Keep Hummingbird Nectar
From Freezing

Keeping Hummingbird nectar from freezing is very possible and I have some great info that will help you do this successfully. There are a number of ways that this can be implemented.

Hummingbird Feeder Heater

Is Keeping Hummingbird Nectar from Freezing Possible?

Let's look at why anyone would feed Hummingbirds in winter.

Hummingbirds typically migrate from North America in the winter, for the most part, to south or central Americas.

The Annas Hummingbird is an exception. It lives on the western coast of North America along the shores of the Pacific ocean in California, Washington State and southern British Columbia and will remain all year. Some other types of Hummingbirds also inhabit the southern regions of Arizona and Texas all year.

But occasionally stragglers occur. And, there are also some Hummingbirds, who for whatever reason choose not to make the long migration trip.

Sometimes a Hummingbird Will Choose Not to Migrate

List of 3 Reasons Why Hummingbirds May Not Migrate

  • Young and just not ready yet.
  • Too old to make the trip.
  • Injured or sick.

Whatever the reason for not leaving it seems indifferent to us to not make an attempt to help these “hanger-ons”.

But what can we do?

3 Ways We Can Help Feeders Not to Freeze:

Here is a list of ways for keeping Hummingbird nectar from freezing:

  • Wrap a short string of outdoor Christmas lights around the nectar holder of the feeder. (Keeping in mind not to use too many lights making the syrup too warm.) Would it matter about the colour of the lights? Studies show that Hummers do like red, orange or yellow the best.
  • Try the version of Christmas lights to the rescue shown in the picture at the top of the page. Only one light bulb is used and a foil plate to reflect the light back onto the feeder. This may not be enough if you live where the temperatures are typically below zero to keep the syrup from freezing.
  • Purchase a 125 watt infra-red light bulb (not the red type) and screw it into a clamp on light fixture. Place the light 1 to 2 feet from the feeder. You can connect it to a timer to come on during freezing temperatures or leave it on all the time. (Check the temperature of the syrup to adjust the distance.) (This information came from
  • This is what this set-up looks like:


More Tips For Keeping Feeders From Freezing:

  • Tape hand warmers around the syrup holder for keeping Hummingbird nectar from freezing. These should be placed especially close to the feeding ports to prevent them from freezing.
  • Use plumbers heat tape to wrap your feeder. It often comes with a thermostat which will be useful for keeping the nectar at the right temperature. Plumbers have been in the business of keeping water free in freezing weather for many years.
  • Use a baffle above the feeder to act as an umbrella to prevent a build-up of snow or freezing rain on the feeder.
  • Hanging the feeder in a sheltered location will help.
  • Wrap your feeder with an insulating material such as clear wrap scrunched up to provide insulating thickness or bubble wrap would be good choices. Fiberglass batting is not a good choice for obvious reasons of not wanting the glass fibers to cause the little birds injury.
  • Erecting a protective shelter such as a box or hanging a large pail upside-down. Inside hang a light beside the Hummingbird feeder to keep the syrup from freezing and prevent snow build up on the feeder.

Why Not All Solutions are a Good Idea

I have also heard of using a stronger sugar to water ratio for keeping hummingbird nectar from freezing. This will lower the freezing point, but a stronger sugar solution can also cause health problems in Hummers, so I do not support this method of preventing your feeders from freezing.

It will surprise you how well Hummingbirds will thrive even in the coldest temperatures. Their high rate of metabolism and the fact that they are designed to go into a deep sleep called “torpor” to conserve energy will make feeding Hummingbirds in winter a great success.

Most wild birds only need to migrate because of lack of food. Keeping warm is not a problem unless there is severe conditions.

I hope this information helps you in keeping hummingbird nectar from freezing if you have a little bird hanging on past the usual migrating time.

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More Hummer Info Below & In Right Column Above

  • Hummingbirds’ Migration is a marvel when you think about the tiniest bird on the planet, flying thousands of miles each year and not just once but twice. How do they do it against the wind, inclement weather and find enough food?
  • Hummingbird Mating is truly a joy to witness! Their flaming gorgets which attract mates also wins our hearts.
  • Hummingbird Information about habitat is vastly varied, spanning a diverse set of geographic areas. Tiny creatures with mighty spirits!
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