If you don't go through a lot of nectar, then you may notice it spoiling in the fridge before you can use it all up.
Or maybe someone in your family *cough, my husband, cough* accidentally drinks it because it looks JUST like punch. Smh.
Great news! Not only is homemade food better for the hummingbirds, it is a lot cheaper. You can make just what you need, so no waste either! Here's how:
- Clean cooking pan
- White table sugar
- Hummingbird feeder
To Make Hummingbird Food:
Fill pan with about 4 1/2 cups of water.
1. Heat water until boiling or nearly boiling.
2. Remove from heat and measure out 4 cups of water in a measuring cup or bowl. (the extra water was to allow for evaporation loss)
3. Stir in 1 cup of sugar while water is still hot. Stir until completely dissolved.
4. Let cool completely.
5. Add to clean hummingbird feeder, hang, enjoy!
Notes About Making Your Own Nectar
There is a disagreement about whether or not to add coloring to hummingbird nectar.
I couldn't find any trustworthy studies showing that it is harmful, but most people agree that it is pointless, therefore, I have left it out of the recipe.
If anyone knows of a natural way to color nectar (any color) I would love to know. Until then, I recommend using colored feeders, or those that are shaped like realistic flowers instead of adding dye to the food itself.
I have noticed that we have a difficult time attracting hummingbirds at the beginning of the year. We live in the country, but right on a busy stretch of highway with lots of truck traffic, which could be to blame.
When I first hang out feeders (usually in March), I sometimes add one drop of food grade coloring to tint the nectar or splurge on a small bottle of the commercial stuff. Although it does seem to attract more birds, it is no longer necessary after the flowers bloom.
And I have also noted that the fancier glass feeders seem to attract birds better (probably because they are shiny) whether the nectar is colored or not. Sadly, glass feeders don't survive well in our vicious winds!
Important To Remember:
Whether you use commercial or homemade hummingbird feed, here are some important tips:
- Always clean your feeders! At least every 3-4 days. The hotter it is or the sunnier their location, the more often they need to be washed out.
- Don't save homemade nectar for more than 2-3 days. Adjust the recipe so you only make what you need for one refill at a time. Make sure you follow the directions for use on commercial nectar and throw it away if it is expired. (and don't drink it...it's not punch!)
- If you spray your yard with any chemicals, make sure you avoid spraying around or on your feeders.
- Hummingbird feeders also attract bees and wasps, so if you are allergic or don't want to be buzzed on frequently, hang feeders away from your doorway and main walking areas.
- Spillage from the feeders can attract ants. Make sure there is nothing below than can be harmed by ants.
- Hummingbirds poop a lot. It might seem like a pretty idea, but you really don't want to hang feeders over picnic tables or other places you might want to sit.
- Feeding nectar can keep hummingbirds from doing their job (helping to pollinate plants). If you have flowers, consider limiting the number of feeders/refills to encourage birds to drink flower nectar more often.