how to feed hummingbirds: hummingbird feeder recipe, when and how to feed

When you know how to feed hummingbirds, they appreciate it. There may not be enough natural food available and that's where we can help.

Hummingbirds have voracious appetites. They are always looking for more food.

How-to-feed-hummingbirdsFeed the hungry hummingbirds
(but not this way)

how to feed hummingbirds

Hummingbirds are high-energy birds. They burn a lot of calories every day. They eat every 10 to 15 minutes. They eat approximately twice their weight in food every day.

  • Hummingbirds may visit between 1,000 to 2,000 flowers a day looking for food. But what if there are not enough food available for them?

The hummingbirds are very happy to come to our feeders. Let's answer some questions you may have.

  • What do hummingbirds eat in nature?
  • What is the hummingbird feeder recipe?
  • Do we put red food coloring into their food?
  • What about pests and hummers fighting at the feeder?
  • When do we put out their feeders?
  • When do we stop feeding the hummingbirds?


what do hummingbirds eat?

Hummingbirds' natural food is flower nectar. So plant and grow some of the hummingbird's favorite flowers.

plant the hummingbirds favorite flowers

Hummers supplement their diet with small insects and spiders for protein and other nutrients.

Some types of hummingbirds eat other things. The Ruby-throated and Rufous Hummingbirds have been seen eating tree sap from the holes made by sapsuckers.

The sugar content of the hummingbird’s favorite flowers is approximately twenty-five percent.

  • This gives us the proportions for our hummingbird feeder recipe.

selecting the best hummingbird feeder

We all know hummingbirds like red, so feeders with red on them will attract the hummingbirds.

Select hummingbird feeders with perches and red on themHummers like feeders with perches

Glass or plastic feeders both work. The glass feeders are more durable. Plastic feeders work just, but they may warp after a period of time.

Hummingbirds spend about 80 percent of their time perching. Feeders with perches allow the hummingbirds to sit down while they are eating and stay at the feeder longer.

Start out using a small feeder. After you are getting a lot of hummers you will want to change to a larger feeder. Then you won't have to fill the feeders so often.


let's start feeding hummingbirds

How to feed hummingbirds is fun and easy!

Put fresh hummingbird food recipe in the feeders once a week and more often during hot weather.

how to make hummingbird nectar

  • Four cups water + one cup white sugar (don't use brown sugar) this makes the twenty-five percent solution they prefer.
  • Mix the sugar into boiling water to kill anything that shouldn't be there.

  • Cool the hummingbird feeder food before placing it in a clean feeder. Extra hummingbird food may be stored in the refrigerator for a few days.



  • It is not necessary to use red coloring when making homemade hummingbird food. There is plenty of red on their feeders to attract them.
  • Absolutely do not use honey in your hummingbird feeder recipe! Honey can support a fungus that causes the hummingbird's tongues to swell and it can cause their death. We don't want to harm God's gift of hummingbirds.
  • By the same token do not use artificial sweeteners. They do not provide any nutrients.

How to make hummingbird nectarThe hummingbird line-up

where to hang hummingbird feeders

  • Hang the feeder in the shade between 3 to 7 feet off of the ground.

How to feed hummingbirds includes keeping the feeders clean. Various fungus or bacteria can grow in the hummingbird feeders. They like sugar, too.

Even if the feeders are not empty, you still need to change the food once a week and give the feeders a thorough cleaning.

During hot weather you need to put fresh food in the feeder twice a week. Rinse the feeders with very hot water before you fill them.

  • Then once a week give the feeders a thorough cleaning.

cleaning the feeders

Clean the feeder thoroughly before putting fresh food in it. Hot water with a little vinegar will kill any bacteria or fungus.

Clean the feeders with - 4 parts water: 1 part white vinegar

Use a bottle-brush and/or a pipe cleaner to get into the small areas of the feeder.

Rinse the feeder and rinse again before using.

If there are parts that are hard to get to, put a few grains of dry rice in with the vinegar solution. Shake it and the rice will help clean off things that may be stuck.

Rinse thoroughly and rinse again before using.


pests in the feeder

Are you having problems with insects or bees eating the food? You can get a feeder with bee guards.

Or use a flying saucer shaped feeder. When you feed the hummingbirds, only fill the feeder partially full so the insects can’t reach the food.

If ants are crawling down the wire that holds the feeder and getting in the hummingbird food, you can buy or make a small water container to hang above the feeder and hook the feeder wire to it.

The ants won’t go through the water.

A second way to deter ants is to hang your feeder with monofilament fishing line. The ants can't hang onto the fishing line.

Keep pest out of your hummingbird food with a saucer shaped feederKeep pest out with a saucer shaped feeder

hummingbirds fighting at the feeder

Hummingbirds are territorial and they may chase other hummers away to keep them from eating out of ‘their’ feeder.

So when you feed hummingbirds hang another feeder in a different spot where they can’t see it. That's how to feed hummingbirds.

They can defend only one feeder at a time.


when to stop feeding hummingbirds

  • Put the feeders up and start to feed hummingbirds in the spring, usually April.

Farther north you will start a bit later.

  • Don't stop feeding the hummingbirds until you see no more hummingbirds for at least a couple of weeks.

This normally would be by the end of September.

An important point about how to feed hummingbirds - Any late migrating hummingbirds will be able to find food on their trip south.

More about feeding hummingbirds


feeding hummingbirds in winter

  • Some parts of California, Arizona and Texas have hummingbirds all year.

So if you live in those areas, how to feed hummingbirds takes a commitment to maintain the hummingbird's food all year.

My California sister lives where she gets lots of hummingbirds at her house.

One winter the snow caught a bunch of hummers at her house. They stayed all winter. She sent me a photo of her hummingbirds coming to the feeder in the snow.

Feeding Hummers in the SnowFeeding Hummers in the Snow

What an amazing photo!

She would bring the feeders in after dark to keep the hummingbird food from freezing. And put them out again before daylight.

Sometimes on cold days she would have to replace a frozen feeder with thawed hummingbird food from the house.


enjoy these wonderful gifts, you know how to feed hummingbirds


more about birds

  • Types of Hummingbirds

    What hummingbirds visit the United States? 15 types of hummingbirds with photos, information and identification tips, black chinned, ruby throated hummingbirds

  • Hummingbird Flowers

    Planting a garden with hummingbird flowers will attract the hummingbirds. 20 flowers for hummingbirds that will bring the joy of hummingbirds to your yard.

  • Hummingbird Facts

    Amazing hummingbird facts about their metabolism, hummingbird migration, hummingbird nests, flight, how do hummingbirds eat, colors, what is torpor and a gorget?

  • Attract Backyard Birds

    Three tried and true ways to attract backyard birds. Feeding wild birds in our backyard bird feeders is fun, but water for birds attracts the most bird species.




share with others