Hummingbird Nectar Recipe
We were sitting on our porch in late afternoon and my guy was buzzed.
Or maybe hummed.
The hummingbirds are returning!
Once they get comfortable seeing you, they’ll buzz by you getting to their feeder. It sounds almost like the hum of a weed eater so
mewhere off in the distance–only tiny.
We have two feeders hanging on our porch for them. Red and nothing fancy.
They swoop in, scope out the feeders, then dart back into the trees. Can you see him above?
Having trouble? Try this:
Things about hummingbirds you might want to know . . .
- They’re not timid. They’ll get used to you sitting nearby and will be happy to buzz you on their way to dinner.
- They’re aggressive. They don’t share with other hummers well. It’s good to have more than one feeder.
- They eat a lot. I mean A LOT. Their metabolism is about 100 times that of an elephant’s.
- They can’t walk. A least, not well. They have weak ankles and prefer to perch. In fact, they spend most of their life perching.
- They have the largest brain in proportion to their body size of any bird in the world–like over 4%. FYI: the human brain is about 2% of our body weight.
- They’re also smart. They remember which flower they’ve drunk from and how long it will take that flower to refill with nectar. How they know this, I don’t know. Maybe they have a built-in timer.
- They can see and hear better than humans. But they can’t smell.
- A baby hummingbird is smaller than a penny. The whole nest is about the size of a silver dollar–for those of us who remember silver dollars.
- Male hummingbirds do not help raise their young and do not mate for life. Females do all of the nest building.
(Sound familiar, ladies?)
- They’re the Harrier Jet of birds. They can hover, fly forward and backward.
Okay, now that you are a certified hummingbird genius. We need to feed them.
They eat bugs and nectar. Bugs are pretty self-explanatory. And hard to trap.
Which makes nectar much easier for us. Flower nectar is sucrose. So plain old cane sugar from the grocery store is perfect.
Don’t use anything else, like beet sugar, turbinado, Jell-O, molasses, brown sugar, corn syrup, etc.
Especially, artificial sweeteners! They will visit as many as 1000 flowers a day. They do not need to be on a diet. It will kill them.
Use cane sugar. Period. And NO red food coloring.
You can buy hummingbird nectar and it’s not that expensive–about $1.00 a cup. But, you can make it super easy. And plain, old white cane sugar costs less than a quarter a cup . . . and makes FOUR cups of nectar.
Mix 1 part cane sugar with 4 parts water in a pot and bring to a brief boil.
I mixed 1 cup sugar to 4 cups water.
Do not add red food color. Hummers do seem to like the color red, so get red feeders or tie a red ribbon on your feeder.
They like to perch, but don’t need to. Having perches are fun, though, because they’ll sit to eat and it’s cool to watch.
Wash and rinse well an old soda bottle.
Wash and rinse well your feeders.
I put less than a cup in each feeder. You never want your nectar to go bad. And it will. From heat. From ants or bees. Hummers don’t like bad nectar and they’ll stop coming to visit.
Bad nectar can grow fungus which is deadly to hummers. If they get a fungal infection, it will make their tongue swell so they’re unable to eat. They will starve to death in less than two days. A slow, painful death.
It’s best to change the nectar frequently. Weekly in the beginning with it’s still cool, but as the summer comes, you should change it every other day. I think of it kind of like, “Would I still drink this myself?”
The extra I poured into the soda bottle and stored in the refrigerator. This comes out to about 8 cents a cup. And I don’t have to go to the store. It’s all in my kitchen.
The next day, again early evening. This guy was out late.
Until next time. Be sweet!