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Hummingbird Nectar Recipe

Melissa is the assignment editor and contributing writer for SheKnows Home and Living. While other little girls were playing dress up with Barbie, Melissa was busy remodeling Barbie's house. She now lives out her dream covering design an...

An all-natural nectar recipe to fill your hummingbird feeders.

Hummingbirds are attracted to the bright colors of flowers and hummingbird feeders. You can buy hummingbird feeder kits that include a powdered nectar mix, but it's just as easy (and more cost effective) to make homemade hummingbird nectar.


Hummingbirds are attracted to the bright colors of flowers and hummingbird feeders. You can buy hummingbird feeder kits that include a powdered nectar mix, but it's just as easy (and more cost effective) to make homemade hummingbird nectar.

In nature, hummingbirds get most of their energy from flower nectar, which contains a little more than 20 percent sucrose. You can make homemade "nectar" with table sugar and water at about the same ratio as a treat to attract these feathered friends.

Store-bought nectars contain safe, natural ingredients, including water, sugar, citric acid, natural food dyes and sodium benzoate. It is entirely safe for hummingbirds (and humans) to drink, but once you know the main ingredients, it seems silly to spend money on sugar water. The choice is entirely yours!

Hummingbird Nectar Recipe:

Combine 1 part sugar with 4 parts water in a small saucepan. Heat to a boil, stirring constantly until sugar granules dissolve. Cool completely before adding to your feeders.

A few tips:

  • Do not add food coloring! Use a colorful feeder and leave the nectar au natural. Although food coloring may be safe for humans, it hasn't been tested for birds. It's really one more ingredient you don't need.

  • Do not use sugar substitutes (like Sweet 'n' Low, Splenda or Equal). Hummingbirds' bodies need actual sucrose--the substitutes could kill them. (Kind of makes you wonder if sugar substitutes are all that healthy for you...)

  • Don't add extras, like honey, brown sugar or corn syrup. The simple recipe is perfect as is. Any additions could cause the nectar to ferment more quickly or harm the hummingbirds.

  • Change the nectar weekly, or more often in warm temperatures. Yeasts like to feed on sugar, which can cause fermentation. This process won't turn the nectar to wine, but it could make hummingbirds sick.

  • Store extra nectar in a closed container in the refrigerator.

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