Total Time
Prep 10 mins
Cook 0 mins

This is such an easy recipe. I don't add any food color to this as I've heard it's not good for the little birds. Do not use honey or other types of sugar, the birds cannot digest them. Also if you have trouble with ants you can now get a little item that has ant repellent in it that doesn't harm the birds. I have one on my hummer feeder.


  1. Bring the water to a boil.
  2. Take the water off the heat and add the sugar.
  3. Stir to dissolve completely.
  4. Let the nectar cool.
  5. Place in a clean hummingbird feeder and hang outside for the birds.
  6. Note:.
  7. Change the food at least every three to five days with a new batch to keep it fresh. Remember don't use food coloring.
  8. Check the bird feeder regularly and every time you change the food to see if any gray mold has formed inside the feeder base, or, any ants have crawled inside to get at the sugar water.
  9. If you see any take the feeder down and throw the bird food away. It's not good for the birds to drink this. Chances are they won't drink it anyway.
  10. Clean the hummingbird feeder by rinsing with warm water. Then, put a few drops of bleach into the water inside the feeder and clean with a bottle brush.
  11. Once clean, rinse thoroughly with fresh water and let dry.
  12. Fill up with new food and place outside.
  13. The birds will love you for it!
Most Helpful

The recipe of One cup sugar to 4 cups water is correct. It is NOT neccesary to boil the water.<br/>First fill your refrigerator container with the dry sugar and then add the HOTTEST tap water you can get. Add the water to the sugar. Close the lid on the container and shake shake shake for about 30 seconds till all the sugar dissolves. Keep refrigerated.<br/>IMPORTANT: the original recipe says to clean the feeders with BLEACH. NO NO. NEVER NEVER. Bleach can leave a residue that will kill a hummer. No soap either. Use good old vinegar-which is natural and easily washes away. I use about 50% vinegar (either white or apple cider vinegar) and 50% HOT water.Rinse the feeder well before refilling.<br/>In HOT climates -don't fill the feeders full as the nectar ferments and should be changed every other day. It makes no sense to throw half of the nectar away. Just use less.<br/>I have 10 feeders within a 20 x 20 foot area and have counted as many at 50 hummers at once. Where I live in the California Desert (Palm Springs) we regularly have 7 different species coming and going with the seasons.Our year around residents are Anna's and Rufous.

BlueDesert June 16, 2013

There's a lot of well-meaning misinformation floating around about feeding hummingbirds, so it's not surprising that some of it has shown up in the reviews. Here's my perspective as someone who's studied hummingbirds professionally for more than 25 years: <br/><br/>* Hummingbirds visit flowers and feeders for energy and water. They meet all their other nutritional needs (protein, vitamins, minerals, etc.) by eating insects and spiders (a good reason to avoid using pesticides in your yard). <br/>* Artificial coloring isn't a huge health issue for us because we consume such small amounts, but hummingbirds can drink three times their weight in nectar or sugar water every day. If you can't resist coloring your sugar water, use a teaspoon or two of concentrated fruit juice (tart cherry gives a nice bright red color, but the birds don't seem to like the taste of cranberry).<br/>* Organic sugar isn't fully refined, and that dingy color comes in part from iron, which hummingbirds have a low tolerance for. Pure white sugar is safest.<br/>* Boiling isn't strictly necessary, but it does help the sugar dissolve and the solution stay fresh a little longer. Microwaving is also okay, but don't use hot tap water unless you have a special instant hot water dispenser at your kitchen sink. The CDC warns against drinking or cooking with ordinary hot tap water because it can contain elevated levels of lead, so it doesn't belong in hummingbird feeders, either. <br/>* Both vinegar (full-strength) and bleach (diluted) are perfectly okay for cleaning feeders, but bleach is a more powerful disinfectant. As long as you rinse the feeder well, any residual chlorine will be neutralized by the sugar in the solution. Soaps and detergents can be a problem if the feeder has nooks and crannies that you can't reach to scrub and rinse, but some well-designed feeders can be washed on the top rack of a dishwasher.<br/> * If the sugar water in your feeder "turns black" within three days, you likely have a problem with contamination of the feeder and/or the sugar.

tzunun June 20, 2014

I'm so glad you posted this here. I never remember the ratio. And I'm also glad you left out the red dye. All the experts say that the red on the feeder is what attracts the hummers not the red in the liquid. In fact, some experts say the dye can be harmful. thanks!

Wish I Could Cook May 22, 2010