Making your own hummingbird food is easy to do and costs a lot less than store bought mixtures. To make your own hummingbird food, start by bringing 4 cups of water to a boil. Turn off the heat and remove the pan from the hot burner. Add 1 cup of regular white sugar or cane sugar and stir until fully dissolved. Add about 4 to 5 drops of vanilla extract (approximately 1/8 tsp) to the water and stir it up well. If you want you can taste it to be sure it’s not too strong. Do you remember as a child eating honey suckle? It is sweet and has only a hint of flavor. You should just barely taste the vanilla. Remember that hummingbirds naturally eat nectar. If you make the food too strong with flavor it will be foreign to the hummingbirds and they will not eat it. You can also try almond extract or any kind of extract that is nut or berry based. If you really want to experiment, try adding a mixture of a couple of extracts to give the birds a blended treat.
Be sure when making the food that you don’t make too much because after it sits for a while it will grow mold, even if refrigerated. Also, every time you add more sugar water to your feeder be sure to clean it out with a little bit of bleach. This will ensure that it is free of any mold that may be forming in the feeder. It is equally important that you be sure to rinse out all the bleach. Keep rinsing the feeder until you can no longer smell the bleach.
Have fun with this recipe and try different things, hummingbirds like variety just like we do. Try to have a couple of different hummingbird feeders set up so you can try different flavored foods in each to not only attract them but to keep them at your feeder longer.
Never add food coloring to your hummingbird food as it is now known that this decreases the hummingbird’s lifespan. If you would like to add a touch of color to your feeder try wrapping some red cellophane around the water vial on the feeder so you get the red color and don’t harm the hummingbirds. This will allow you to still see how full the feeder is and help to attract your hummingbirds.
Get your feeders out early. Some hummingbirds will migrate back from Mexico, where they stay over the winter, to the United States by late March or early April. This is when the hummingbirds need the feeders most since most flowers are not yet in bloom.
If you encounter an ant problem at your feeder, and most likely you will, there are a few ways to handle them. You can try a Hummingbird Feeder Ant Guard. You can also try a Hummingbird Feeder with an Internal Ant Moat. A feeder with a built in ant moat has a spot on top that you fill with water so the ants can’t get from the top of the feeder down to the nectar nozzles. This should help keep your hummingbirds and you happy without having to deal with ants.
Do you have a special hummingbird food recipe?