How to Make Hummingbird Food

Our hummingbirds have returned, and the sight of them makes my heart so happy.

I have the hummingbird feeder set up outside the kitchen window so I can catch a glimpse of them while I cook or do the dishes.

Hummingbirds have always seemed like busy and elegant little creatures. I find a lot of enjoyment in observing them! I’m so grateful we have some frequent our feeder.

I saw the first hummingbird of the season a few weeks ago, so I made a large batch of sugar water to put in the feeder for them.

One of the tiny birds came bustling up almost as soon as I placed the feeder outside!

We typically notice five or six at a time coming to the feeder for this homemade nectar.

They even enjoy sitting on the top of the shepherd’s hook that holds our hummingbird feeder. It’s one of the sweetest sights to see!

How to Make Homemade Hummingbird Food

Thankfully, the ingredients for homemade hummingbird food are very basic and the process is so simple! All you’ll need is a hummingbird feeder, sugar, and water.

This recipe really is so simple and requires very little time.

I like to double or triple this recipe and store the excess away in jars for later use.

What You’ll Need

  • Hummingbird feeder
  • Funnel (optional)
  • 1/4 cup of white sugar
  • 1 cup of boiling water

The Steps

  1. Boil in water in a medium size sauce pan.
  2. Mix 1/4 cup of white sugar into the boiling water.
  3. Stir in while the water continues boiling until the sugar dissolves.
  4. Allow the mixture to cool.
  5. Once the liquid is cool, pour into the hummingbird feeder. You may want the funnel for this step.

Hang the feeder outside and watch for the hummingbirds to find your homemade nectar. You can be sure they will tell their friends where to find the good stuff!

Can I Use Red Food Coloring?

Contrary to what some people believe, red food coloring is not healthy for hummingbirds to consume!

While the sugar in this homemade nectar provide energy to the hummingbird, colorings are not needed and can damage their health.

Think about it this way: hummingbirds take the sucrose (this is mainly what white sugar is) from flower nectar and convert it into energy. There are no artificial colorings in what they naturally eat, so it shouldn’t be in the food we make for them either.

Where to Hang the Feeder

  1. Patio, porch, or deck. Just use a utility hook or a plant hanging bracket.
  2. Shepherd’s Hook. This is what I currently use to hang my hummingbird feeder.
  3. Tree. You can either hang the feeder from a branch with a piece of wire, or attach a plant hanging bracket to the tree trunk.
  4. Window. There are little hummingbird feeders that stick right to the outside of a window! Talk about getting a close-up view!

A Few Notes About the Placement of the Feeder

First, choose a spot that you can view them easily. I enjoy watching our hummingbirds while I’m doing dishes, so I placed our feeder outside the kitchen window.

Second, give them a little space. I recommend avoiding areas that are highly trafficked. The dog house, a sidewalk, etc. Chances are that they’ll still come, but probably not to the same extent as if they had more privacy.

Third, close to cover. Hummingbirds enjoy having a safe place nearby to escape predators, so place your feeder near a tree or bushes.

Forth, near flowers. Hummingbirds are attracted to flowers, so it would make sense to place the feeder near a flower bed!

Fifth, out of direct sunlight. All that sunshine can make the homemade nectar spoil more quickly.

Sixth, next to water. This is a great opportunity to use a bird bath! Hummingbirds use them just like other types of birds do. This may increase your chances of attracting them to your feeder.

Seventh, easy to access. Just remember that you will have to replenish the nectar every 1-2 weeks (depending on how many birds are using it), so don’t make it too difficult to access!


I am so thankful for the friendly and cheerful arrival that hummingbirds bring to spring. They truly are wonderful to observe.

“Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell; they sing among the branches.”

Psalm 104:12

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