Hummingbird Nectar Hummingbird nectar is so easy to make.  Every year around May,  I get out the hummingbird feeder and fill it up with nectar because this is the time of year they start to return to Kentucky.  I usually see one or two scouts and then after a while they come to the feeder in full force.  I love watching them in summer and once you get them started they will come back year after year.  I have been putting out a feeder with hummingbird nectar for several years.  They love the color red and if you have red flowers near the feeder this helps to draw them.

Nearly all hummingbird feeders are red and this is all you need.  You do not have to add red dye to the water. Some people believe the dye is harmful to the birds.  All you need is white granulated sugar and water and they will come. Just be sure and clean the feeder each time you fill it.

This recipe is so easy and if you have any left over just store it in the refrigerator until you need more.  You can even make more and use as needed.


Recipe for Hummingbird Nectar:

1 cup white granulated sugar

4 cups water

Bring to boil on top of the stove. Boil 1 minute. Remove and let cool.

This recipe is so easy and well worth the effort.  I have my feeder outside my living room window and visitors and grandchildren love watching the hummingbirds.  My cousin has many feeders and many hummingbirds that come to her house each summer.  You can do one or however many you want to fill and these beautiful little birds will love you for it!  If you don’t have a feeder get one today and ENJOY!

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  1. Thank you all for the tips! I am also new to using a hummingbird feeder.

  2. Thank you for your help & all the information from everyone else. They are amazing tiny creatures. I love when they actually sit still & you can look at them. Beautiful!5 stars

  3. Is it possible to squeeze juice from a pomegranate seed or a drop from the water used to boil beets to color the nectar?

    1. The Southern Lady says:

      I have not tried this with the juice or seeds. If you read, it says it is better not to color the water but I guess some people do.

  4. Kathy Archer says:

    I do the same thing as you, Betty.

  5. Linda Onstott Boughton says:

    Please do not add red dye, it does harm the birds. Many feeders come with the nectar holding tank ready red coloered anyway. And do not fill ot full, since in the heat it will ferment and mold. Only fill it about 1/4 full, keep the rest refrigerated toll needed in a sealed container. WASH OUT the feeder before refilling, rinse with a bleach solution then rinse very well with hot water and dry thoroughly before refilling with fresh sugar solution. We were told take them down after dark to wash dry, and then fill & rehang early the next morning by a zoologist

    1. Thank you for all that information Linda. I love these beautiful tiny creatures & never want to cause them any harm. Blessing to you.

  6. Thomas Worde says:

    Last year I read an article about how you should Not use the red dye with either The pre mix or The Make yourself. It said red food coloring is very bad for the little hummers. I out two feeders yesterday and made my own without the color. I plan on putting red ducktape on the outside of plastic bottle. Question is I’ve still have some of the dry re mix. I was planning throwing it out. Any truth to that article.

    1. The Southern Lady says:

      I have always read and heard it is harmful to the birds to put in the red food coloring and I never have used it. I guess you just have to use your own judgement but I don’t use it.

  7. I am new with the humming bird feeder. I saw a scout come around my feeder but did stop to eat. Is this what they do or do they eat.

    1. The Southern Lady says:

      They have to get used to seeing the feeder. They will eventually stop and eat and then you will see more birds.

  8. Be sure to boil sugar and water for hummingbird nectar to be sure all bacteria and contaminants are eliminated.

  9. Instead of boiling water, I use bottled water, I have for years, is this wrong?

    1. The Southern Lady says:

      I think the boiling water just helps to dissolve the sugar, Jeni.

  10. Betty Causey says:

    Thank you. I had quit feeding the hummers, and I want to get back to feeding. They are all in the yard on the flowers, but I would like to be able see them up close again.
    Thanks again.

    1. The Southern Lady says:

      You’re very welcome!

    2. Is the recipe 4to1 ? That is what I’ve always used and any thought as to boiling vs microwave ?

  11. linda roberts says:

    Make sure you change it weekly as it sours!

  12. I always make my own humming bird food and I use the same recipe as you but I boil the water in the kettle then add it to the sugar which is in a deep bowl. I mix it until the sugar is absorbed into the water and let it cool. Isn’t this sufficient enough or is it more beneficial to boil the contents on the stove top ?

    1. The Southern Lady says:

      Either way should be fine. You just want to make sure the sugar is dissolved good.