Frequently Asked Questions About Feeding Hummingbird

Hummingbirds are amazing creatures, with the ability to fly backward using wings that beat about 30 times a second. It’s no wonder people love attracting hummingbirds to their yards to enjoy them up close. Birding experts Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman answer some of your most frequently asked questions about feeding hummingbirds.

Mix four parts hot water to one part sugar. While some people don’t boil their water, it’s best to boil and then let it cool to room temperature to remove any impurities. Be sure to change out the sugar water every few days. You can store extra sugar water in your refrigerator for a week or more.

One of the older red food colorings was found to be toxic to birds, but with the new formulations, I don’t believe that’s still true. However, it isn’t necessary to add red dye or other ingredients to feed hummingbirds. The feeders usually have red parts, which provide enough color to attract hummingbirds.

Stick to clear sugar water when feeding hummingbirds. You should steer clear of brown sugar, powdered sugar, honey and any other ingredient but plain white sugar.

Pure white table sugar is the safest option for mixing nectar for hummingbirds. Many consider organic sugar, which doesn’t tend to be fully refined to pure sucrose, unsafe for feeding birds.

We suggest mixing your own hummingbird sugar water, using 4 parts water to 1 part sugar, and bringing it to a full boil to break down the sugar completely. Once it’s cool, refrigerate what you don’t use between fillings.

Avoid using red dye; the birds don’t need it, and it’s easier to monitor the freshness of colorless sugar water. Another way to avoid mold is to fill feeders only halfway and clean them before each refill. Placing your feeders in the shade will also help keep sugar water from spoiling too quickly.

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