Though hummingbirds are the tiniest birds in the world, they have lots of heart—and a heart that beats up to 1,260 times a minute! They are the only birds that can fly backwards. They can hover in mid-air, fly sideways and travel upside-down! Their athleticism really helps the 150 flower species that depend primarily—or exclusively—on them for pollination.
It takes a lot to fuel these micro-acrobats. A hummingbird’s metabolism is roughly 100 times that of an elephant! They need to eat about seven times an hour for 30-60 seconds each time. That might not sound like a lot, but these meals can add up to eight times its body weight every day! Help them find the sustenance they need with our DIY hummingbird nectar recipe.
DIY hummingbird nectar recipe
- Mix 4 parts water to 1 part organic cane sugar in a pan (ex: 4 cups water/1 cup sugar).
- Bring to a boil, then remove from heat.
- Cover and allow to cool before using in a feeder or pouring into a storage bottle.
Use only white cane sugar!
Flower nectar is made up primarily of sucrose, which is structurally similar to white sugar. Using artificial sweeteners can be very harmful to our flying friends. As a human diet aid, these sweeteners offer no calories. That means they’re also calorie-free for the hummingbirds who need calories for energy. Even honey can be harmful since it has a different composition, and hummingbirds can’t digest it properly. From a strictly culinary standpoint, some evidence suggests hummingbirds have a strong preference for cane sugar. If you’re going to go through the trouble of preparing a meal for them, you might as well prepare their favorite food! If the sugar doesn’t specifically say it is cane sugar, it is likely beet sugar, so be sure to check first.
What You Do
- Mix your hummingbird feeder nectar.Dissolve one part white sugar in four parts hot water. Boil the water if you plan to store the nectar in the refrigerator. Never use honey, which ferments easily, or artificial sweeteners, which have no food value for birds. Red food coloring is not recommended as it may be harmful to birds. Many hummingbird feeders are already red, the hummingbird’s favorite color.
- Pour the nectar into the feeder.Let the solution cool to room temperature before putting it in your feeder. You can store homemade nectar for up to a week in the refrigerator.
- Empty and rinse your feeder every two to three days.It’s important to keep your feeder clean, especially in warm weather, to prevent bacteria growing in the feeder and making the hummingbird sick.
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