- Once your nectar is cool, simply pour it into your clean feeder, and store any remaining nectar in a mason jar in the fridge, the nectar will store for up to two weeks in the refrigerator, but you will likely use it up before then.
- DO NOT USE: raw sugar, agave syrup, honey, molasses, brown sugar, artificial sugar substitutes, gelatin, jello, and do not add red food coloring!
- You can make a smaller batch, just use a 4:1 ratio, i.e. 1/2 cup sugar, 2 cups water.
homemade nectar is the best!
keeping it clean.
mold, bacteria and fermentation can happen in your feeder, so it’s extremely important to clean it often, even if the hummingbirds haven’t emptied it. a hummingbird would rather starve then consume spoiled nectar, and will likely find another source of nectar all together.
in cooler temperatures you can clean, sterilize and replace your nectar once a week, but as we get into higher temperatures, you must clean your feeder more often, below is a guideline..
- 93° +
- every 6 days
- every 5 days
- every 4 days
- every 3 days
- every 2 days
- change daily
if you notice that your feeder looks cloudy, or has black spots inside, or the ants have found their way into your feeder, clean and change your nectar immediately.
speaking of ants, i hang my feeder from a tree, some hang theirs for a shepards hook, no matter where you hang your feeder, the ants can and will find it eventually.
TIP. apply vaseline to the chain, rope, or wire to keep the ants from making their way to the feeder.
it’s best to place your feeder in a shady place, away from predators, like cats! a shady place will keep your feeder from the heat and therefore having to clean and replace nectar daily, plus if the nectar is hot, hummingbirds won’t drink it, when was the last time you were thirsty and reached for a cup of hot water… bleck!
place your feeder where you can view it from a window, i mean that is part of the reason why your feeding them is to enjoy watching them.
hummingbirds are very territorial, in fact my hummingbird last season [we called him Henry] ruled the roost, he would sit in a branch about 2-3′ from the feeder during the day and keep watch and chase others away.
so it’s a good idea to place two or three feeders throughout your yard, that way you’ll have plenty of happy hummingbirds.
planting a hummingbird garden.
a hummingbird garden will not only beautify your home, it will provide a natural food source for the hummingbirds.
check with your local nursery to determine what flowers will attract hummingbirds to your garden according to your demographic. if you’re planting a hummingbird garden, use caution and do not use pesticides, as these can make your hummingbird sick or even kill him.
friends with the hummingbirds.
last season henry the hummingbird became quite friendly with me, he would watch me work in the yard, he even let me take photos of him and he let me know when he wanted me to refill the feeder. one time as i was re-hanging the feeder, he literally flew and hovered about 5″ from my face, at first i didn’t know whether to run or not, was he going to poke my eye out for touching his feeder..?? haha i just stood, he hovered and we both stared at each other, then he flew up to his perch in the tree and i giggled as i walked away. i think he was thanking me, at least that’s the story i’m going with!
another time, i hadn’t realized the feeder was empty and henry literally flew and hovered right outside our screen door as if to say, “umm hello, my feeder is empty”… to cute!
anyway, i love hummingbirds, they don’t make a mess, they’re easy and inexpensive to care for, and they’re gorgeous!
i don’t leave out the other birds in our neighborhood, i put out fresh fruit and water daily and even provide nesting materials, but birdseed, nope, it brought to many problems to my urban oasis.