It just takes a little bit of sugar and whole lot of love to help support these tiny little creatures.

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That old saying “you eat like a bird” was meant to imply that a person just picks at their food while consuming very little. This simile suggests that birds don't eat much but, in reality, this could not be farther from the truth. The tiny and much-loved hummingbird may be one of the smallest birds in the world but fluttering those miniscule wings at up to 90 beats per second will burn valuable calories. Watching hummingbirds quickly flit from flower to flower, many hummingbird enthusiasts wonder if their plants and flowers offer enough nourishment, and add feeders to their yard filled with homemade hummingbird food.  

What Do Hummingbirds Eat?

To maintain proper weight and satisfy their super-fast metabolism, a hummingbird will consume half its body weight in bugs and nectar, feeding every 10-15 minutes and visiting 1,000-2,000 flowers per day. Each year gardeners and bird lovers cultivate plants and flowers that will attract hummingbirds in order to offer a ready source for nutrition. Help the birds even further and complement nectar-rich plants by placing a hummingbird feeder in your yard. Avoid the commercial feed and make your own hummingbird food with these simple steps.

How to Make Hummingbird Food

What You Need:

1/4 cup refined white sugar – Plain white table sugar is sucrose, which, when mixed with water, very closely mimics the chemical composition of natural nectar. Organic, natural, and raw sugars contain levels of iron that may be harmful. Never use honey, as it can promote dangerous fungal growth.

1 cup boiling water - If you are using chlorinated municipal water, you especially need to boil the water to help reduce the amount of chlorine present in the water.

What You Do:

Stir sugar into boiling water until sugar is dissolved. Let sugar water mixture cool completely, then fill the hummingbird feeder and hang outside.

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You do not need to add red food coloring to the sugar water. While the red color certainly attracts hummingbirds, it is safer to use feeders that have bright red parts, or tie bright red ribbons close to the feeder. Better still, cluster pots of brightly colored flowers around the feeder in order to attract the attention of hummingbirds.