Jun 13, 2014 | Featured in: Watching Backyard Birds, June 2014

Hummingbird Nectar Recipe

Hummingbirds flock around a backyard nectar feeder.
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What is the best ratio of water to sugar to use for feeding hummingbirds?

Four parts water to one part sugar (1/4 cup of sugar to every cup of water) best matches the sucrose content of natural flower nectar. Bring the solution to a boil, stir until the sugar is dissolved, let it cool, and then fill your feeders. Do not use molasses, honey, or artificial sugars. There is no need to add red food coloring. Bright red feeder parts or a bright red ribbon hung near the feeder can be just as attractive as red-dyed solution. Remember to change the nectar every three to four days to avoid mold.

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  • I've been feeding the birds at my home for over 20 years and have multiple bird houses all over. I'm getting old and I'm worried more about the poor birds that occupy the bird houses and where they will go when I'm gone and someone else buys my house and takes down all the bird houses.
    by Linda DiPierro, Sun, 01 Dec 2019
  • i live in watauga county nc and bluejays left our area on tuesday aug 20 2019! About twenty came in for their feed of peanuts, then left. It has been so quiet since they left. The gold finches are busy feeding.
    by Rhoda Buffalo, Thu, 22 Aug 2019
  • Really?! I have two (2) feeders that hold just over a pound each of Safflower seeds (I weighed) and I have to fill them up EVERY day. The small birds absolutely love these seeds!
    by David John Repischak, Mon, 05 Aug 2019
  • I use frisbees for umbrellas. Sometimes I get them free at events. I use red over hummingbird feeders. Helps to attract them.
    by wnyfalconfan, Mon, 05 Aug 2019
  • I recently were given two new bird feeders. Both have not been touched by any birds. Its been nearly 6 month, why is this? One is like a larger orange Hazel nut with an open front & the other is a yellow honey comb with 3 sides open.Is it the colour which scares the birds? I have the same feed in them as in my old feeder, which I need to refill regularly. Many thanks. Doreen
    by Doreen Atkins, Mon, 29 Jul 2019