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Feeding Hummingbirds

Feeding Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds Rely on Nectar as a Source of Food

During nesting season, these tiny birds not only feed on nectar, but on insects they catch in mid-flight! By providing them with a reliable source of nectar with a variety of flowers in your garden is one way you can help them, but you may also set up nectar feeders as well.


The Audubon has concocted this hummingbird recipe using refined sugar only.

While the temptation is to feed hummingbirds “natural” sugars, alternatives such as honey, natural and raw sugars can kill hummingbirds. Honey promotes toxic fungal growth and natural sugars have levels of iron that are toxic to hummingbirds. Plain white table sugar is the ONLY recommended sugar you should use.

What you will need:

  • 1/4 cup refined sugar

  • 1 cup boiling water

  • Bowl

  • Spoon

Note: There's no need for red dye here. Red coloring is not necessary and the chemicals could prove to be harmful to the birds.


  1. Mix sugar and boiling water until sugar is dissolved.

  2. Cool and fill feeder.

  3. Remember to replace the hummingbird food every week, more often in hot weather.

  4. Keep the feeders clean, read our article: Bird Bath & Feeder Hygiene.

Feeder Placement

Because they have such long beaks, hummingbird window strikes are often deadly, that is why feeders must be placed very far from windows so that there is no reason for them to approach the house. If you cannot get a feeder 30-40+ feet away from the house then put the feeder right up next to your window so that the hummingbirds stop at the feeder instead of flying into the glass. If your garden shed or garage has any reflective glass, please cover it with decals or hang items right in front of the windows so that they do not see the reflective surface of the window. Please do this with house windows as well. Even hanging some old CDs or DVDs from a string in front of your reflective glass will deter birds from striking windows. There are many decals and window tapes that you can also use: Feather Friendly Solution and Zen Curtains.

Hummingbirds Still Need Food in the Fall

Travelling great distances (over 3,000 km or more in one migration season), these tiny birds need extra energy for their long journeys. While it may seem like summer has come to an end, hummingbirds are still around, with some coming from up north and slowly making their way down south. Our experts are recommending keeping feeders out until early-mid October.

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