Make Your Own Hummingbird Food Using Just 2 Ingredients

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Check out this homemade hummingbird food recipe!

colorful glass hummingbird feeder

Love having hummingbirds visit your yard?

Just in time for February’s National Bird Feeding Month, you should make your own hummingbird food! It is so easy to do and such a fun DIY activity for the kids to help with too!

It can also be a great money-saver, as you can definitely skip buying the storebought syrup and make your own using just refined sugar and water. It’s so simple!

hummingbird feeder hanging on shepherd hook

Hummingbirds are so fun to watch with their fast fluttering wings.

According to WorldAtlas.com, hummingbirds are the smallest bird in the world and have the fastest metabolism of any animal! They live a very high-energy lifestyle and need lots of nectar to survive. Hummingbirds have a great memory and will remember where their food sources are, including your yard!

mixing sugar and water for hummingbird food recipe

Hip tips for making your own hummingbird food:

  • To boil or not to boil? According to BirdsandBlooms.com, simply using really hot clean water is enough to dissolve your granulated refined sugar. Maybe if you plan on making extra food to store in the fridge, or if your water quality isn’t the best, then that’s when you should consider boiling your water. It’s also important to note only refined sugar (white granulated sugar) should be used in this recipe.
  • Will red food coloring help attract more hummingbirds? Please don’t add any food coloring, honey, brown sugar, or anything else to your hummingbird food. It’s not necessary, and any extra ingredients could potentially harm the hummingbirds.
  • How often should hummingbird food be changed? It’s recommended to change and clean your hummingbird feeder at least once a week in cooler months, and twice a week during the warm summer months to avoid mold (even every 1-2 days!). If the food starts looking cloudy in the feeder sooner than that, it’s time to swap it out.
  • Where should your hummingbird feeder be placed? It’s best to hang it near some trees and away from windows and any busy activity.
  • What about ants? Those determined little critters will find a way to get to your hummingbird food no matter how high you hang your feeder. Luckily, there’s a simple and clever ant trap made specifically for hummingbird feeders. When hung above the feeder and filled with water, these traps form a moat to prevent ants from accessing the hummingbird food. Readers have mentioned adding some oil to the water helps as well. Another option is to use vaseline to keep ants off your feeder.

stirring sugar and water for hummingbird food recipe

filling a hummingbird feeder with food

hummingbird feeder with hummingbird food recipe on counter


DIY Hummingbird Food

Print

Supplies Needed

Directions

1

Mix sugar and hot water together. To make the sugar even finer, try adding it to a spice or coffee grinder, allowing it to dissolve quicker in water.

2

Pour into your hummingbird feeder.

3

Make any size of this hummingbird food by using the ratio of 4 parts water to 1 part sugar. Extra sugar water can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.


grateful gnome hummingbird feeder

Love my cute hummingbird feeder?

I bought this beautiful glass feeder via Amazon last year and I love the hand-blown glass design. It’s been a great feeder, and I think our family has enjoyed it as much as the birds have. It would make a great gift for any hummingbird fan, too! Even Dollar Tree sells hummingbird feeders.

Making hummingbird food is so easy, and we just love sitting out back and watching them visit. Enjoy!


Here’s how to make an Oriole feeder from everyday items!


Lina has a Bachelor's Degree from Northern Arizona University with 10 years of blogging and photography experience having work featured in Today.com, Martha Stewart, Country Living, Fox News, Buzzfeed, and HGTV.


Join The Discussion

Comments 43

  1. Nicole

    If you put the sugar in a spice grinder or coffee grinder you can make superfine sugar. It almost looks powdered and it dissolves much easier, even in cold water.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh I love that tip! Thanks Nicole!

    • Materof6

      A Ninja blender works too….just discovered this recently! Thanks!

  2. acgold

    Thank you for telling people about the red food coloring. The packets of mix they sell all contain it. We always use the sugar water mixture and get loads of birds all summer!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Awesome! Yes it’s interesting how the stores carry the red stuff.

      • Cherrill

        Dollar Tree has the clear

  3. Beach Is My Happpy Place

    I use this mixture too for my Hummingbird Feeders. Dollar Tree sells the feeders which last a couple of years if anyone wants to try before buying a more expensive feeder.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh great tip!

      • Beach Is My Happpy Place

        Love your beautiful feeder😊 Has great reviews !!

        • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

          Aww thanks! It’s even prettier in person ❤️

    • Deb

      I bought a Dollar Tree feeder this year and it was the first time I had hummingbirds in my yard! They’ve always ignored the expensive feeder.

  4. Dee

    My hummers will come to the door in the spring to let me know they are back and to get the feeders up, pronto. Also, ignore the old wives tales about taking in feeders in the fall. My mother-in-law said that if you left feeders up, then the hummers would “stay around and freeze instead of migrate.” Yep, that one feeder is going to kill all their migration instincts. LOL When do they need the energy from feeders but when they’re getting ready to migrate? I leave them up for a few more weeks, even when ours have flown south, because the hummers who migrate might stop by.

    • kayti

      We had one that stuck around longer than usual this year. I left mine out all year last year🤷🏼‍♀️

    • Angela V.

      I live in the Pacific Northwest and some of the hummingbirds stay over winter, so we feed year round. There’s actually a product called Hummers Heated Delight that keeps the hummingbird food from freezing during cold snaps. 🙂

  5. Jess

    Honest question: Does having a hummingbird feeder prevent the hummingbirds from pollinating flowers? I know in my area there is an extreme shortage of bees and many plants that need pollinating. I’m wondering if feeders take the place of pollinating. Any insight?

  6. Cathy

    One more tip, put Vaseline on the hook (at the top of the feeder) to keep ants from getting down into the feeder. 👍

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh interesting! Thanks for sharing Cathy!

    • hellfiregainz

      Thank you! I had that problem.

    • Angela V.

      Thanks for the tip! Ants got into ours last summer.

    • Julie

      Thank you! That’s a great tip!

  7. Daisy Mae

    VERY IMPORTANT! Hummingbird feeders must be kept clean and free of mold at all times. Feeding hummingbirds takes a lot of time and energy so if you are not willing to change the food and clean the feeders every day or two in hot weather, please don’t feed them. You will be doing more harm than good! You don’t want to make these little guys sick. And make sure you use the proper proportions for making your own food, and no red dye! https://www.hummingbirdsociety.org/feeding-hummingbirds

    • Kristi

      Thank you so much for posting such important info about these special little birds!! They are quite fragile and all it takes is a moldy feeder to lose many of these cute hummers. We leave our feeders up all year and they never leave. If it freezes we bring the feeders in overnight. It’s so important to take the time to feed them properly. We have a beautiful yard full of birds, deer, bunnies etc. We feed the birds and bunnies year around. It’s amazing what a great memory they have when it comes to food. They know right where to go! It warms my heart to read all the wonderful posts and ideas to sustain our amazing wildlife🙏🏻

    • Gramma C

      I was going to post this exact information. Over the years I’ve known lots of people just buy the hummingbird food which is we all know not good for them and way way more money and throw up a hummingbird feeder and just leave it up for weeks. I think a lot of people are just not cognizant of the fact that they need to take it down every few days and clean it really well and put fresh food.

  8. stacia

    Thanks for posting this! I love seeing this information getting out there. My grandma would always put food coloring in because she thought she needed to, and I imagine many others felt that way. So it’s good to see it getting out there that the coloring is not needed and is actually not good for them!

  9. karikalikimaka

    If you don’t have harsh winters, adding more sugar will lower the freezing point of the nectar, and a solution of one part sugar to only three parts water is a more suitable hummingbird food recipe for winter. Not only will it stay unfrozen in slightly colder temperatures, but it will also provide a stronger source of energy for hungry hummingbirds. I always bring our feeder in for the night if it’s going to freeze, we have had a very mild winter (Eugene, OR) and our humming birds come all year round here for past few years!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Thanks for the helpful info!

  10. Sharon

    In the hot humid south in the summer I change hummingbird water daily, even though I put it in a shaded area. Otherwise it will cloud up and smell quickly once it gets extremely hot. The feeder I use has an ant moat you fill with water at the top but it is shallow and evaporates quickly and also I have seen finches drinking out of the moat and trying to drink the sugar water, too, (despite the fact we have two big bird baths in the yard and shallow bowls with water and peebles put out on the front and back deck railings for lizards and bugs.) I also put out small dog bowls of water for other wildlife to enjoy. I love nurturing nature! Oh, yeah, I have a rose of Sharon bush near the feeder and the hummingbirds go back and forth from flower to feeder. Can’t wait till spring when they return!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh that’s neat about your bush- I’ll have to look up that flower. Sounds like a fun set-up thanks for sharing!

    • Kim

      Try putting a little oil in the ant trap instead of water. It works well for us.

  11. Mei

    I love the hummingbird feeder – so pretty. I do agree with others to start with a “cheap” feeder. I have had raccoons climb into the tree that my feeder hangs and pull them from limb and break. Best to start out small and see how you fair in some areas (had my DH hang one from a gutter than they could not climb down onto) before investing a lot of money on an expensive feeder that gets broken. Also, someone mentioned the petroleum jelly on the hanging portion to keep ants away and it really does work!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh nice! Thanks for sharing Mei!

    • Kristi

      Mei….That’s a great tip for anyone that would like to start feeding the little hummers. What I’ve found over about 20 years of feeding them and wasting money on fancy expensive feeders is that they LOVE the cheap ones! Don’t ask me why, I honestly don’t know. All my fancy feeders are put away. They love the plain inexpensive ones for some reason. One other observation is that glass seems to work better at keeping their food fresh than the plastic.

  12. Lisa JP

    We keep ours out all year (Las Vegas) but they feed slower. We have four feeders out that hold 16 oz each. In the fall/winter they’ll empty all four in about a week. In the spring and summer, they empty them in 1-2 days. We have hundreds of visitors. I love them so much. All of our neighbors for feeders, but they refuse them, use to ours!

  13. Julie

    We use this every year. We have 3 feeders and have one hummingbird that comes first every year. And he guards all 3 feeders all summer long. We have named him onguard and have our feeders out and cannot wait for him to get here.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh that is so fun! Thanks for sharing Julie!

  14. acgold

    We get hummingbirds in the summer. My husband loves watching them! A reminder when you clean out the feeders, don’t forget to clean out the flower cups. Toothpicks and q-tips work best! We buy the Dollar Tree ones!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh good tip! Thanks for sharing!

  15. roselmandy

    Where did you get your feeder from? It’s so pretty!

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