About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

How Do You Make Hummingbird Nectar?

Hummingbirds like nectar from flowers, sap from trees, small insects and spiders. If you throw your old banana peels in the garden it will attract fruit flies for the hummingbirds and make your plants green. Of course you can also attract hummingbirds by putting out a hummingbird feeder filled with homemade nectar.

To make nectar that is a little bit stronger than flower nectar, use a ratio of 4:1. That would be four parts water to one part plain white sugar. You may be tempted to use honey, turbinado sugar, drink mixes or brown sugar, but this is not a good idea. These sugars contain too many minerals for the hummingbird's system and can cause illness or death.

Powdered or confectioners sugar should not be used either. Powdered sugar has cornstarch added to it and that will cause the nectar to ferment.

Color isn’t required. There have never been any scientific studies done to prove red dye harms hummingbirds, but they come to clear nectar (sugar water) so leave it clear just in case the red is bad for the birds.

Nectar (sugar water) recipe
1 cup granulated sugar
4 cups water

1. Bring the water to a boil and then add the white sugar.
2. Stir the mixture and let it boil for 2 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and let it cool.
4. Fill your hummingbird feeder and refrigerate any unused nectar for up to 2 weeks.
5. If the hummingbirds do not come to the feeder within a few days, you can try moving it to another location near plants that have brightly colored flowers.
6. Be sure to replace the nectar and clean the feeder thoroughly once every three to four days. If you leave it out longer the sugar water could go bad and kill hummingbirds.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recipe. I'm doing it today.

Judy said...

I've been using this recipe for years. We have had hummingbirds come back to our feeders year after year. Enjoy your visitors!

Evangeline Sanchez said...

Thank you for the great information! ! I just bought a hummingbird feeder because I had to cut down my beautiful blue salvia they love so much and they just hovered looking for nectar. Now they are enjoying the feeder until their favorite grows back. I've also added hanging baskets with some of their favorite blooms. Patio living can still be a garden paradise!