Thursday, July 5, 2018

How To Make Hummingbird Food

There's no need to buy premixed "Hummingbird Nectar" from the store. It's really expensive and not necessary, especially if you want to maintain several feeders.

The best way to procure hummingbird food is to make it at home. It's easy and cheap and works just as well as any store bought concoction.

Recipe for hummingbird food:

1 part sugar to 4 parts water.
Use only plain water and white granulated sugar and NOTHING ELSE.
For example, to make one cup of hummingbird food mix 1/4 cup sugar with one cup water. Multiply the ratios as needed.

In this order:
Boil the water.
Slowly stir in the sugar until it is dissolved, allow the water to return to a boil.
As soon as the water resumes boiling, turn off the heat and allow the hummingbird food to cool.
DO NOT pour boiling hot hummingbird food into your feeders (um... duh)
Once the mixture has returned to room temperature, it is now safe to put out for the birds.
I like to make big batches and store the excess in a glass container in the refrigerator.

Here are a few other important tips for success and happy hummingbirds.

#1. When buying a feeder, be sure to select one with a base that comes apart so that it can be thoroughly cleaned.

#2. If possible, hang feeders where they be shaded from the hot afternoon sun.

#3. Only fill feeders with as much food as your bird population will consume in a few days. Once it goes outside, hummingbird food has a short shelf life and the bacteria left from the hummingbird beaks will start to grow in that sugar water like mold in a pitre dish. Feeders should be emptied, cleaned and refilled at least once a week, twice a week if the weather is particularly hot.

#4. Ants, they're a problem. If (when) the ants start getting out of hand, use ant cups to prevent them from reaching the feeders.

#5. As previously mentioned, only use white granulated sugar. Don't add anything else like brown sugar, honey or syrup, and certainly don't use any sugar substitutes like Equal, Sweet-N-Low, or Splenda. Use plain white granulated sugar, that's it, nothing else. We want to help the birds, not harm them.

#6. There is no need to add red coloring to the mix. The feeders are red and that is sufficient to attract the birds.

#7. Hummingbirds are warm weather, migratory birds. In other words, they don't like to be cold! Expect hummers to show up in your area shortly after the last freeze and to disappear shortly before the first freeze.

#8. The supposition that feeding hummingbirds disrupts their migration patterns is incorrect. A Hummingbird's migration is triggered by the duration of daylight, not by a lack of food. When the days get too short, the birds know it's time to boogie on. Some hummingbirds migrate as far as 2000 miles so it is a good idea to leave keep your feeders out for just a little while after the migration has begun as they can provide food for other hummingbirds that are headed south. Likewise, put the feeders out just a little early in the season so that the new arrivals will find your feeders first and enjoy a much needed meal upon arrival.

#9. Enjoy the birds!

Notice how the feeder is hanging from an ant cup. This prevents the ants from being able to reach the sugar water!

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