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Homemade Hummingbird Food

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Who isn’t fascinated by the tiny size and rapid wingbeats of the hummingbird? Garden season is in full swing when the hummingbirds make their way to our garden zinnias and hummingbird feeder. We have ours right outside the breakfast room window, so we can see the tiny flyers as they come to snack. So how can you avoid the red-tinted hummingbird food at the store and instead easily make homemade hummingbird food? It’s easy and only takes 2 ingredients. No red food dye!

Make hummingbird food at home

Other than saving gas by not driving to the store, making hummingbird food at home is a great way to save money and not put another plastic jug into the trash. And you won’t have to be concerned about what exactly is being used to make that store bought hummingbird food red.

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Since this homemade hummingbird food is only two ingredients: water and sugar, you’ll know exactly what your birds are getting! This is an actual label from a store bought hummingbird food bottle

I avoid artificial colors for my own family, so I certainly don’t want to give tiny hummingbirds Red #40. But does hummingbird food have to be red?

Does hummingbird food have to be red?

No, actually it doesn’t. Hummingbirds are drawn to the bright colors of flowers and many hummingbird feeders are already equipped with bright colors. Many use red “flower” shapes with yellow to draw in the hummingbirds, so that’s what they’re attracted to. Red color in the food itself isn’t actually necessary, so please don’t add red food coloring to your hummingbird food.

Interested in feeding other birds in your yard as well? Check out my DIY bird feeders that are a great project for kids and grandkids!

Hummingbird Food Recipe

What you’ll need for homemade hummingbird food:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 cups water

And that’s it! You can make this in any quantity you need, but keep the sugar and water to a 1 to 4 ratio. How to combine the sugar and water:

  1. Stovetop: Heat water on stovetop over medium heat. Add sugar and stir until it’s completely dissolved. Cool before filling hummingbird feeders
  2. Microwave: Heat water in a large microwave-proof bowl for several minutes. Add in sugar and stir until dissolved. Cool before filling hummingbird feeders.
  3. Kettle: Boil water in a kettle, pour four cups in a glass measuring cup. Add in one cup sugar and stir until dissolved. Cool before filling hummingbird feeders.

How to store hummingbird food

This homemade hummingbird food can easily be stored in the refrigerator. I keep mine in a mason jar with these great reusable plastic lids. It can stay in the fridge for several weeks until you need to top off your hummingbird feeders.

Fun Hummingbird Feeders

Looking for a hummingbird feeder to enjoy in your own yard? Here are some great choices:

  • Fuschia Hummingbird Feeder– I love the look of this feeder which mimics a fuschia bloom. Hummingbirds actually feed from the bottom, and this feeder actually looks like yard art!
  • Window Mounted Hummingbird Feeder– My mom has a hummingbird feeder that suctions to one of her windows, and she loves it! It’s a great way to get a closer look at the hummingbirds at your feeder!

Hummingbird Feeding FAQ’s

  • How do I clean my hummingbird feeder? Most hummingbird feeders can be difficult to clean because of narrow necks and small parts. Take the feeder apart completely, including any of the plastic flower parts, and wash in warm soapy water. Use a brush set, like this one, to get into the hard to reach places. Let air dry and refill with hummingbird food, or put away for the winter.
  • When should I take my hummingbird feeder down? This will be a little different for each state, but hummingbirds are migratory birds, so we want to encourage their migration at the right time. When temperatures begin to drop close to freezing or you haven’t seen birds for one to two weeks means it’s time to take it down. Wash your feeder as mentioned above and store it for the next spring.
  • Are there store-bought varieties of hummingbird food without red dyes? Yes! Sweet Seed makes a dye-free hummingbird food that comes in an easy to dispense package. So pick this one up if you get in a pinch.

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