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How to Make Hummingbird Food

Updated: Apr 26

Learn how to make hummingbird food with our helpful guide.


How to Make Hummingbird Food Recipe

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“A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” Maya Angelou

Hummingbirds are beautiful animals that perform fascinating aerial displays. They are a delight to watch, and I could do so for hours on end. These tiny creatures have a voracious appetite for nectar, making hummingbird feeders a popular addition to outdoor spaces. While commercial nectar solutions are readily available, many birding enthusiasts prefer to make their own. In this article, I will teach you how to make hummingbird food, and outline the reasons why it's worth your while.



Hummingbirds in Ohio


Male Ruby Throated Hummingbird Food Recipe

Ohio is home to the ruby-throated hummingbird. It is the most common species found in the eastern United States. These remarkable birds embark on long migratory journeys, traveling thousands of miles between their wintering grounds in Central America and their breeding grounds in North America, including Ohio.

 

During migration, you may also be lucky enough to get a glimpse of the black-chinned hummingbird, rufous hummingbird, and calliope hummingbird. Although these birds do pass through from time to time, they are very rare. Another rare hummingbird that accidentally make there way to Ohio are the Anna’s hummingbirds.


How to Tell the Difference Between Male and Female Ruby-throated Hummingbirds

During the breading season, it is very easy to tell the ruby throated hummingbird apart from the male.

 

Male: Male ruby-throated hummingbirds typically have more vibrant plumage than the female. They have iridescent green feathers covering most of their body and a bright red throat patch, or "gorget,". The patch is especially prominent during breeding season.



Male Ruby Throated Hummingbird Food Recipe
Male Ruby Throated Hummingbird

 

Female: Female ruby-throated hummingbirds have duller plumage compared to males. They lack the bright red throat patch and often have a whitish or lightly speckled throat. Their overall appearance is more subdued than the male’s.


Female Ruby Throated Hummingbird Food Recipe
Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird


Why You Should Make Your Own Hummingbird Food

Commercial hummingbird nectars often contain additives such as preservatives and artificial colors. These are not ideal for the health of these delicate birds. By learning how to make hummingbird food, you have control over the ingredients. This helps to ensure you are feeding the birds natural ingredients.

 


The Dangers of Red Dye in Hummingbird Nectar

While it is true that hummingbirds are attracted to the color red, using nectar that contains red dye is unnecessary and potentially harmful. Red dye has been linked to various health issues in hummingbirds, including dehydration and kidney problems. It is best to stick to natural, clear nectar solutions to ensure the well-being of these magnificent birds. Instead of using red dye, use a red feeder or a feeder with red port holes.

 

Ruby Throated Hummingbird Avery Signature Binder


Attraction to Red and Colorful Tubular Flowers

Hummingbirds have long, specialized beaks and tongues that are able to access the nectar deep within tubular blossoms. Flowers with bright colors, particularly shades of red, orange, and pink, are highly attractive to hummingbirds. This is due to their excellent color vision and ability to detect ultraviolet light.


 

When to Hang Hummingbird Feeders in Ohio

In Ohio, hummingbird feeders should be hung outdoors in the spring. Rule of thumb is to hang them up on Tax Day, April 15. This makes it easy to remember.

 

Another thing you can do is to track hummingbird migration. This helps to ensure that you have your feeders hung and filled before they arrive.

 

 

How to Make Hummingbird Food


How to Make Hummingbird Food Recipe Card

 

Ingredients:

1 part white granulated sugar

4 parts water

 

Steps:

Begin by bringing the water to a boil. For every four parts water, add one part sugar. For example, you can boil four cups of water and add one cup of sugar.

 

Stir the sugar into the boiling water until it dissolves completely.

 

Remove the sugar-water solution from heat and allow it to cool to room temperature.

 

Once cooled, pour the homemade nectar into your clean hummingbird feeder.

 

Download our free how to make hummingbird food recipe card below.

Hummingbird Nectar Recipe Card
.pdf
Download PDF • 422KB


Do You Have to Boil the Water

When learning how to make hummingbird food, many people ask if they have to boil the water. Boiling the water serves two important purposes: it helps to dissolve the sugar completely and it helps to sterilize the water. This reduces the risk of bacterial growth that could harm hummingbirds.

 


How to Store Hummingbird Nectar

Homemade hummingbird nectar can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. It is important that you use a clean, airtight container to prevent contamination. Before refilling your feeder with the homemade nectar, make sure that it does not have any mold growth.

 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird Puzzle by Wilfreda Designs


How Often Should You Change Hummingbird Nectar?

To maintain the health and well-being of hummingbirds, it is crucial to clean and refill feeders regularly. In hot weather, nectar can spoil quickly. So, check feeders every few days and replace any remaining nectar with fresh food. In cooler weather, weekly cleanings and refills may be sufficient.

 

By following these simple steps and guidelines, you can attract these fascinating creatures while fostering a deeper connection with the natural world around you. LKearning how to make hummingbird food is a rewarding endeavor that benefits both the birds and the environment.

 



Additional Tips for Attracting Hummingbirds

In addition to choosing the right feeder, here are some additional tips for attracting hummingbirds to your garden:


  • Plant native flowers.

  • Maintain a watersource.

  • Avoid pesticides and herbicides.

  • Provide nesting materials.

  • Hang multiple feeders.

  • Place feeders where hummingbirds will feel safe.


Choosing a Hummingbird Feeder

When purchasing a hummingbird feeder, there are several important factors to consider:


1. Feeder Design:

Look for feeders with bright colors, particularly red, as hummingbirds are attracted to these hues. Opt for feeders with perches or feeding ports that accommodate the birds' tiny feet and allow them to rest while feeding.


2. Material and Durability:

Choose feeders made from durable materials such as glass, plastic, or metal. Ensure that the feeder is sturdy and well-built to withstand outdoor elements and potential damage from wildlife.


3. Capacity:

Consider the size of the feeder and its nectar capacity. Larger feeders may require less frequent refilling, but smaller feeders are easier to clean and maintain.


4. Ease of Cleaning:

Look for feeders with removable parts or wide openings that make cleaning and refilling hassle-free. Avoid feeders with intricate designs or difficult-to-reach crevices that can trap mold and bacteria.


5. Ant Moat or Bee Guards:

Check if the feeder includes features such as built-in ant moats or bee guards to prevent unwanted insects from accessing the nectar. These additions help keep the nectar clean and safe for hummingbirds.


6. Price and Value:

Compare prices and consider the overall value of the feeder, taking into account its quality, features, and durability. Invest in a feeder that strikes a balance between affordability and functionality.



Hummingbird Feeders

Below are some of our favorite hummingbird feeders.


1. HUMMINGBIRD FEEDER, AUSLAR 16 OUNCES GLASS HUMMINGBIRD FEEDERS FOR OUTDOORS HANGING, RED HUMMINGBIRD FEEDER WITH 5 FLOWER FEEDING PORTS & BUILT-IN ANT MOAT, RUSTPROOF, LEAKPROOF, BARN LANTERN SHAPE




2. FLOWER POT HUMMINGBIRD FEEDER



3. NATURE'S WAY BIRD PRODUCTS MJF1 NATURE'S WAY MASON JAR HUMMINGBIRD DISH FEEDER, CLEAR 4" DIA.




4. BILANTAN HUMMERHI- SMART HUMMINGBIRD FEEDER WITH CAMERA SOLAR POWERED, LIFETIME FREE AI HUMMINGBIRD FEEDER CAMERA 2.5K MOTION ACTIVATED WIRELESS OUTDOORS LIVE, ENJOY STUNNING HUMMINGBIRD CLOSE-UPS





5. MODERN 6 STATION SPIRAL HUMMINGBIRD FEEDER | SWEET FEEDERS | COPPER | SILK FLOWERS | GLASS BOTTLES | NEW LOOK



YOU CAN SAVE MONEY AND ATTRACT BIRDS TO YOUR YARD WHEN YOU LEARN HOW TO MAKE HUMMINGBIRD FOOD.

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