Homemade hummingbird food (nectar) recipe

Hummingbirds enjoying a little lunch at my house on a rainy, NW day.

I love the satisfaction of spotting a hummingbird. They are such fast little buggers that you barely get more than a buzzing over your head as they fly to their next sweet spot. My friend gave me a homemade hummingbird nectar recipe many years back – and it works like a charm at beckoning these long-beaked beauties. The birds love the nectar, it’s simple and frugal to make, and it is safe for the birds (unlike some of the red colored packaged stuff from the stores).


4 cups water

1 cup white sugar


Boil water, add sugar, stir until dissolved.

Don’t boil too long – it will change the ratio of sugar to water. You want a ratio of four (4) parts water to one (1) part sugar. So you could do 2 cups water and 1/2 sugar, if you wanted or any quantity that follows the ratio.

Wait for it to cool and add to feeders. If you have leftovers, keep in fridge for up to two weeks.

Don’t add food coloring – it can be harmful. I’ve found red feeders with clear nectar are very effective without adding extra colorings. Also placing the feeder near flowers and/or greenery. Try to avoid spilling – or else you’ll be in the business of attracting ants.

If you don’t spot hummingbirds right away – don’t fret. Just keep putting out the food and they’ll come once they’ve deemed it safe, promise. Then they’ll come in droves. I like the feeders that suction to the window – it’s the easiest way to see them close up.


And just for fun, I want to share one of my favorite mom memories. This is a photo of my son when he was about 9 months old. Watching the hummingbirds fly around the back deck and sip from the feeder. I can’t believe he’s going to be six years old this year. Time flies, almost as fast as a hummingbird. . .

Do you have any secrets for attracting hummingbirds?

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  1. Glad your recipe showed no color ! The red food coloring in the nectar has shown to cause the hummingbird eggs to be so thin that it has caused a problem with the reproduction in the species. So thanks! :) This will make happy reproductive birds!

  2. The Anna’s are here all year around but, in another month or so, the Rufus will be here too!!! Then, your feeders will look like bee hives!!

  3. Love the pictures of the hummers. We feed the Anna’s hummers in the Winter. We keep a full feeder in the house and quickly replace it in the morning. It’s a good idea to buy a second feeder just for this purpose.

  4. Heather J. says:

    Great picture of your sweet son.. I have also heard about food coloring, and I also heard that the hummingbirds don’t like the taste of the store-bought red nectar and tend to avoid those feeders. I use the 1/4 ratio as well and they love it! But I always feel bad when my feeder freezes up in the winter and the hummingbirds just sit at the feeder looking sad and cold! :)

  5. Love it!! We also make our own nectar and have hummingbirds for years. We have feeders in both the front yeard and the backyard that we can see from our windows. This year are fortunate to have a hummingbird nest in our lilac bush. My grandson loves to keep tabs on what the birds are doing. Can’t believe you were able to capture the birds on camera. Ususally by the time I get my camera, they are gone. Nice photos!!

  6. You are such an awesome photgrapher Heather!!! I love the angle of the photo you took of your son. I’m a photographer as well and I love seeing creative photography on blogs. By the way, love your blog!!! Keep up the good work. (:

    • Miss M – Thank you for taking the time to comment. I love taking photos. LOVE it. So I’m so glad they are appreciated. :) And I’m glad you like the blog, too. :)

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