How To Make Hummingbird Food

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Today, it’s all about how to make Hummingbird Food! In a few easy steps, you can bring those nectar-loving birds directly to your feeders. There is something so exciting to me when I see the first hummingbirds of the season start dropping by my house.

Oh, the joy they bring to my soul! They are so tiny and yet fly so fast! I strategically placed my two feeders where I can work on my computer and look out the front window right at them.

You know how they swoop in and out like they are guarding their hummingbird food against other birds? In case you missed this post, What You Can Do to Attract Hummingbirds

How To Make Hummingbird Food

Hummingbird Nest

A few years ago, my next-door neighbor mentioned she had a Hummingbird nest in a tree in her yard and wondered if I had ever seen one.

I said, “no I haven’t!” I quickly ran over there to see it. We had to really look closely because it was super tiny. If you didn’t know it was there you would never guess there was a nest in those little branches.

We didn’t touch it because we knew the mother bird may not return. It was awesome!

Hummingbird Food

Two Hummingbirds Feeding

I love seeing these little birds feeding on my feeders. It brings me so much joy, I bet you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Hummingbird Food

How To Make Hummingbird Food

I made the hummingbird food recipe in printable form because every year I have to look it up and see the water to sugar ratio. Please don’t use distilled water.

Tap water is okay, but I don’t trust the water system where I live. I don’t cook or drink the tap water in my home.

Springwater or Reverse Osmosis water is the best to make the sugar water. This is typically called nectar, just giving you the heads up here.

5 from 3 votes
Hummingbird Food
Hummingbird Food Recipe by FSM
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins
Servings: 4 cups
Author: Linda Loosli
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 4 cups water (Spring water or Reverse Osmosis)
  1. Combine the ingredients in a saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Make sure the sugar is completely dissolved. You need to boil the sugar water because it will kill any bacteria or mold that may be present. Let it cool and fill your clean feeder. Refrigerate any leftover sugar water. 

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How Often Do I Need To Change The Nectar?

This is where it gets tricky where I live. We have temperatures above 90 degrees every day during the summer months.

From what I’m reading I should change the feeders each day at that temperature. If you have cooler temps you can go 3-4 days if the temperature is in the 60’s.

How Big Are They?

I quote Wikipedia: “Hummingbirds are birds native to the Americas and constitute the biological family Trochilidae. They are among the smallest of birds, most species measuring 7.5–13 cm (3–5 in) in length.

The smallest extant bird species is a hummingbird, the 5 cm (2.0 in) bee hummingbird weighing less than 2.0 g (0.07 oz).”

Can I Add Red Food Coloring?

This is still up for debate whether red food coloring is safe or not. I prefer not adding red food coloring to the solution. The birds are attracted to the red base or parts and do not need red water.

How Do I Know When They Will Return?

Where I live, I put my feeders out March 1st, I want them ready when they return. They usually migrate to breeding grounds in spring as early as February.

They are heading north after spending the winter in Central America or Mexico. They head to the southern and western United States.

Will Hummingbirds Return To Our House?

Yes, they will, they have a fantastic memory. BUT, if the feeders are not out, they will leave and look for another place and may never return. They are loyal, but they cannot survive without nectar.

Most hummingbirds will fly during the day and sleep at night. But it depends, some will fly at night.

How Do They Survive The Winter?

When the temperatures get colder, they enter the torpor stage. This helps them preserve their energy for lower temperatures and change their diet to eat more insects when nectar flowers are not available.

Some put on heavy coats, and some hibernate (torpor).

Read More of My Articles  Pulled Pork In A Slow Cooker

Hummingbird Predators

Please hang the feeders at least five feet off the ground so a cat can’t attack them. Praying mantids like to sit on plants and devour the little birds. Who would have guessed this? Not me.

Watch out for frogs, they like to eat them too. Larger birds like Blue Jays and Hawks are a threat as well.

How Long Do Hummingbirds Live?

Their lifespan is usually 3-5 years.

How Do I Clean My Feeder?

This will depend on the type of container you have. I use a very small amount of dishwashing soap and rinse with warm to hot water.

I’m always afraid that really hot water will break by containers.

Some feeders can be put in the dishwasher. I would read the directions on the one you decide to buy.

How Long Can I Store The Leftover Sugar Water?

To be safe two weeks in the refrigerator is the limit. I would date the bottle you store it in so you can remember when you made it.

Why Don’t The Hummingbirds Come To My Home?

Stay clear of pesticides and insecticides, they will poison the birds. For one thing, they eliminate the insects (their food source) the birds need to thrive. Please make sure the sugar water is fresh.

Do They Reuse Their Nests?

No, they don’t reuse their nests. In fact, most will barely make it through a single breeding season. They may recycle the sticks and cobwebs from the original nest.

They may even steal another nest and recycle it for their own use.

The Best Hummingbird Feeder

The reason I like this one is that it’s easier to clean and fill. My neighbor has this style and when mine no longer works, I will be purchasing these. I always bring in both feeders and clean them and refill them at the same time. Hummingbird Feeder 16 ounces

How To Make Hummingbird Food

Final Word

I hope you print off the Hummingbird Food Recipes to use on another day. Let me know if you have birds visiting your neighborhood. Thanks for being prepared for the unexpected. Keep on prepping, you’ll be glad you did. May God bless this world. Linda

14 thoughts on “How To Make Hummingbird Food

  • April 28, 2019 at 8:45 am

    Hi LInda,

    I use the same recipe you provided except I bring it to a boil using the microwave. Four cups of sugar solution boils in about 8 minutes. Every microwave is slightly different so at first it takes a little experimentation. The bit of steam produced allows a good wipe down inside the microwave too! I microwave instead of stove top because I have a tendency to forget the pot on the stove and then I end up with candy syrup. There is so much enjoyment in watching hummingbird antics!

    • April 28, 2019 at 11:40 am

      Hi Ellen, I forgot to write you can microwave the syrup! I better go do that. I love the trick with the steam, I love a clean microwave! I just love watching those hummingbird antics too!!! Life is so good! Linda

  • April 28, 2019 at 10:39 am

    Good article, everyone would enjoy the antics of hummingbirds around a feeder. One of my feeders is at edge of front porch and they love buzzing my lab when he gets close. Been using a feeder for over 20 years and keep a notebook of 1st day I see one on feeder in spring and last day I see one in fall all the dates fall within 3 days of each other year after year. Also note weather and temp. Easiest bird watching ther is and to me the most fun! Lucky you I have ever been able to track down a nest. Use same recipe as yours. I do wash the feeders with a tsp of bleach in a cup of water every other washing. Use dawn in water test of time cleaning everytime before refilling. Again thanks for the article, I call your articles like this your comfort food for the soul articles

    • April 28, 2019 at 11:44 am

      Hi John, you are so cute!!! Your comment makes my day!! I need to write down the date and weather when they come and leave. I never thought about this!! Great tip!! The nest was so tiny, John, I mean tiny!!! It was awesome to see! Thanks for the tip on the bleach! I think my mom used to do that. Happy watching, life is so good! Linda

  • April 28, 2019 at 1:26 pm

    They do reuse their nest. I have a nest that they add to each year. It is about 5 years old. One winter it partly fell off the drip system hose she made it on. She just built a new one on top of it and last week she came back for another new birth. She is right out side my patio door, under my patio over.

    • April 28, 2019 at 1:54 pm

      Hi Mamapeck, I love hearing this, thank you! How fun that the nest is reused and you can watch her rebuild it! I LOVE this! Linda

      • May 1, 2019 at 9:13 am

        Hi Linda. The day she or one of her babies return is my “spring happy day”, the start of spring. I patiently wait to see those baby beaks poking out. There’s a little loss when they all fly off, but I know spring will come back in a year and with it, hopefully my sweet hummingbird.

        • May 1, 2019 at 12:10 pm

          Hi Mamapeck, I love hearing this! Isn’t it funny what little things bring us so much joy! Those hummingbirds have no idea how much love they spread throughout the world!! Linda

  • January 5, 2021 at 6:48 am

    5 stars
    Great tips and recipe. Thank you.

  • January 5, 2021 at 7:04 am

    5 stars
    This recipe works great! I love seeing the hummingbirds in my feeder. Thanks for the recipe.

  • January 5, 2021 at 11:08 am

    5 stars
    I love this recipe! It is sooo fun to watch the hummingbirds come and drink. They love it!❤️ I have tried many recipes. This is my go to! The hummingbirds love it!❤️ Thank you sooo much for sharing!

    • January 5, 2021 at 12:50 pm

      Hi Camille, oh thank you so much! It’s so fun to watch the hummingbirds!!! Linda


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