Best Homemade Hummingbird Nectar Recipe
Looking to bring home a piece of Hilltop’s Outdoor Classroom curriculum?
It is not too late in the summer to put out a hummingbird feeder. Here in northern New Jersey, the only hummingbird that is native is the Ruby-Throated. These beautiful little birds migrate south to the tropics sometime in late September or early October, but I have had hummers at my feeders as late as November. As the birds migrate through our area they at times get off course, and a full feeder is a life saver. Hummingbirds must continue to feed as they migrate, and a feeder should be kept filled with fresh nectar until about a month past the last sighting of a bird at the feeder.
Tips for Buying a Feeder
- An inexpensive feeder will work just fine. I use a small feeder that I purchased for less than $3. It works fine and is easy to clean.
- Clean your feeder once a week: This is very important as the feeders tend to grow mold in the hot weather and this can be very harmful to the birds. Nectar should be changed, not topped off, at least once a week in very warm weather. Feeders should be taken apart, scrubbed clean, and then refilled.
Both first and fourth graders at Hilltop maintain hummingbird feeders in the early fall and spring as part of their Outdoor Classroom activities. The following is the recipe I use at home and have taught my students to make when we are in school:
- Dissolve ¼ cup of white granulated sugar in 1 cup of water.
- Microwave, a glass measuring cup works well, for 1 minute.
- Stir the mixture and microwave for 30 seconds more.
Nectar mixture should not be boiled as it concentrates the nectar too much. Let the mixture cool before filling the feeder. Hang the feeder somewhere in the shade if possible and sit back and enjoy one of life’s little miracles, the hummingbird.
Hummingbird nectar stores for about a week in the refrigerator.
Happy bird watching!
By Janet Vigeland, Outdoor Classroom Supervisor