By Chef Joey Z. on September 19, 2007
Photo by Chef #1802671657
Photo by Chef #1802671657
"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."
Serving Size: 1 (1148 g)
Servings Per Recipe: 1
"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."
"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!"
"The hummingbirds come to my feeder much more frequently with this recipe than they did when I used a store bought mix. I was afraid "my birds' wouldn't find the clear food. Not to worry - they love it, and I do too! Thanks for sharing this simple recipe. The hummingbirds thank you too!"
"This is the same recipe that is suggested on the Arizona Hummingbird Survey's website. Here's what it says there....Fill your feeder with 1 part white granulated sugar to 3 or 4 parts water. DO NOT use red dye, honey, brown sugar, artificial sweeteners, or commercial "instant nectar" mixes! The solution can be made slightly weaker (1 to 5) in the late-spring/early-summer dry season and slightly stronger (1 to 3) from August through February for migrating and wintering birds. Solutions stronger than 1 to 3 may not meet the birds' water needs and are not recommended. Thank you, Chef Joey Z., for not posting with red dye. I try to avoid eating dyes and additives and I certainly wouldn't feed them to one of God's creatures!! I have a glass feeder and I keep the rest of my food in a glass container in the fridge, I don't want to give the poor birds leeched chemicals from plastic containers either, especially ones that sit in the sun. I have lots of plants with blossoms that the birds like so they feed on natural nectar from plants and not just the feeder's nectar. Thanks for posting such a fun spring recipe that is the proper one for the birds!"
"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."
"I have been told by many bird enthusiasts if don't boil the sugar and water together it turns black. I have tried it without and it does turn black. I completely dissolve my sugar by boiling. and I do NOT use 4 cups water, i use 3. My mom uses half and half. We live in an area where we go through about half a gallon a day. If it wasn't working they wouldn't be drinking that much."
"I've been using this super easy recipe since last year when I found a hummingbird nest on a wind chime near my front door. Mommy Loved the nectar and fed it to her babies, Humm & Dinger. The babies loved returning to feed on this recipe after they left the nest."
"Made this today & hung up my hummer feeder & had two customers before the day was over! Hope the word gets out, drinks are sweet & reasonably priced after all! :) This recipe actually inspired me to go out & get my humming bird feeder, thank you for posting!"
"Thanks Every season I forget this simple recipe."
"A great supplement to the flower nectar which so many hummingbirds feed upon here in our yard. I've used this recipe for years and the birds do seem to love it!"
"This recipe should not be used all the time as it does not contain any protein or nutrients. Hummingbirds use up LOTS of energy and need to replace these nutrients to remain healthy"
"I've been using this recipe for some time, and my hummingbirds love it. They're at the feeder several times a day. I do add a little red food color, although it's not necessary. Good tips on keeping the feeder clean. Also, we have very hot weather in the summer, so I clean the feeder more frequently because the food will ferment in the heat. After all, you don't want your hummingbirds flying under the influence."
"Tried this when I first purchased my hummingbird feeder. The birds loved it! Then my sister purchased another feeder and store-bought feeder mix (with red dye) for me for Mother's Day. There was a substantial loss of activity at my feeders. :( Tried it twice before I switched back to this recipe. Activity has picked up again! :) Thank you!"
"my hummingbirds love it!!! This is the first time I have bought a hummingbird feeder .. So I was so excited when I found this recipe and it worked out great but I didn't boil the water I use the hot water and it dissolve just fine!!! I saw one of the reviews someone said that this isn't the only thing you should feed them so what other healthy things can you give them ??? Thank you (o:"
"I used organic sugar but after dissolving, it has brown tint. It seems dumb to be concerned since it is organic but doesn't seem right that it has that dingy look to it."
"Perfect! We have very happy hummingbirds! Thanks for posting."
"Before you hang your feeder ALWAYS put some Vaseline on the hook & the hanger....this will keep ants & all other pesky insects from invading your feeder. Especially on Porches or Eaves!"
"The recipe is good, would have given 5 stars for that but not the part about cleaning with bleach. If you have a dirty feeder you have probably left the solution in it too long. It can be cleaned with vinegar and water but no bleach! I live in Houston and it is very hot when the Hummers arrive. The solution has to be changed out every 2-3 days."
"This is great, I made the recipe last night and put it out, then woke up this morning to come outside & see a family of hummingbirds hovering around the feeder, sharing the nectar. & they keep coming back for more, so it's really good."
"Great recipe, the birds love it!"