How to Make Hummingbird Food

This super-simple cost-effective recipe will keep your backyard friends happily humming.
Ruby Throated Hummingbird Hovers Over Red Petunia

Ruby Throated Hummingbird Hovers Over Red Petunia

A ruby throated hummingbird hovers over a red petunia.

Hummingbird lovers are undoubtedly familiar with the bright-red liquid food that typically fills the small birds’ feeders. But did you know you can make hummingbird food yourself? This super-simple cost-effective recipe will keep your backyard friends happily humming, and you can skip the trip to the store:

You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup regular white cane sugar
  • 4 cups water
  • Food coloring (optional)

Instructions:

  • Heat water to a boil
  • Turn off heat, add sugar
  • Stir until sugar is dissolved completely (liquid should be clear)

At this point, you have the option to add a few drops of red food coloring for a traditional-looking hummingbird cocktail. The jury is out on whether this is a good idea: some sources say that the food coloring is bad for birds, while other hummingbird enthusiasts have noted that birds will not approach their feeder unless the liquid is red. I would suggest trying the clear solution first to see how the birds like it.

When the solution is done, let it cool, then fill your clean bird feeder! Store leftover solution in the refrigerator until it’s ready to use. The nectar will go bad fairly quickly, and be sure to clean out and refill your feeder every 3-5 days (possibly more often in very hot weather) so that bacteria doesn’t build up in the sugary solution.

It’s really as easy as that! Now get out there and enjoy watching your winged friends eat.