Hummingbird Nectar Recipe

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Two female ruby-throated hummingbirds at a feeder

Every spring, we’re excited to see the fascinating hummingbirds show up in our yard, and we always start making hummingbird nectar at least a week or two before they actually arrive. By following the recipe below and maintaining clean feeders, you’ll provide a safe and nutritious food source that will keep hummingbirds returning to your garden all season long.

How to Make Hummingbird Nectar

The recipe for hummingbird nectar is straightforward and requires only two ingredients: sugar and water. Make sure to avoid using honey, artificial sweeteners, corn syrup, or colored sugars, as these can harm hummingbirds.

Male ruby-throated hummingbird at a feeder

Hummingbird Nectar Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of white granulated sugar

  • 4 cups of water

Directions

  • Boil the water: Bring 4 cups of water to a boil to help dissolve the sugar more easily and to kill any unwanted microorganisms.
  • Add the sugar: Stir in 1 cup of white granulated sugar until it is completely dissolved. Do not use honey, artificial sweeteners, or colored sugars, as these can harm hummingbirds.
  • Cool the mixture: Allow the nectar to cool to room temperature before filling your well-cleaned hummingbird feeder.

Notes

  • Extra nectar can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Female ruby-throated hummingbird sitting on a grapefruit tree branch

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I change the nectar in the feeder?

It is recommended to change the nectar every 2-3 days (every two days in hot weather) to prevent fermentation and mold growth, which can make hummingbirds very sick. Also, make sure to clean the feeder thoroughly.

Can I use red food coloring in the nectar?

No, it is best to avoid using red food coloring. Most feeders are designed with red parts to attract hummingbirds, so additional coloring is unnecessary and may be harmful.

What sugar can I use?

Always use white granulated sugar. Never use honey, corn syrup, colored sugar, artificial sweeteners as these can harm the hummingbirds.

Is it okay to use tap water?

Yes, tap water is generally fine to use. If your water is heavily chlorinated, you can let it sit out for a few hours or use filtered water. We always use filtered water.

Two pictures of hummingbirds at feeders. Top picture with two female ruby-throated hummingbirds, and bottom picture with one male ruby-throated hummingbird taking a drink from the feeder. Next in the middle says "hummingbird nectar - easy recipe"

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