Hummingbirds love the sweet nectar that we put in their feeders. But if you don’t want to have to buy hummingbird food, you may want to learn how to make hummingbird nectar at home. It may sound like a pain, but it is straightforward and quick! In this article, we will show you how to make homemade hummingbird food to keep your hummers happy.
Without further ado, let’s look at what you need to make nectar for your hummingbird feeder!
How Long Does it Take to Make Hummingbird Nectar?
It only takes a few minutes! This is why it’s so worthwhile to make your hummingbird nectar from scratch. It’s quick, easy, and worth your while.
What Ingredients Are Needed?
In order to make clear hummingbird nectar, the only ingredients you need are water and cane sugar — that’s it!
Some like to use red food coloring, but it is not necessary to attract the hummingbirds. They will find it one way or another — especially if you have a proper hummingbird feeder to attract them.
Other Tools Required
- Measuring Cups & Bowls: To begin, you need a liquid measuring cup for the water and a dry measuring cup for the sugar. You’ll also need a couple bowls for storing (and heating, if you’re using the microwave) the water.
- Pot, Microwave, or Kettle: Next, you’ll need a small (or large, depending on the batch size) pot to heat your water and sugar on the stove. Some people also prefer to use a microwave or kettle to heat their water; do whichever is more comfortable for you!
- Spoon or Whisk: Finally, after you use the microwave or stovetop to heat the water, you’ll need a spoon or a whisk to mix your water and sugar.
How to Make Hummingbird Nectar
Let’s get into the step-by-step process of how to make hummingbird food.
Measurement and Ratios
First thing’s first! Whether you make a small batch or have a lot of feeders to fill at once, this is very important. When measuring the white sugar, use a quarter of the amount of water you pour.
For instance, if you use one cup of water for a small batch of nectar, you only would use a quarter cup of sugar. Likewise, if you make a large, eight-cup batch, you would only use two cups of sugar. Pretty simple, right?
Save Half the Water
Saving some of the water may seem like an unusual step, but it is a great idea. Heat half of the water you need, and set the other half aside to mix in afterward. This way, the cold water you’ve saved will bring down the hot water and sugar mixture’s temperature.
You can absolutely heat all of your water. However, if you want to fill your hummingbird feeder immediately, it makes sense to keep some of your water chilled to mix in after you’ve heated and mixed the first portion of water.
You don’t want any melted plastic feeders, and you really don’t want to burn your hummingbirds’ tongues.
Heat the Water
This is about as easy as it gets, but there are still different methods of heating your water before mixing in your sugar.
Stovetop. This is a standard method, where you simply pour half of your water into a pot and bring the water to a light boil.
Microwave. This is potentially even easier than the stovetop method. Just pour half of your desired water content into a microwave-safe bowl and zap it until the water is hot. But be careful not to burn your hands on the dish upon retrieval, have some potholders handy.
Kettle. This is just another stovetop method, using a kettle instead of a pot. Kettles can heat up very quickly, so I would only bother using this method if you are making a larger batch and don’t want to have to watch a pot until it boils.
Mix the Sugar
Once your water is either boiling or just very hot, you may add your white sugar. Remember, the amount of sugar should be a quarter of the amount of water you are using.
Using either a spoon or a whisk, mix in your white sugar until it completely dissolves in the water. Note: the water shouldn’t look cloudy at all.
Add in Remaining Cold Water
Now that your sugar has dissolved, you can add the remaining water, which should be cold, so that you can fill your feeder. Of course, if you opt to heat all of your water, you can skip this step!
Feed your Hummingbirds
And there you have it! You’ve learned how to make hummingbird nectar at home. Now fill your feeder and place it where your feathered friends will find it.
All you have to do now is, kick up your feet, and enjoy the hummingbird-filled show!