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Hummingbird Nectar Recipe

by Tianze Li

Hummingbirds are migratory birds. To avoid the cold and the scarcity of food, they start migrating to the south as early as mid-July. Since it’s now October, this is probably not the best time to put out a hummingbird feeder. Instead, let’s plan ahead for next spring by learning how to make safe hummingbird nectar, along with some fun facts about hummingbirds. Enjoy!


  • Granulated white sugar
  • Water


  1. Mix the sugar and water in a 1 to 4 ratio (for example, 1 cup of sugar with 4 cups of water) until the sugar is dissolved. Do not use honey, brown sugar, molasses, or artificial sugar substitutes because they are too heavy for hummingbirds to digest efficiently and can be fatal to hummingbirds. Be sure to not add red dye because it’s harmful to hummingbirds. Instead, you can use a red or brightly colored feeder to attract hummingbirds.
  2. Fill your hummingbird feeders with the sugar water and place it outside, preferably in a shaded area and away from windows. 
  3. If there’s sugar water left, you can store it in a refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
  4. Change feeders every other day and thoroughly clean them each time. If the weather is hot or the feeder is not placed in a shaded area, clean them at least once a day.

Fun Facts about Hummingbirds

  • According to National Geographic, hummingbirds can flap their wings up to 100 times a second. They are the only birds that can sustain hovering for minutes if necessary.
  • The average weight of a hummingbird is less than a nickel. 
  • A hummingbird’s heart rate can reach over 1200 beats per minute. That’s more than 20 beats per second! A typical hummingbird lifespan is 3 to 5 years, so if you count lifespan by heat beat, the lifespan of hummingbirds is comparable to that of humans.
  • The brain of a hummingbird accounts for 4.2 percent of its body weight. If you measure intelligence by the brain-to-body ratio, they are the most intelligent of all animals, including humans.

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