Hummingbird nectar is cheap and easy to make, so there's no reason to buy it at the store. A little sugar and water is all that is needed; no red colored food, as this can hinder these fast birds. In just a few minutes, you'll have a "meal" ready outside your window.
Method 1 of 3: Making Nectar
Step 1. Mix sugar and water using 4 times more water than sugar
Only you know how much to prepare; take into account the size of the drinker and how fast the birds feed, as in a moment, the nectar will run out. See this simple table to make the bill easier:
- 1 glass of sugar and 4 glasses of water
- 3/4 cup of sugar and 3 cups of water
- 1/2 cup of sugar and 2 cups of water
Step 2. Mix sugar and water
Boil the mixture and turn off the heat source, always stirring it. The sugar should completely dissolve in the water. Do not let it boil as this changes the water/sugar ratio through evaporation.
- Do not use a substitute for sugar; the hummingbirds don't need to diet! Just flapping their wings at incredible speeds burns all their energy, and that's why they need the sugar. Therefore, add only plain white sugar and not a substitute or brown sugar.
Step 3. Allow the sugar solution to cool
Cover the pan and allow the solution to reach room temperature; if you place it in a warm or hot drinker, the sugar may crystallize.
Method 2 of 3: Filling, Changing and Cleaning the Drinking Bowl
Step 1. Fill the hummingbird drinker and keep the rest in storage
Most experts suggest that the drinking fountain be about half full; of course, it may mean more work for you, but the chance of the nectar molding is less. However, if a lot of hummingbirds show up to make a "snack", which you can't handle, it's okay to fill the entire drinking fountain.
Take a clean, empty 2-liter bottle to store the rest of the nectar and place it in the freezer. It will be safe for consumption for a week, provided it is kept in a cool, dry location
Step 2. Change the nectar after a certain period of days
Do this more often if you notice mold growth or fermentation. Generally speaking, the deterioration of the nectar will be controlled by the outside temperature. Here's a quick explanation of how this works:
- Temperature: 71-75°F (23-25°C); change every 6 days
- Temperature: 76-80°F (25-27°C); change every 5 days
- Temperature: 81-84°F (27-29°C); change every 4 days
- Temperature: 85-88°F (29-31°C); change every 3 days
- Temperature: 89-92°F (31-33°C); change every 2 days
- Temperature: 93°F+ (33°C+); change daily
Step 3. Clean the hummingbird drinker using vinegar and hot water
Always do this before adding nectar to the drinker, as it will become moldy when it remains in the container for too long, resulting in white and even black strands, as well as mold stains. So, throw the old nectar away.
- Sometimes washing it with hot water will suffice, if you disassemble and rinse it carefully. However, do this only if there is nothing moldy. Most drinking fountains are easy to disassemble for exactly this reason.
- If you use vinegar, make sure the odor of vinegar is removed before replacing the nectar. Finish by rinsing with hot water.
Method 3 of 3: Troubleshoot Drinking Bowl Problems
Step 1. Place the container in the shade
You don't want the nectar to start turning milky and black spots in the blink of an eye, so keep it in the shade. The heat and sunlight make it cut. Don't keep it near cats either.
Putting it near a window is probably the best option for you to see better. Don't worry about the hummingbirds' shyness. They can cautiously approach the drinking fountain (just as we do when tasting something new), but it won't be long before they trust this homemade nectar. And if you stay at the window, don't worry; they will fly away quickly if they feel threatened
Step 2. Keep ants away from the nectar
Ants love sugar water and hummingbirds don't like these bugs. Birds will not go near a drinking fountain contaminated with ants or dead ants floating in nectar. It is possible to prevent them from getting close by placing an anti-ant protector (some even have these protections installed at the factory).
Some people apply petroleum jelly around the tops of the drinking fountain or baited them. However, the latter can potentially contaminate the nectar and kill not only ants but hummingbirds as well. Therefore, if you adopt any of these methods, be very careful
Step 3. Place a red bow around the drinking fountain if no hummingbirds are appearing
These birds are attracted to the color red, and they also like vibrant colors. If the hummingbirds can't seem to find the container, put something red on it to get their attention and make them curious.
It doesn't even have to be a bow; paint, ribbon, and even red enamel will do. Just don't contaminate the nectar and check if the product can withstand external temperature conditions, no matter what you do
Step 4. Learn more about attracting hummingbirds to your garden
Despite the hummingbirds marking ground, the "show" they make when someone tries to attract them is worth it. People have been trying to attract these birds to gardens for centuries, and this has already become an "art". Here are some things you can do to increase your garden's "success" with hummingbirds:
- Put a vaporizer in your garden. Hummingbirds love to take a "quick shower" after eating.
- Spread several drinking fountains around the garden. Sometimes "alpha" hummingbirds will scare off smaller birds.
- Place drinking fountains next to brightly colored flowers. Thus, it will be more difficult for hummingbirds not to detect the sugar water.
- Be sure to let the water cool or the sugar will crystallize inside the container.
- Filtered water is better than tap water. The high rate of metabolism of hummingbirds makes them more vulnerable to impurities.