How to Make Hummingbird Nectar (Step by Step)

Hummingbirds are some of the smallest birds in the world. Flapping their tiny wings burns up calories fast so to maintain their momentum, hummingbirds need to eat a lot. And what do they like to eat? Nectar of course. If you don’t have a lot of nectar in your yard you may not attract hummingbirds so you can make your own hummingbird nectar with two simple ingredients – sugar and water!


Why do Hummingbirds need to feed so often?

These fast flying birds consume half their body weight in bugs and nectar, feeding every 10 to 15 minutes. They will probably visit from 1,000 to 2,000 flowers per day just to get enough nectar. With this DIY nectar recipe, you can help hardworking hummingbirds get the nutrients they need.

How often should I change hummingbird nectar?

Hummingbirds like fresh nectar. If you make your own hummingbird nectar and put it in a feeder, you will want to change it at least once a week, every few days if it is very hot. Hummingbird nectar can turn sour. If the nectar becomes sour they hummingbirds won’t drink it. You will know it is sour from the smell but also by seeing what the hummingbirds do when they come to your feeder. If they come but won’t drink the nectar is probably sour. Rinse out your hummingbird feeder well with a bottle brush but do not use any form of cleanser or detergent.


Video: Mike Fernandez/Audubon. Footage: Camilla Cerea/Audubon

Hummingbird Nectar Ingredients:

  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • Bowl
  • Spoon

Important! you should never use red dye here as it is not necessary to attract hummingbirds and the chemicals could prove to be harmful to the birds.

How to Make Hummingbird Nectar:

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

2. Cool. Add a bit of ice if you want to speed the cooling process along.

3. Fill your hummingbird feeder.

4. Hang up your feeder outside and wait for the hummingbirds to arrive.

A quicker way to make hummingbird feeder nectar is to microwave a cup of water, stir in the sugar, add a couple of ice cubes and wait about 5 minutes.


It’s so simple to make your own hummingbird nectar at home that you not only save money because you aren’t buying the pre-made mix, you can make it easily with just sugar and water.