DIY Projects

Hummingbird Nectar Recipe

Updated September 23, 2022

Attract hummingbirds to your backyard with this easy homemade Hummingbird Nectar Recipe!

Hummingbird Nectar Recipe

Hummingbirds are amazing. I love watching them outside my window as they hover, looking for the next place to sip nectar. Their scientific name, Trochilidae, even means “small bellows-bearer,” which refers to the sound their wings make while flying. Outdoor hummingbird feeders are very popular, but you can also offer a feeder right on your own kitchen window.

If you want to attract hummingbirds to your garden, then making your own hummingbird food is a good place to start. Hummingbirds are easy to attract — but there are a few things you can do if you’d like to encourage them to visit your garden more frequently.

How to Attract Hummingbirds

So you want to attract hummingbirds. You’ve seen them flying around your yard, and you know that they’re beautiful little creatures that would make a great addition to your garden. But how do you get hummingbirds to visit?

  • Plant lots of flowers with red or orange blooms: Hummingbirds love flowers, so if you have a lot of them in your garden, the chances of attracting hummingbirds will go up. Try planting different types of flowers, like marigolds, dahlias and begonias—just make sure they’re red or orange!
  • Add some sugar water: This step is a must if you want hummingbirds to stick around for awhile. The birds will come around whenever they’re hungry and drink up all the nectar! Learn how to make hummingbird nectar using the recipe below.
  • Set up a feeder: This is the most important step because without food, there’s no way they’ll stay around for long! Get yourself an easy-to-clean hummingbird feeder they can use.
  • Place the feeder in a safe place: Make sure that the feeder is hung out of reach from predators. A tree branch high enough is a good spot.
  • Change out the nectar frequently: This is so important so it never goes bad especially in the hot weather. The last thing you want is for one of your favorite birds to get sick from eating spoiled food.
  • Clean the feeder: This step should be done at least twice weekly during hot weather and once a week during cooler weather.
Hummingbird food recipe

How to Clean a Hummingbird Feeder

Hummingbird feeders are great tools to attract hummingbirds into your yard year-round. However, over time, bird feeders can become dirty, clogged with nectar, and difficult to see through if you don’t clean them regularly. This guide will walk you through the simple steps needed to clean your hummingbird feeder. Best of all, this technique will work on any type of hummingbird feeder.

  1. Remove old nectar.
  2. Rinse out the feeder with hot water.
  3. Soak the feeder with hot, soapy water.
  4. Dry the feeder well.
  5. Air dry the feeder upside down.
  6. Store it away from direct sunlight and heat.
how to make hummingbird nectar

Best Hummingbird Feeders

With so many different types of hummingbird feeders available on the market, you may be wondering what’s best for your backyard. Learn more about the best types of hummingbird feeders and how you can attract more hummingbirds to your yard!

Wide Mouth vs. Narrow Mouth

Wide Mouth vs Narrow Mouth: Which Is Better? When comparing wide mouth vs narrow mouth hummingbird feeders , you’ll notice right away that they look very similar on the outside—but they function quite differently on the inside. The main difference between these two styles is how much nectar they hold.

A standard 16 oz. nectar solution typically lasts about five days in a wide-mouth feeder but only about three days in a narrow-mouth feeder. If you plan to visit your feeders frequently, then going with a wide mouth option will save you time and money over time (and help keep your hummingbirds well fed). However, if you want to minimize traffic around your feeders, then using narrower models may be more appropriate for your needs.

how to make hummingbird food

Plastic, Metal, Glass

  • Plastic: You can hang these hummingbird feeders anywhere, but you’ll have to replace them once they start to show signs of wear or tear.
  • Metal: These sturdy bird feeders are often expensive, but if you want a long-lasting option, metal is probably your best bet.
  • Glass: This is a good choice if you live in a humid climate—it doesn’t rust or corrode like metal does. However, it will shatter if it falls from too high up, so be sure to mount it at least 6 feet off the ground.


Do I have to use red food dye in the nectar?

DO NOT add anything else to the nectar mixture especially red dye as it can be harmful to them. Choose a red color feeder to attract them.

How long can I store extra sugar water?

Remaining sugar water can be stored in the fridge up to 2 weeks.

To prevent mold inside the feeder make sure to change it out every other day and thoroughly clean it.

Can I use tap water to make nectar?

Yes, tap water works fine to make hummingbird nectar. If you don’t have time to boil water, make sure the tap water is hot enough to dissolve the sugar completely. Allow to cool and pour in feeder.

What kind of sugar do I use?

Refined sugar (table sugar) is the only kind of sugar to use in making nectar for hummingbirds.

When do I put my feeder out for the hummingbirds?

In the spring (usually around May) when hummers return from migration. Then, take it down in the fall after they migrate.

Should I buy a feeder or make my own?

Our recommendation is to buy a ready-made feeder. They’re easy to find at hardware stores and online, easy to clean and disinfect, and attract hummers best.

Hummingbird Nectar Ingredients

Refined white sugar
Warm Water

How to Make Hummingbird Nectar

Mix one part sugar to four parts water until sugar is fully dissolved.

Bring water to a boil, add sugar and stir until dissolved.

Let it cool before putting it in the feeder.

Pour the nectar into a hummingbird feeder and place outside in the shade where there is not a lot of activity going on. Trees are best to hang feeders and high enough away from intruders.

Hummingbird Nectar Recipe

Hummingbird Nectar Recipe

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Attract hummingbirds to your backyard with this easy homemade hummingbird food recipe!


  • 1 cup Refined white sugar
  • 4 cups Warm water


    1. Mix one part sugar to four parts water until sugar is fully dissolved.
    2. Bring water to a boil, add sugar and stir until dissolved.
    3. Let it cool before putting it in the feeder.
    4. Pour the nectar into a hummingbird feeder and place outside in the shade where there is not a lot of activity going on. Trees are best to hang feeders and high enough away from intruders.


  • David
    May 29, 2022 at 2:31 pm

    I see videos of a bunch of hummingbirds on a feeder together. But the Hummingbirds around my yard won’t, most of the time, allow another hummer on the feeder at the same time. Is there anything I can do?

    • Alison
      May 29, 2022 at 3:44 pm

      You could try putting up several feeders in different spots. With multiple feeders, hummingbirds may give up being aggressive and share with other hummingbirds.

    • Krystle
      May 31, 2022 at 1:01 pm

      Mine were similar and I added more feeders, the ones with ten feeding ports and they now share. They still quarrel but there’s enough room for all the hummers among my 8 feeders with ten feeding ports.. I have hundreds of feathered babies. I go through 30lbs a sugar in a week!

    • Campbell
      June 1, 2022 at 1:05 pm

      Humming birds are territorial. Put one out front and one in back. I had one used to monitor both, but eventually, he can’t be at both at once.

  • Nancy
    May 31, 2022 at 4:12 pm

    With weather hotter than usual I was wondering if it is safe to place “hummingbird nectar ice cubes” in the feeder or will the cold shock their system?

  • Arthur
    June 2, 2022 at 8:14 pm

    Is I t common to hummerto use same nest for them to lay eggs an hatch 3-4. X ?


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