Making your own hummingbird food for you backyard feeder is easy and inexpensive. Following a good DIY recipe is also going to provide the hummingbirds with better quality food.
This DIY Hummingbird Food Recipe is one of the ways we attract these sweet creatures to our yard.
My grandmother loved hummingbirds. There was always a hummingbird feeder on her patio filled with bright red liquid. I was fascinated with these tiny little creatures, and I still am.
I am happy to share what I’ve learned about hummingbirds and hummingbird food with you.
Hummingbird food sold in the stores is not really quality feed for our sweet little friends. First, hummingbirds don’t need to eat red food dye!
Not to mention that most of the store-bought hummingbird feed is old and not the best option for these beautiful birds. This can actually be harmful to hummingbirds!
We can do better for the birds and save ourselves some money to boot!
Hummingbirds – Interesting Facts
- Hummingbirds can weigh anywhere from .07 – .7 ounces.
- There are over 300 species of hummingbirds worldwide and 16 in the United States.
- Hummingbirds don’t just eat nectar, they also eat small insects.
- They consume 100 – 200% of their body weight in nectar each day
Will hummingbirds use a birdhouse?
No, traditional birdhouses are built to attract cavity nesting birds like Swallows, Wrens, Chickadees and Bluebirds.
Hummingbirds most often build open nests in the forks for branches.
You can, however, provide some nesting material near your hummingbird feeder like this Organic Cotton Nesting Hanger.
How to Attract Hummingbirds
Are you putting out hummingbird food but no hummers are feeding? Here are a few tips to attract the birds to your home and garden.
- Offer fresh, quality nectar (like this DIY recipe below).
- Change the nectar every few days.
- Consider putting out several feeders.
- In addition to feed offering a shallow area for bathing, preferably with moving water or a mist.
- Be consistent with your hummingbird food, nesting materials and bathing water. Hummingbirds will return to areas they know these things are available.
- Make sure your yard is offering protection from predators like neighborhood cats.
- Make sure your feeder is not being taken over by bees or ants.
Will hummingbirds share a feeder?
Yes, they will. However, this will depend greatly on the number of nest close to your feeder.
If there are several and you see territorial behavior (fighting) among your visitors you can simply provide more than one feeder.
Feeding Hummingbird Tips
- Always use quality cane sugar in your homemade hummingbird food recipes.
- Do not use brown sugar.
- Don’t use food color – it is not necessary.
- Never use artificial sweeteners or honey!
- Use clean water – filtered water is your best bet.
- If you have too many bees on your feeder you need to up your water to sugar ratio and consider a different feeder (more on this below)
- Keep your hummingbird feeder clean by washing it thoroughly with a light detergent before you refill with fresh nectar. Never top-off your feeders.
- If your feeder is dishwasher safe it is good to run it through a cycle once a month.
- Put fresh hummingbird food / nectar in your feeders every 4 – 5 days. If your temps are higher than 90 degrees F you’ll want to change it every 3 days.
- If you live in a cold climate you probably won’t need to offer hummingbird food during the late fall and winter because hummingbirds will migrate to warmer climates.
The Best Hummingbird Feeders
Choose a bird feeder where the feeder ports are above the liquid. This will make it less attractive to bees and roaches because they cannot reach the liquid.
Try to keep your feeder in a spot that is shady. This will help the hummers and keep your nectar from getting too hot.
Keep your feeders at least 4 feet off the ground and make sure predators will not be able to access it or the birds.
Getting the biggest hummingbird feeder isn’t necessary. If you’re finding most of the hummingbird food is left at cleaning times you may need to put in less food.
If the hummingbird food begins to look cloudy or you see mold of any kind, you need to empty the feeder and make new nectar immediately.
DIY Hummingbird Food Nectar Recipe
Remember if the feeder is attracting too many bees you can change this hummingbird food recipe to 5 cups of water, instead of the 4 cups called for in the original.
The Perfect Homemade Hummingbird Food Nectar Recipe
- 4 cups filtered water spring water is also great
- 1 cup pure cane sugar no substitutes for pure cane sugar should be used
Learn More About Hummingbirds
Here are a few books I’d recommend for learning more about hummingbirds and hummingbird food. There is so much joy in learning about these sweet little birds for yourself. If you’re a homeschool family you may want to consider doing a hummingbird unit study for a great science study! Or try your hand at a DIY Hummingbird feeder.