Sunday, September 2, 2007

Feeding a Flock of Hummingbirds

This summer has been filled with new experiences for me...being dive-bombed by hummingbirds is not one I expected. Yet, it has happened several times. Those birds are greedy.

I didn't set out to be the "hot spot" in the neighborhood for hummingbirds. Here's the scoop: When we moved into this house in darkest winter (the end of March), the previous owners had left most of their outdoor adornments in place. This included windchimes, a decorative sleigh, Christmas lights, and a hummingbird feeder. One spring day I was cleaning up and organizing outside and I put the feeder in the garage since I didn't have any nectar. Within five minutes (and I'm not exaggerating), I had birds humming around looking for the feeder. Evidently, I had some repeat customers from last summer's all-you-can-eat bird buffet. What could I do? The poor things knew this was their "spot." I hied myself to the computer and thanks for the wonder of Google, had a recipe to make hummingbird nectar in a flash. It is surprisingly simple.

I make small batches at a time, but the recipe I found makes four cups a time. The important thing to remember is that the nectar calls for a 4:1 ratio of water to sugar. Here is my 1/4 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water.

The nectar doesn't take long to cook, just long enough for the sugar to completely dissolve.

Don't forget to stir constantly! If you look closely in this shot (staged), you can see the water bubbling and starting to boil. Almost done!

Once the sugar is dissolved, I pour it back into my measuring cup and put in the refrigerator to cool. (The nectar looks yellow because it's sitting in front of pineapple. As a note, I read that it isn't necessary to dye the nectar as long as your feeder is red (plus food coloring isn't good for the birds).

While the nectar is cooling, I wash the feeder. Once it's a good temperature (not too cold), into the feeder it goes. Hanging the feeder outside is the risky part. I always look around to make sure no militant birds are lying in wait and slip it over the hook as fast as I can!

Before long, your hummingbird friends will be there, eager for a snack!

Earlier in the season, we had at 3 or 4 adult birds who were constantly feeding. We figured they must have been feeding babies too. I was refilling the feeder every two-three days, but now I'm down to once a week.

We can see our feeder from the kitchen table, and the antics of the birds provided much entertainment for us during supper. Dinner and a show!


  1. Thank you for posting this! I may check to see if Walmart has any feeders left. Our little one would *love* this!

  2. Hi Courtney, I apologize for leaving this note here but I didn't see an email address for you.

    I thought maybe you would be interested in joining this discussion group:

    Since I have not been posting regularly, I am certain that nobody has seen my latest post, LOL:

    I wanted to let you know I would be hosting this discussion group and would love to have you join if you are interested. Please feel free to 'invite' others who you feel would enjoy our study and discussion. All Christians are welcome, but I ask that they please follow the blog rules and remain positive and charitable.

    If you are unable to join me, I truly understand. We are all so busy and have many commitments. Please note that it is a casual drop in study and discussion; I will create new posts on Wednesdays and feel free to comment or share whenever you are able.

    Hope you can join me!


  3. My mom LOVES to feed her hummingbirds, and I keep meaning to try it myself. Thanks for the inspiration!