In the natural world, hummers feed on a combination of flower nectar and
insects. Flower nectar is a simple chemical solution of sugar and water.
Hummers seem to like sucrose best – table sugar – and it is the most
digestible. Making your own nectar ensures that there are no preservatives
or food coloring. Using tap water will add electrolytes if your water is hard.
If it is soft, add just a pinch of salt to a quart of nectar. Too much salt and
the hummers won’t drink it.
To make your own mixture, bring the water to a boil and stir the sugar into
the hot water at a ratio of 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. The solution will
keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Making your own nectar is
easy and often superior to using packaged mixes, as our experience has
shown that the hummers prefer homemade sugar water.
Please don’t use food coloring, honey, brown sugar or
sugar substitutes, as they can be harmful to hummers.
LOTS TO KNOW
• Besides nectar, Hummingbirds consume protein in the form of insects
which they find inside flowers, on plants and in trees, in spider webs
and in midair as they travel through your yard. Consider that when using
pesticides in your yard and gardens. Hummers also drink water.
• Hummers feed 5 - 8 times an hour.
• Hummers have the greatest energy output, gram for gram, of any known
warm-blooded animal. If your sugar water freezes, replace it immediately
(even at dawn). They rely on established food supplies.
• A Hummingbird’s wings can beat 200 times per second during courtship!
• A Hummingbird’s tongue is roughly twice the length of its beak. It licks
the nectar. (Approximately 13 licks per second!) You might see its beak
and think that it can’t reach the nectar in the bottom of the feeder. Look
closely with binoculars to see the tongue.
• The Bee Hummingbird is the smallest hummingbird in the world at
2" long, weighing 1⁄15 of an ounce!
Under no circumstance should insecticides or other poisons be used at