Hummingbird nectar recipe
Whoo-hooo! We got hummingbirds galore!
About 3 weeks ago, a rufus hummingbird decided to let us know they were back in the area by flying up to one of our regular bird feeders by the kitchen window. We immediately made up the standard recipe of 4 parts water to one part sugar, and put it out in our three feeders.
Apparently, we hit the start of the hummers moving back into the area, because we attracted more of them than we've ever seen before. All four of the local species have shown up, Rufus, Anna's , Calliope and Black-chinned.
I started worrying about feeding straight sugar water to the hummingbirds, so I did a little research on what they eat. According the the scientific guys, they mostly get energy from the nectar, and get most of their other nutrients from hunting insects. While flowers have a wider variety of sugars, they seem to do just fine with getting extra sucrose from the feeders.
What did surprise me was that the normal 4:1 water to sugar recipe was at the low end of the scale, as far as natural nectar sugars go. This will cause the hummers to return to feed more often. they suggest that you can go as high as 2:1 and still be within normal nectar range, allowing the hummers to feed much less often (still 5-6 times an hour.
We've decided to go with a happy middle ground of 3:1. I'd like them to have enough energy to do their thing elsewhere as well, not just spending all their time at our feeders. So here's the recipe:
3 cups water, brought to barely a simmer
1 cup sugar, stirred in till it is all dissolved
remove from heat and let cool. This will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of months, if not more.
Give your feeders a good cleaning with warm water to disolve any sugar crystals left behind. Then add a little more than 1 weeks worth of the sugar syrup. Replace what is left after 1 week.
Enjoy the show.