A hummingbird's diet is made up of tiny insects, the nectar that is extracted from flowers, as well as a sugar and water mixture that is added to commercial hummingbird feeders. Hummingbirds are very territorial and will fight other birds who try to eat at their feeder. Commercial feeders have been on the market since 1950. The nectar used to feed hummingbirds can be purchased in stores, but can easily be made at home with just a couple of kitchen staples.
Things You'll Need
- 1 cup granulated white sugar
- 4 cups water
Mix 1 cup of white granulated sugar with 4 cups of water in a saucepan. Use only white sugar. Brown or turbinado sugar is not recommended. The iron content in these sugars will make hummingbirds ill. Powdered sugar contains cornstarch, which will cause fermentation to take place.
Boil the mixture for at least two minutes. Boiling the sugar and water solution melts the sugar, removes the chlorine from the water, and disinfects the mixture. Filtered water may be used, but is not required. Do not boil longer than two minutes. This will cause the solution to thicken more than is recommended.
Remove the hummingbird food from the stove and allow the mixture to completely cool. Keep any leftover solution in the refrigerator. The feeder does not need to be full. Just add enough food to feed the birds for one day.
Fill a hummingbird feeder with cooled hummingbird food. Feeders that have red flowers or reservoirs are best for attracting hummingbirds. It is not necessary to add coloring to the food in order to attract the birds when the feeder is brightly colored.
Hang the feeder high enough so that animals cannot harm the birds as they feed. It's best to hang several feeders in order to avoid territorial fighting between the birds. Mount feeders at least 6 feet apart.
Change the hummingbird feeder every day. Failure to keep fresh solution in the feeder can result in alcohol contamination of the food. Yeast spores are prevalent in the air, and hummingbirds frequently introduce these spores into the nectar as they feed. Changing the nectar daily ensures fresh food is always available.