Keeping 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.

Why Do People Feed Hummingbirds in Winter?

First, let's look at why anyone would want to feed Hummingbirds in winter.

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

There are exceptions though. One is the Annas Hummingbird.

The Annas Hummingbird  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.

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?

On the west coast of North America as far north as Vancouver British Columbia, Hummers have stayed all winter for decades. Enjoy this amazing video of one households winter chores in NW Oregon!

Isn't that amazing to us Hummingbird Lovers in the eastern half of the continent. I would love to be busy with taking care of those feeders all winter!

Keeping Hummingbird Nectar From Freezing can be Accommplished in Many Different Ways.

How is Keeping Hummingbird Nectar from Freezing Possible?

3 Tips for Freezing Feeders & How We Can Help:

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

1. 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, but not in exclusion to other colours.

2. The picture at the top of the page shows a version of keeping syrup warm which worked well for the creator. Only one small 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.

3. 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 Feeding Hummingbirds in Winter:

  • Hang feeders in a sheltered location out of the wind and exposure.
  • 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 dome 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, such as under a porch roof.
  • 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, as the glass fibers could injur the little birds.
  • Erect a protective shelter by hanging a box or or pail upside-down, that is large enough to accommodate a light and a Hummingbird feeder inside, beside each other.  The shelter will keep the syrup from freezing and prevent snow build up on the feeder.

Will Changing the Strength of the Syrup Help?

In Keeping Hummingbird Nectar from Freezing

Normally it is recommened to mix the solution to a 4:1 ratio. You can even make it weaker to a 5:1 ratio during the summer months and the Hummingbirds will not notice.

Many experts believe that mixing the syrup solution stronger to a 3 part water to 1 part sugar solution when it is colder will help the Hummers in cold temperatures. Giving them extra fuel to produce heat and energy at this needy time.

Wildflowers have a wide range of nectar sweetness strength with some up to 50:50 sugar content. The Hummers of course are getting a mix of sweetness as they flit from flower to flower.

The stronger solution also has a slightly lower freezing level so it will also be helpful in keeping hummingbird nectar from freezing.

To sum it up, in cooler weather in early spring, late fall and all winter mixing a stronger syrup solution is recommended.

(Just a note: I have not always supported stronger solutions because I had read from some sources that it would cause health problems for the little birds. But upon further investigation from reliable sources it is evident that there is no cause for alarm.)

How Well do Hummingbirds Survive in Freezing Temperatures?

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.

If you would like to learn more about how Hummers have adapted to survive in winter and have greatly expanded their areas over the last few decades, here is a very interesting article from Birds and Blooms.

I hope this information helps you in keeping hummingbird nectar from freezing if you have little birds visiting your feeders in frosty weather.

Best Nectar Feeders & Accessories

Nectar Feeders With 1-5 Gold Star Ratings

Important Hummingbird Feeder Accessories

   Hummingbird Feeder Accessories  

There is a lot to know about Feeding Hummingbirds, find more below & in sidebar at top.

  • Hummingbird Food “The Energy Drink” This mixture is a very simple syrup solution, but you need to mix it in proper proportions or risk harming these little birds.
  • Hummingbird Feeder Quiz Test your knowledge after reading all the information about feeding the tiniest birds in the world and keep going with other interesting quizzes.
  • Hummingbird Feeders are specialized feeders designed to attract a specific little bird that has a unique eating style. Care must be taken to prepare the food safely for these unique birds and feeders maintained properly to prevent disease. Learn more...

About Habitat & Behaviour

  • 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 Habitat is vastly varied, spanning a diverse set of geographic areas. Tiny creatures with mighty spirits!

Hummingbird FAQ's

  • Hummingbirds Don't Like Food What Can We Do, Our Hummingbirds Don't Like Our Food? We have been feeding the hummers all spring and summer with homemade nectar …
  • Hummingbird FAQ If you cannot find the answer to your question in this list, then please go to the FAQ, scroll down to the form and ask your question there.

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