Hummingbird Food

Please see my recommendations & ratings for feeders on this page.

About Hummingbird Food Nectar

Hummingbird food is a very simple syrup solution.

You can mix your own recipe for an energy drink suitable to attract hummingbirds to your backyard for great bird watching.

Just mix and pour into one of the following recommended feeders and you are ready for action.

There are ready to mix solutions available for purchase too, which only require the addition of water.

Some Hummer food mixtures have various additives like natural food colouring and other nutritional additions, which in some experts’ opinion are not necessary.

We will discuss here how to mix your own Hummingbird food, how to keep your feeder from dripping, the pros and cons of ready bought syrup and is it harmful to provide homemade or store bought nectar for wild Hummers to drink?

hummingbird food

Hummingbird Nectar Recipe: 
A simple, easy, quick method.

Use 1 part sugar to 4 parts water mixture. (example: 1cup white sugar + 4 cups water) 

  1. You may boil the water, but it is not necessary. But if you do, measure after as some of the water will be lost in boiling.
  1. Add the sugar while hot and stir until all the granules are dissolved.
  1. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature before filling clean feeders.
  1. Refrigerate any leftover solution.

Boiling will kill any bacteria or mold spores which may be present. It will also reduce any chlorine or fluorine that is in the water.

Measuring the water after boiling ensures you are using the correct ratio of water to sugar keeping the nectar from being too strong. Syrup which is too rich may cause damage to the little bird's internal organs. And nobody wants that! :)

Fact, Hummingbird food made with water & sugar very closely resembles flower nectar in its makeup.

Best Hummingbird Feeders & Accessories

Nectar Feeders With 1-5 Gold Star Ratings

My sister-in-law says her Hummers like this feeder best.

Important Accessories

   Good Selection of Hummingbird Feeder Accessories Here   

hummingbird food in a glass feederFemale Ruby Throated Hummingbird

2 Tips To Prevent Hummingbird Food From Leaking



If you boil the sugar/water mixture before filling your feeder then allow the mixture to cool to room temperature before filling the feeder. This is very important especially for a feeder with plastic threads. If you don't cool the syrup first, the heat will cause the threads of the feeder to expand. The space now created in the loose fitting threads will allow your hummingbird food to leak out.

Here is another very helpful tip to preventing leakage.

As you tighten the syrup holder (while it is inverted of course!) to the base of the feeder, do not over tighten. As soon as you feel it catch, stop! Our natural instinct is to “tighten-it-up” in the hope of preventing a leak. But if it is too tight then the threads become stipped and leaking occurs. 

You will be amazed at how well both these tips work to stop the most aggravating problem of the syrup mixture leaking.

All part of good Hummingbird feeder maintenance!

Are There Substitutes For Sugar In Hummingbird Food?

Honey has sometimes been recommended as a substitute for sugar in a syrup recipe. But honey is not a natural food for hummingbirds.

It spoils much faster than sugar water.

And most importantly honey contains bacteria that causes a fungal disease on the tongue of the Hummingbird and is always fatal!

Other things to avoid are artificial sweeteners, protein supplements and red food colouring.

There is no energy in artificial sweeteners and protein supplements are not necessary as the birds will satisfy their need for protein by eating bugs. 

Red food colouring is not a food source and can cause harm to the Hummers small bodies.

Homemade Versus Natural Sources

Hummingbirds will not choose your Hummingbird feeder to the exclusion of natural sources even though your feeder is very convenient.

Alfred G. Martin in his book “Hand-taming Wild Birds at the Feeder” wrote: “I have been feeding sugar to hummingbirds for fifty years and have kept them under close observation. I have never seen one leave a feeder without going directly to flowers to feed on nectar and insects. There seems to be no ill effects from sugar.”

Flower nectar is a sucrose sugar like white sugar. The mixture recommended (1 part sugar to 4 parts water) most closely matches the strength found in flower nectar.

There has been no evidence that sugar water causes any harm to Hummingbirds.

Only if it has been mixed with too much sugar, has there been evidence of some liver damage.

Hummingbirds consume almost half their weight in sugar each day from natural and human provided sources.

These tiny birds have a very high metabolic rate. Hummingbirds are extremely active all day in their non stop quest for food so they burn energy quickly.

As a result the sugar they consume through syrup feeders will not harm them.

If you mix the Hummingbird food correctly there will be no ill effects to the little Hummers.

Hope you found this information helpful.

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There are many more pages with information about these interesting little birds in the right column, but here are a few that may interest you:

Hummingbird Plants & Feeder Location They should be placed first and foremost where they can be viewed and bird watching enjoyed most! This will take some planning.

Cleaning Hummingbird Feeders The little Hummingbird is a feisty and fussy diner! If a good maintenance regimen is followed, bird watching in your backyard will be more rewarding.

Hummingbird Feeder Nectar Attracts Unwelcome Guests Invited guests such as ants, bees and the more common animal pests such as raccoons, squirrels, and bears are not welcome guests.

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