Hummingbird Nectar

"This is my little hummingbird friend's favorite nectar. I know some people don't add the coloring, but my little hummer refuses to drink unless it is red. If you have a less picky humminbird then you don't need to bother with the coloring. I have heard conflicting informations from "experts" regarding the use of food color. If your hummingbird doesn't object...leave it out...mine does object and hasn't had problems so I use it. Luckily I live in Florida and can enjoy seeing hummingbirds all year long! :o) "
photo by true2myself photo by true2myself
photo by true2myself
photo by John G. photo by John G.
photo by John G. photo by John G.
photo by Chef Joey Z. photo by Chef Joey Z.
photo by V.A.718 photo by V.A.718
Ready In:
4 cups


  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 3 -5 drops red food coloring (optional)


  • Combine ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • Allow sugar to dissolve and remove from heat.
  • Let the nectar cool and then pour into your feeder.
  • Store remaining nectar in the refrigerator.

Questions & Replies

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  1. Ann V.
    Please remove the optional ingredient of red food coloring from your hummingbird nectar recipe. Adding food coloring ensures a slow death for hummingbirds
  2. mbennettwcfg
    I have a hummingbird who sits perched on one of my feeders and will attack any other hummingbird who tries to drink from it. How can I get him to "back off" so the other birds may use it. I do have two other feeders, and he doesn't bother to chase them off - only on the one he sits on. Anyone have the same experience? Please help. Thank you.
  3. amyjackson1
    How often do I change the nectar and clean the feeder?
  4. sharondhall1984
  5. Sherrie B.
    Ca i add raspberry jello, just a bit, for coloring?


  1. pfoenix50
    This is the standard ratio for homemade nectar, but be advised red food coloring is unnecessary and can be harmful to our tiny feathered friends
  2. Jan W.
    PLEASE DO NOT USE THIS RECIPE! Hummingbird experts have done research and will tell you over and over to not ever use red food coloring, which is Red Dye, a petrochemical, in hummingbird nectar. It harms hummingbirds. Experts also tell us to always, and only use the 4 to 1 ratio. That is 4 parts water and 1 part pure granulated cane sugar. Only. Please follow the experts from Audubon to Cornell U Ornithology and make it right or don't make it at all.
  3. Christine S.
    Please don't add food coloring to your hummingbird food. Just get a brightly colored feeder to represent the color of flowers. Flower nectar has no color and food dye is harmful so leave it out of your homemade nectar. See this link:<br/><br/>
  4. John W.
    Use a red feeder and you shouldn't need to color the nectar.
  5. Annamarie D.
    i saw your recipe for hummingbird nectar ...but i corrected it. I removed the food colouring option because food colouring in a hummingbirds nectar has lead to many hummingbird colouring should never be used...only sugar and water. There is something in the colouring that hurts their tiny systems...


  1. Phil H.
    I mix 2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water to make a hummingbird food concentrate to store in the fridge. When I add it to a feeder, I mix three parts water to one part concentrate. I mark the feeder's 1/4 full level, fill to that line with concentrate, and then I top it off with fresh water. This helps the concentrate last longer, and it also helps to warm the feed water before I hang it outside.
  2. Shawnmarie S.
    Left out the red dye
  3. Jeremy W.
    Yeah, you don't need the food coloring.
  4. Francis S.
    I prefer smaller batches. I use 400 mL of water with 100mL of white sugar. Once cool, I put 100mL per feeder. I hate wasting food, but also do not want to make my Hummingbird friends sick.



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