Hummingbird Nectar Recipe

You have probably set up several hummingbird feeders in your space and are enjoying bird watching. You have the birds coming around any time of the year, and the scene is just breathtaking. This can be accomplished only if you refill the feeders with hummingbird nectar served to the numerous birds whenever they come calling.

The one treat that hummingbirds enjoy is the nectar even though they take a variety of foodstuffs. You can recreate this using a hummingbird recipe that comes up with an almost similar taste to the 100% natural nectar. Unlike what you might think, you don’t have to purchase commercial hummingbird nectar, but you can recreate your own, and it would do the trick;

For the artificial nectar, the ingredients that you would use are tap water or even just bottled or purified water and a regular table spoon. The whole procedure is quite simple and if you follow the instructions you should be able to come up with the best hummingbird nectar to refill in your feeders. The procedure for the hummingbird nectar recipe is as follows;

1) Mix water and sugar

Take one part of the regular table sugar and mix with four parts of tap water or even bottled or purified water. Just enough sugar would do as too much of it has some consequences to the birds if they consume it. You then have to stir and mix the sugar into the solution effectively.

2) Heat the solution

Heat the solution for a couple of minutes over-regulated heat so that the sugar will dissolve in the solution effectively. The heating works to also slow the process of fermentation that tends to be quite messy.

3) Allow the solution to cool.

You will need to let the solution cool down after heating before you can refill it into the hummingbird feeders. After refilling, you will enjoy quality time watching the birds come and go. They would be delighted with the sweet hummingbird nectar you place in their feeders. If you have some left, storing it in the refrigerator would ensure that it is fresh for a long time.

You should also know that the feeders need to be thoroughly cleaned before the refilling process. The solution can cause quite a mess if left to settle on the feeders for long. The refilling frequency, at least once a week, would do, but when the weather is relatively hot, twice every week will do.

Some ingredients are not recommended to be added even though some recipes opt for them. These include ingredients such as a red dye or even sugar substitutes. For one, the red dye is toxic because it contains chemicals that can harm the hummingbird when it consumes it. Sugar substitutes such as honey and molasses are discouraged because they are quite bulky, and the digestive system of the hummingbirds may not be able to contain them.

The quantity of the hummingbird nectar that you prepare should be enough for all the feeder stations that you have in your space. You can adjust the recipe so that the quantity is just appropriate, and you have enough for all the birds that visit your space. The recipe above should do the trick.

hummingbird nectar recipe

Should you add dye to the hummingbird nectar recipe?

Adding the red dye to the recipe of the hummingbird nectar is a subject of discussion that is quite controversial. Many would opt for it because of the fact that hummingbirds are attracted to the bright color of the nectar. This is the same way that flowers that have bright colors attract more birds than those that are quite dull.

However, the red dye is harmful to the hummingbirds because it tends to be quite toxic. The dyes might have some chemicals that may be dangerous to the birds’ health that you want to enjoy watching. They have also been banned for use in human food because they are poisonous when consumed. You could find some red dyes that are safe for hummingbirds or even human beings, but they are unnecessary.

You should know that if you want to use the red dye in the feeder to effectively attract the hummingbirds, it won’t be necessary. The attraction of the birds is something that the hummingbird feeders already have covered. This is because most of them, the best ones, have a bright-colored exterior that does the perfect job to attract the birds to the station. This is through their brightly colored roofs, the feeding ports that are exposed, and also decorative accents that are included in some models of the hummingbird feeders.

Therefore, it would be pointless using the red dye to attract the hummingbirds to the feeders as you would be risking their health. If you can’t get a feeder that is attractive or bright enough, you can set up a red ball or even plant some bright flowers nearby, and this would do the trick. It is much better than exposing the birds to the dye that contains harmful chemicals.

Tips for the hummingbird nectar creation

You probably want your efforts to create nectar for the hummingbirds to bore the fruits that you are looking for. This would only be possible if you do the recipe in the most effective way you can. Some of the tips that can guide you include;

  • When making the hummingbird nectar, you should just make enough to last one week to avoid wastages. You should adjust the quantity depending on how many feeders you have and the birds’ rate of consumption of the hummingbird nectars. A week would do because storing them in the fridge would only work to store the nectar for up to seven days before it goes bad. You should also maintain the practice of refilling the feeders with fresh nectar that will be enjoyed by the birds, every time they come calling.
  • Tidiness and cleanliness is a matter that should not be compromised for the hummingbird feeders. Since you are refilling them with a solution that contains sugar, it can get messy when the nectar spills as the solution is sticky and holds on to dirt. Therefore, it would be wise that you clean it thoroughly whenever you can.
  • You can opt to use bottled or purified water because they tend to be much purer than some tap water. Some tap water might contain harmful chemicals and have unpleasant tastes and odors that might not augur well with the birds. You should know that the hummingbirds are quite sensitive to taste and would be discouraged from coming to your feeders if they find the treat there is unpleasant.
  • You should use just the right amount of sugar for the recipe to get the best results. Adding too much sugar to the nectar makes it too sweet. This leads to fermentation that occurs in a high rate-thus clogging the feeders’ feeding ports on crystallization of the sugar in them.
  • It is not advisable to use other sugar sources such as honey, brown sugar, molasses, or even artificial sugar for the hummingbird nectar recipe. You should just use the regular table sugar for the hummingbird nectar. This is because alternatives such as molasses and honey tend to be too bulky to the birds, and they would not be able to digest it. They also ferment at a fast rate, and this leads to the formation of mold that is harmful to the hummingbirds. Similarly, these alternatives may not contain the calories that are needed by the birds to provide them with energy. Neither do they have any nutrition that the hummingbirds need?
  • You shouldn’t boil the water before adding sugar to create the hummingbird nectar. You might want to use boiling water because it provides the best temperature that lets the sugar dissolve full-but. This action will later cause the feeders to be contaminated after the birds sip the nectar in the feeders.
  • For optimum results, you can slightly change the recipe, but it should not be too sweet. Too much sugar in the nectar causes the solution to be too heavy. This will lead to the birds having difficulties digesting the solution once they consume it.
  • You should not be driven to use the commercial hummingbird nectar products, however lucrative they might look. They might be described to contain a variety of flavors, vitamins, and other additives, but this might not always be true, and that is why you should avoid them. Instead, they pose a danger to the hummingbirds because they tend to be quite toxic when ingested by the hummingbirds.


What type of sugar should be used for the hummingbird nectar recipe?
For the hummingbird nectar, you are preparing for your feeders, you recommend that you use refined white sugar when you can. This is just the regular table sugar that you use at home. Honey is an ingredient that is advised against and other sugar sources such as corn syrup or the sugar types that are raw and unprocessed. Similarly, you should avoid using powdered sugar because it has some ingredients such as cornstarch that are not needed. Such sugars are not to be used to create the hummingbird treats because they are unnecessary.
What type of water should I use?
Ordinary tap water should be used for the creation of the artificial nectar for the hummingbirds. It should not be boiled but instead, be used at room temperature-this will do. All you need to do is add enough sugar to the tap water and then stir or shake the solution so that the sugar dissolves in the water completely. Since the water will be at room temperature, intensive stirring will be needed so that the sugar dissolves fully.
How frequently should I change the nectar in the hummingbird feeder?
Two times every week would be an ideal way of refilling the hummingbird <a href="">feeder for the birds</a>. This is when it is quite hot outdoors like in the summer as the birds will be thirstier then, but for cold weather periods, once a week would do. However, this also depends on the capacity of your feeders as there are large sizes of feeders that would take close to two weeks before they are dried out. You should also remember to thoroughly clean the feeder before refilling it with the nectar.
When and where should I set up the hummingbird feeder?
Since you aim to attract hummingbirds, you should know that they are migratory birds and would be at your location at one time of the year only. So, you just have to figure out at what months of the year are the hummingbirds close so that you can set up the feeder. For the location, the hummingbird feeders are best stationed under a shade and a distance from any windows or any distractions. You can have them set up near trees as the birds would be comfortable and can also have the upper hand against their enemies.</p> <p>You can also set up the feeder at a position just close to flowers that attract hummingbirds. This would provide you with excellent results, and you will be able to enjoy your birdwatching peacefully. The flowers should be rich in nectar and also bright in color to attract more birds.</p> <p>
Should I add red dye to the nectar?
No, you shouldn’t. Not only is red dye not necessary for the recipe, but it also poses a danger to the hummingbirds. Therefore, just like the type of sugars advised against, the red dye should not be used.


For your feeder to be effective in attracting large numbers of hummingbirds, you will have enough quality nectar for them when they come calling. Of course, you want the birds to have something to eat while they are at the stations, and this can only be achieved if you can master the recipe to create the best nectar. The article above explains the procedure of creating artificial nectar for the hummingbird-you get to know the dos and don’ts.

Author Profile

Gabriel Tackett
Double major in Engineering and Geology at the University of Minnesota. Experienced shooter & hunter for over 15 years. Certified NRA officer for over 10 years working as a writer at .

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