Homemade Hummingbird Nectar Recipe

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Attract lovely hummingbirds and orioles into your garden and around your home with this super easy homemade nectar recipe.

This is such a simple recipe that can be made in less than 10 minutes, start to finish. As you can see from the photos, hummingbirds of all ages LOVE this homemade nectar recipe.

homemade-hummingbird-nectar-recipe

You’ll note in the directions below that we boil the water first when making this hummingbird food recipe. From a health standpoint, this is not necessary as the microorganisms that cause fermentation are transported to feeders by the birds themselves, rather than in the water as is commonly believed.

The reason for boiling the water first is simply for the ease of dissolving the sugar.

Sometimes, if we’re in a hurry, we simply run a pot of plain water through the coffee pot and use the hot water to dissolve the sugar. This is known as the No-Boil method.

You’ll Need:
2 cups water, boiling
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
Hummingbird Feeders

Add sugar to boiling water, bring back up to a boil (for just under 2 minutes) Remove from heat, cool. Store in the refrigerator.

To Make 1 Gallon of Hummingbird Nectar
4 Cups of Granulated Cane Sugar
16 Cups of Water (1 gallon)

Bring the water to a boil, add the sugar, stirring occasionally. Make sure the sugar is completely dissolved. Boil for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, cool completely before filling feeders.

homemade-hummingbird-nectar-recipe

Do Not boil longer than 2 minutes as you will create a thickened syrup that will attract bees/wasps/yellowjackets – making it more difficult for the hummingbirds to be able to eat in peace without having to fight for their food.

homemade-hummingbird-nectar-recipe

No Boil Method You’ll Need:
2 cups very hot water
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
Hummingbird Feeders

Ensure your coffee pot is thoroughly clean, then run a pot of water through it. Add sugar to the hot water, stirring constantly to completely dissolve. Cool. Store in the refrigerator.

To Make 1 Gallon of Hummingbird Nectar
4 Cups of Granulated Cane Sugar
16 Cups of Water (1 gallon)

Ensure your coffee pot is thoroughly clean, then run a pot of water through it. Add sugar to 5 cups of hot water, stirring constantly to completely dissolve, add remaining 11 cups of water, stir to ensure it’s evenly mixed. Cool completely. Store in the refrigerator.

Homemade Hummingbird nectar should be changed every 3 days, depending on the temperature. If it becomes “cloudy” or stringy, remove it immediately and wash the feeder in hot soapy water (using dish detergent).

High temperatures
Change nectar after:
71-75F6 Days
76-80F5 Days
81-844 Days
85-883 Days
89-922 Days
93+Change Daily

WARNING: Do not vary the ingredient amounts, it can be deadly to birds. Do not substitute artificial sweeteners or honey as both are lethal to birds. Also, do not add food coloring to the water, it is unnecessary and unhealthy.

Other Interesting Facts you might enjoy about these sweet little birds:

  • Hummingbirds collect lichens & Spider Web fibers to build their nests; They will not use string, yarn or other nesting materials if you put them out, so save those items for the songbirds
  • Hummingbirds have little to no sense of smell and are drawn by bright colors rather than fragrances.
  • Be sure to put feeders up in early spring and leave them well into late fall. It is a MYTH that hummingbirds will not migrate if the food is still available. Migration takes place due to their own internal clock and by leaving the feeders up in place, you will be helping any stragglers and ensuring their successful migration.
  • Male Hummingbirds will often fly in a U-Shaped Pattern, this display is called the Pendulum Display. It is done to attract the ladies and to impress them enough to get them to mate. You’ll frequently see this behavior in Late Spring/Early summer while the females are on the feeders.
  • “Bully” hummers on your feeder? Hummingbirds are territorial. If you’re seeing a number of so called “bullies” chasing off other hummers, simply put up More feeders. This “bullying” is natural selection hard at work and you shouldn’t interfere with it.
  • Perhaps you’re wondering why you should boil the water at all when making homemade hummer food.. well, boiling the water removes any impurities, over chlorination (or other chemicals) and naturally occurring bacteria that may be unhealthy for the hummingbird. Again, as a reminder, do not boil the hummingbird food solution longer than 2 minutes as this creates a syrup that will only attract bees/wasps/yellow-jackets and other undesirables.

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About Liss 3980 Articles
Melissa Burnell, known to her friends and fans as "Liss," grew up in Southern Maine, now residing in sunny South Carolina. As a busy Wife, Mother of two sons, an avid photographer, and self-employed entrepreneur, Liss understands the value of both time and money.

7 Comments

  1. great recipe and all the important instructions. orioles are also attracted to fruit. that includes apple cores.

    just hang them in an area where there is no access to cats and watch them enjoy the treat.

  2. i have made my own hummingbird/oriel syrup for many years. thanks for the tips about boiling and changing every 3 days. 🙂

  3. always feed the hummers and all our flying friends, but had not heard of the apple core trick – love it! thanks for the info

    always enjoy feeding our flying friends. appreciate the apple core trick and will be giving the grands apples for snack today!
    thanks for the tip

  4. My hummingbird recipe is 1 C sugar in 1/2 gallon of hot water (I use the Simply Orange 59 oz. bottles because they are sturdy and have a large opening) – I add 2-3 drops of red food coloring – more so I can see the level of nectar in the feeder – and my secret ingredient is: 4-6 drops of pure orange extract.… i keep my nectar in the refrigerator and when it hits the 90s on a summer afternoon, I fill the feeders (3 of them) with ‘a cold one’ and it’s like happy hour.

    I never have less than 20 birds around each feeder. I make 6 jugs of nectar every 2 days – and I buy so much sugar I bet atf would think i’m running a still. i have so many hummers we can’t even go away for two days without asking a neighbor to do refills!

    • My hummingbird recipe is 1 C sugar in 1/2 gallon of hot water (I use the Simply Orange 59 oz. bottles because they are sturdy and have a large opening) – I add 2-3 drops of red food coloring – more so I can see the level of nectar in the feeder – and my secret ingredient is: 4-6 drops of pure orange extract.… i keep my nectar in the refrigerator and when it hits the 90s on a summer afternoon, I fill the feeders (3 of them) with ‘a cold one’ and it’s like happy hour.

      I never have less than 20 birds around each feeder. I make 6 jugs of nectar every 2 days – and I buy so much sugar I bet atf would think i’m running a still. i have so many hummers we can’t even go away for two days without asking a neighbor to do refills!

      where would you find the pure orange nectar?

    • My hummingbird recipe is 1 C sugar in 1/2 gallon of hot water (I use the Simply Orange 59 oz. bottles because they are sturdy and have a large opening) – I add 2-3 drops of red food coloring – more so I can see the level of nectar in the feeder –

      You shouldn’t add the red food coloring, it’s not healthy for the birds.

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