This healthy hummingbird nectar recipe and glass feeders will keep those pretty hummingbirds coming back to your garden year after year.
We have 4 species of hummingbirds that visit Joybilee Farm each spring — rufous hummingbirds, calliope hummingbirds, and black chinned come regularly. Some summers we’ve also seen ruby-throated hummers. They raise their babies in the spruce and pine trees around our log house. It’s delightful watching them buzz back and forth with their territorial antics. They let us know when the feeders are empty by coming to the diningroom window or visiting us on the deck. When we fill the feeders with our healthy hummingbird nectar recipe, they come back to say, “Thank you”.
Inviting hummingbirds to your garden by providing nectar and habitat is one of the easiest ways to connect with nature. Hummingbirds are an easy bird for children to identify. And their antics delight young and old, alike. When you supply hummingbird nectar and flowers that meet their habitat needs, you’ll have them coming back to your garden every spring.
Not your momma’s hummingbird nectar recipe
In the old days housewives would boil water, mix in white sugar, and red food colouring, and fill up a plastic hummingbird feeder with the syrup. But things have changed. The sugar we have today is genetically modified. The plastic feeders give off BPA, a hormone disrupting chemical, when they are exposed to direct sunlight. The red food coloring is carcinogenic. No one wants to harm the hummers when we put out our hummingbird feeders. But what can we do?
Here’s some tips for healthier hummingbird nectar
- Use glass instead of plastic feeders
- Omit the red food coloring — use a red bottle instead
- Use organic sugar or cane sugar instead of conventional GMO sugar
- No need to boil the water first, the hummingbirds introduce bacteria from their bills anyway.
- Use filtered water instead of chlorinated, floridated tap water
- Change the water every few days when the temperatures are high
How to attact hummingbirds to your garden
- Plant red flowers like bee balm, holly hock, columbine, and fuchia
- Plant tubular flowers like lupines, day lilies, petunias, and salvia
- Offer nectar in several feeders around the garden
- Offer nesting sites by planting conifers near the feeders.
Red Bee Balm or Monarda is especially attractive and easy to grow. It is hardy to zone 3, perennial, and easy to grow. The plant has medicinal benefits, much like oregano. From the mint family, it spreads easily and comes back every year.
What to avoid when making hummingbird nectar
- Raw honey
- Genetically modified sugar
- Commercial hummingbird nectar powders
- Food coloring
Heathiest hummingbird nectar recipe
This easy hummingbird nectar recipe has only 2 ingredients. It is easy to mix up as you need it and doesn’t require any special equipment.
Yield: 2 cups
1/2 cup organic sugar
2 cups of filtered water
There’s no need to boil or sterilize the water or the hummingbird feeders. Mix the sugar and water together in a Mason jar until the sugar crystals are dissolved. Pour into clean hummingbird feeders. It’s important to wash the hummingbird feeder before you fill it to minimize bacterial contamination.
Refill the hummingbird feeders as they empty. Put up a minimum of two hummingbird feeders to make a place for all hummingbirds to feed. The territorial nature of the hummingbirds mean that one bird may dominate a feeder, preventing other hummingbirds from partaking. (Check out this territorial behavior in the video below). One bird can’t defend two feeders so other birds get to drink as well.
The best hummingbird feeder
These are the hummingbird feeders we’ve switched to. They stay fresher longer than the plastic feeders we used to have. They are already red so no need to use food coloring. The red colour is on the outside of the bottle so it doesn’t come in contact with the nectar. They are nonreactive. Since they are glass they are easy to keep clean. The tray is nonrusting metal with a plastic base so it is also easy to clean, virtually leak proof, with no sharp edges. Because of the way the feeding hole is designed there are no problems with wasps, ants, or bees feedling on the nectar and chasing the hummers away.
We’ve been using these feeders for 5 years without any problems.
Make the switch to healthy hummingbird nectar and glass feeders now and keep those pretty hummingbirds coming back to your garden year after year.
How many species of hummingbirds are regular visitors to your garden?