Hummingbirds Don’t Like Food

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Hummingbirds Don’t Like Food

Question: What Can We Do, Our Hummingbirds Don’t Like Our Food?

by Bob

(Barnwell, SC, USA)

We have been feeding the hummers all spring and summer with homemade nectar, 4:1. We ran out of sugar and were not able to get any for about a week.

After replenishing our supply, we made some more nectar and filled all the feeders up, now they will come by and fly around, but never go and drink the nectar.

We have one or two that will sit on one of our plants hanging next to a feeder and stay there most of the day. They will look towards the feeder and at the door almost like why don’t you put something in them.

We washed two of the feeders again with a little white vinegar and rinsed them several times, made a new batch of nectar, and tried it with these two feeders, but they still don’t want it. We used to have bunches of the hummers around.

Any ideas, we miss their little antics and our cats miss sitting at the door and watching them fly around.

Bob & Betty Weis


Hi Bob & Betty

This is a perplexing situation you are describing and I definitely don’t know for sure but I have a few ideas for you to consider:

  • Leaving feeders empty for a time period can definitely change wild bird habits. They are grazers and go from one feeding station to another all day long with surprisingly accurate timing. 
  • So not having your feeders in their normal routine for a week will have altered their feeding schedule. It may just take a little more time for them to get back to where things were before.
  • The fact that they sit beside them and don’t feed is odd. But I have seen Hummers do that because they are guarding the feeder. They do usually feed at some point but I have seen them guard more than feed. Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds are especially feisty!
  • It is getting to be that time for them to leave to go south for the winter. Our Hummingbirds have already left but we are considerably farther north than you are. But some of your Hummers may have left and that may be the reason you don’t have as many. But don’t take your feeders down to force them to leave. Find out why here
  • The males will usually leave first as they do not have any part in raising the young and therefore have no reason to stay. The female adults will leave when they are done raising their young. The youths stay a bit longer gathering strength before their big flight south.
  • I also wonder if the sugar is the same as what you were using or if your water could be a little different? Just a thought.

I’m not sure this helps. But I would love to know how things have worked out for you with your Hummingbirds.

Happy birding!

More Interesting Facts on Hummer Feeders!

Nectar Feeder: When Should It Go Out? It is important to get your feeders out in good time in the spring for the return of your spring travellers. Find out when is a good time in your area.

Hummingbirds Emptying Feeder Too Fast It is great to have lots of activity going on around your feeders! Their busy lives keep us pretty busy looking after the feeding stations we put out for them.

Hummingbirds in Their Natural Habitat: What do they eat? We sometimes concentrate so much on supplying them with our nectar syrup that we forget that Hummers are also wild animals and survive on their own too. Let’s have a look at that.

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