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How to Make Hummingbird Food

How to Make Hummingbird Food

Do you want to know how to make hummingbird food so you can attract hummingbirds to your yard?

I love to watch the birds but there is something special and amazing about hummingbirds.  It is not difficult to attract them and once they know you will have food for them, they will come back year after year.  Do you want to attract hummingbirds to your yard? There are 2 things you need.

  • A fresh source of food  If you know how to make hummingbird food, you have a very good chance of attracting them. In the heat of the summer, it needs to be changed twice a week. Once a week is fine if it is not hot.  It is best, if possible, to keep it in the shade.  The feeder must be cleaned thoroughly between fillings with hot water and a mild detergent and rinsed very well. If the sugar water becomes moldy or cloudy, it needs to be changed.
  • A safe place to eat  It should not be near bushes or where a cat or other predator could stalk them.  At least 4 feet off of the ground is also good.

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A couple of other things that will help attract them are:

  • A water source  All bird need water.  Hummingbirds like shallow, gentle water or a mister that they can fly through.
  • Flowers!  They will probably come even if all you have is a feeder but they will love the variety of real flowers and there is nothing like watching a hummer flit from flower to flower in your garden.  Here is a good list from The Hummingbird Society.  I have found they love Agastache, Bee Balm, Pentas, Red Hot Pokers, Salvia and Zinnias in my gardens.

This is last year’s Agastache and Zinnias in my front flowerbed.

I have an active feeder but only a few pairs of hummers each summer.  I make a small batch and put half in the feeder and half in the refrigerator for the second half of the week.  It will keep in there for at least a week.  There is no reason to fill the feeder full if it won’t be used.  I realized I was throwing out way too much so started doing it this way.  I also do part hot water and part ice water so I don’t have to wait for it to cool to fill the feeder.


Hummingbird food recipe:

2 cups filtered or spring water

1/2 cup plain white sugar*

Boil 1 cup of water.

Add sugar and stir until dissolved.

Add 1 cup of ice water and stir until ice is melted.  This way there is no wait for it to cool.

*Never use brown sugar, honey or artificial sugar and there is absolutely no reason to use food coloring.  Most hummingbird feeders have plenty of red on them to attract the hummers but if not, tie a red ribbon or handkerchief around the top.

Hang it in a safe place.  This is the view from my kitchen sink. Doing dishes is not boring here!

Here in planting zone 7, I first hang my feeder out near the end of March.  I always see them within a week of putting it out.  I leave it out in the fall until I have not seen a hummingbird for at least 3 weeks.  That gives time for the late travelers to get a sip if they need to on their way south. If it is going to freeze, I will bring it in overnight and put it back out first thing in the morning.

Once they find it in the spring, I move it up under the porch ceiling.  First, I can see it right out my kitchen windows. It gives us a great view of them and I can even sit out there and they will come within feet of me.  It is so neat to hear their tiny wings beating as they fly in for a drink.  It also keeps them out of the rain and they seem to enjoy eating in a dry place when it is raining. Hanging it from the ceiling like that also eliminates the ants that will get in it hanging on the shepherds hooks.  I do make sure it is not directly over the chair or table and the tiny messes they leave under the feeder are easily washed.  I count that price well worth the view I get from my window. 🙂



This is the feeder I have used for decades.  Many hummingbirds have dined at this feeder at my house.  I highly recommend it.

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