Hummingbirds consume nectar from flowers or sugar water as their primary source of food. The sucrose content of nectars can supply the needed energy of hummingbirds. They use it for their metabolism, rapid flight, and high energy. Hummingbirds also get their water needs from drinking nectars.
They also feed on insects and bugs to get the protein they need on their diet. They also feed on sap for additional energy, pollen as their minor source of protein, and on ashes and sand to get the minerals they need. But what if hummingbirds are having a hard time searching for these food sources?
Having hummingbird food ready is a great way to attract them to your yard. These birds love to go where there is a reliable source of food when flowers are not blooming. Giving them your prepared hummingbird food from time to time will keep them coming to your yard.
Making hummingbird food at your home is quick and easy. You can even do it in a microwave for fast and hassle-free preparation.
Benefits of Making Your Hummingbird Food
It is Easy to Make
Hummingbird food is simple to make because sugar and water are all you need. You can use plain white sugar and tap water to make a hummingbird nectar. A mixture of 4 parts water and 1 part sugar is close to the amount of sucrose they get when feeding on natural nectars.
It Can Save you Money
Bird feeding can be expensive if you regularly purchase feeds than make them. Hummingbird food only requires two ingredients available at your home and may only cost you a few pennies. You can produce gallons of hummingbird nectar which is more than the amount you get when you purchase commercially-made nectar that costs you dollars.
You can Avoid Chemicals and Preservatives
As a bird feeder, we only want to give pure, healthy, and all-natural food to birds. By making your own sugar mix solution, you can safely avoid chemicals and preservatives which can be found in commercially available nectars.
You can Easily Adjust the Concentration
Since you are the one making the solution, you can easily adjust the sweetness of the nectar. A slightly stronger concentration will supply hummingbirds with more energy they need during the migration or in winter.
You can Control The Quantity
You can make nectar with just enough amount so that it will not be put to waste. When you purchase commercially-made nectar, you have to consume it before its expiration date. You can also make extra nectar solution if you are feeding a large number of birds.
Making Hummingbird Food in The Microwave
What you Will Need
- Microwave-safe container
- 1 cup pure cane white sugar
- 4 cups water
Steps in Making Hummingbird Food in The Microwave
1. Put 4 cups of water into the microwave-safe container.
2. Heat the water in the microwave for a few minutes and make sure that it boils to remove any impurities that may be present.
3. Take the water out from the microwave and put in 1 cup of sugar. Stir well using a spoon until it is entirely dissolved. Do not microwave the solution because sugar molecules are broken down by microwave and can change its nutritional value.
4. Let the mixture cool completely for four hours. If you want to cool it fast, you can put ice on it. Be sure to test that it is not warm or cold before you put it in the feeders. It should be room temperature.
5. Fill your feeders with your homemade hummingbird food. Store the remaining mixture in a clean jar and put it in the refrigerator.
How long Does Hummingbird Food Last?
If you made a larger amount, you can store the unused mixture in the refrigerator which can last for up to 7-10 days without spoiling. You should not store and use it for more than two weeks. If you start seeing any mold growing on your stored hummingbird food, it is time to throw it away and make a new one.
Make sure to clean and sterilize your feeders before filling them to avoid contamination, which can easily spoil the sugar solution. It is also advisable to place the feeders in shaded areas out of direct sunlight as this causes faster fermentation leading to spoilage. Regularly check the hummingbird food for signs of spoiling.
You may want to change the feeders every three days to keep giving them fresh food. It will keep hummingbirds from coming and can attract more too.
Dos and Don’ts
- Avoid using red food coloring in making hummingbird food. Food coloring does not have any benefits to birds and can damage their little kidney. If you want to attract them, a nice hummingbird feeder will do its job.
- Do not boil the sugar and water together because this can remove the nutrients from the sugar.
- Let the food cool down before you put it in the feeder. Hot nectar can injure the tongue of birds that can keep them away from your yard.
- Avoid using any sugar other than the pure cane white granulated sugar. We do not want any additives, and some sugar has a chemical composition that can cause illness or death to birds.
- If you are using tap water and it has a strong odor or too many chemicals, switch to using filtered or purified water. Water that has impurities can cause rapid fermentation leading to spoilage.
Providing hummingbirds with food is a rewarding experience, especially if you are the one who prepared it. There are several ready-made hummingbird foods in the market, but nothing beats the fun and benefits of making one at home. It is inexpensive, safe, healthy, satisfying, and will definitely attract more birds to your yard.
The use of the microwave is a quick, easy, and hassle-free method you can do to make hummingbird food. The ingredients are readily available, and the process takes only a few minutes of your time.