Are you one of those people who has been entertaining themselves during the coronavirus quarantine by watching the birds at the feeder from a window? Welcome to the club. Watching the backyard bird feeder can actually make for some pretty riveting content and now that we’re on week six, we are getting so good, we’re starting to be able to differentiate the different birds. Our favorite? The hummingbird, of course.
Even if you are not into birdwatching — during the COVID-19 outbreak or otherwise — we can all agree that hummingbirds are pretty fascinating creatures. Did you know the average hummingbird weighs anywhere from 4 to 8 grams? According to Discover Wildlife, the smallest hummingbird species is the bee hummingbird, which can weigh as little as 2 grams — that’s less than a nickel.
Besides being incredibly small, hummingbirds are fast. Like, really fast. Their wings can beat as many as 50 to 80 beats per second, depending on the species of hummingbird. In fact, their wings beat so quickly, the human eye can only see them as a blur.
Being so small and so fast, hummingbirds have extremely fast metabolisms that require them to eat half their body weight in nectar each day. Hummingbirds eat nectar, as well as smaller insects, spiders, tree sap, and they’ll even eat honey and sugar.
If you want to attract hummingbirds to your backyard, there’s a really simple way to do that. All you have to do is make some DIY hummingbird nectar and put it outside in a bird feeder that will attract hummingbirds.
Keep reading to find out how to make DIY hummingbird nectar!
What’s in hummingbird nectar?
This isn’t an exact replica of the nectar hummingbirds eat in the wild, but it will work all the same. Nectar is super sweet, which is why refined white sugar is the crucial ingredient to your DIY nectar.
But on its own, sugar isn’t enough. To make your own DIY version of hummingbird nectar, you will need both sugar and water. Make sure not to add anything to the sugar-water mixture, especially food coloring. While you may have heard that hummingbirds are attracted to the color red — and it’s true, too — it is better to attract the hummingbirds to the red color of the bird feeder, rather than red nectar.
How to make DIY hummingbird nectar:
To make DIY hummingbird nectar, you will need sugar and water. According to Aviary.org, you should mix one cup of sugar with four cups of water.
As mentioned earlier, hummingbirds are attracted to the color red. To more effectively attract hummingbirds, you should use a red bird feeder. Most bird feeders that are specifically designed for hummingbirds are red and yellow. Some feeders also come with insect guards, which keep small bugs (who are also attracted to the sweet smell of sugar) out of the mixture. If your bird feeder does not come with an insect guard, however, there’s a quick DIY you can do to also ward bugs away. Spread a layer of petroleum jelly on the hanger of your hummingbird feeder; that will keep the insects from getting into the sugar-water.
What kind of water to use in DIY hummingbird nectar?
You don’t have to get fancy with the water for your DIY hummingbird nectar. Room temperature tap water will do just fine.
What kind of sugar to use in DIY hummingbird nectar?
Not sure which kind of sugar to use? Refined white sugar works best for your DIY hummingbird nectar. It will attract the birds and make the mixture smell (and taste) super sweet.s
How else can I lure hummingbirds to my yard?
The sugar-water mixture, combined with the red birdfeeder, should attract hummingbirds to your yard. But if it doesn’t work right away, the flowers you plant in your yard can also help.
According to Aviary.org, bee balm (also known as Monarda didyma) and cardinal flowers (Lobelia cardinalis) attract hummingbirds, so if you need a bit more help encouraging the them to try your homemade nectar, these two perennials will do the trick.
When will I see hummingbirds in my yard?
Aviary.org reports that you can put DIY hummingbird nectar out as early as April. If you’re lucky, you may see them all summer long, until about August.
Some areas may see hummingbirds for even longer than the summer. For example, the Ruby-throat hummingbird appears in Pennsylvania as late in the season as October, according to Aviary.
What else do I need to know about the DIY hummingbird nectar?
If you have extra DIY hummingbird nectar left over from your homemade mixture, don’t put it to waste! You can store extra sugar-water in the fridge for up to two weeks. Since the hummingbird feeder should be changed out every other day, you’ll go through the extra nectar quickly. Before you add more DIY nectar into the feeder, make sure to check that no mold has been growing while it’s been in the fridge.