Hummingbirds are an absolute delight to have in the garden. Their diminutive size and their incredibly fast-moving wings have intrigued birdwatchers for years. If you’ve had the pleasure of spotting hummingbirds near your home, there’s obviously something nearby that they like to eat. To draw more of these lovely creatures towards your home and to complement your garden, you might want to learn how to make your own hummingbird food. The right concoction can be low in cost, healthy for hummingbirds, and easy to put together.
Why Make Your Own Hummingbird Nectar?
These birds flap away at an incredible 90 beats per second. As such, they are constantly burning calories at an incredibly rapid rate. They eat a lot in order to keep up their momentum. To meet their calorie needs, they eat consider amounts of nectar and insects; almost half their own body weights every day. They visit between 1,000 and 2,000 flowers daily, and the eat about once every ten minutes. With this in mind, you can see how stocking your garden with the right food is the perfect way to lure them in.
Ready-made nectar for hummingbirds can be costly, and like most bird enthusiasts, you probably want to have a clear understanding of exactly what you’re sharing. While store-bought products might list their ingredients, you can never be sure about overall ingredient quality, potency, or purity. The best way to feel good about what you’re putting into your feeders is by mixing up these concoctions yourself.
Good Nectar Can Be A Simple, Two-Ingredient Mix
Fortunately, it won’t take much or any special talent to create the type of food that hummingbirds love dining on. In fact, you’ll just a cup of hot water, and one-quarter cup of refined white sugar. Simply dissolve the sugar in the hot water and then let it cool. If necessary, bring the water to a boil on the stove first. As it cools, the mixture will gradually thicken to a consistency that you can later ladle into your feeders.
You might be surprised that making hummingbird nectar is so quick and easy. After all, most store-bought nectar has a very distinctive red hue. This is actual due to an added dye that provides no nutritional value to birds. In fact, most red dyes have already proven to be incredibly detrimental to humans. They only exist in store-bought products to make these seem more authentic to consumers. Apart from their red dye, these mixtures generally contain little else beside water and sugar.
Helping Overwintering Birds
During the warmer spring and summer months, you’ll be complementing the plants in your garden that are nectar producing by loading up your bird feeders with your own homemade humming bird food. This incredibly basic recipe is perfect for these birds given that the mixture and proportions result in something quite close to natural nectar. In the cooler fall and winter months, however, mixing this nectar up and putting it out can sometimes by quite helpful.
Some hummingbirds may stop by on crisper days to fuel up for long migrations. These supplies can given them greater energy for building up their reserves. You may find that you also have a few overwintering hummingbirds in your area. These are birds that linger behind and that will invariably require more energy for staying sufficient warm and maintaining their necessarily high activity levels.
When the weather grows cooler, think about increasing the concentration of sugar in your mixture. This will increase the amount of energy that hummingbirds can get from feeding in your yard. It will also create a nectar with a slightly thicker consistency. As a result, the nectar won’t freeze as easily, and can remain a viable source of nutrients for local hummingbirds, well into winter.
Cleaning Your Hummingbird Feeders Out
The excitement of making your own nectar can make it difficult to wait for this hot, syrupy solution to completely cool. While you wait, you will find that this is the perfect opportunity to clean out your feeders. This will remove any blockages in the feeding ports so that birds can use the unit more effectively. It will also prevent your new batch of nectar from being contaminated by old residues.