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Homemade Hummingbird Nectar | Can Too Much Sugar Affect A Hummingbird?

Posted By: junmar

I love our hummingbirds that come to our house! We make them homemade nectar and because we have so many hummingbirds coming to our house, we have 3 feeders and use a Milk carton for the juice (which OF COURSE is sterlized). We use about 4 cups of sugar. But if we use MORE sugar, can it affect or possible kill the pretty hummingbird(s)?We do keep our nectar in the Fridge by the way, and I do not add food coloring to the juice, I know better ; )

Hummingbird Nectar should be 4 part boiling water to 1 part granulated sugar. So if you are using 4 cups of sugar it should be dissolved in 16 cups of boiling water. Assuming that your milk carton is a gal. container you are right on with your measurments. Never put red dye in the nectar itis not good for the birds, also never sweeten with honey as honey will attract bees and it will cause a black fungus that cause fatal liver and tongue diseases in the birds. Replace the nectar in the feeders every three to four days and clean the feeders thorougly. You can store nectar in the fridge for up to two weeks. Here is wishing you many happy hours of birdwatching.

I live in western Washington, and we have Anna’s Hummingbirds all year round. I also make my own nectar, and store it in an old (sterilized!) half-gallon pickle jar in the fridge until I need it. In the winter, I boost the sugar content in the nectar I feed, so that they get a bit more energy per “sip.” As far as I can tell, I get the same hummingbirds coming around (the females, at least, can be told apart a little), and they seem to be fine.

I happen to have contacted the Cornell Lab of Ornithology about this just a week or so ago. They said things like, “The nectar should mimic the flowers in your area,” but this time of year, there ARE no flowers, so that didn’t help much. (The person who answered me was not a biologist, however, but a “public information specialist,” so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised). Since the birds seem to be doing fine, I’m going to stick with my choice of 1 part sugar to THREE parts water (instead of the standard four) in the winter.

I’d be interested to know where YOU are, and if you have hummers this time of year as well.

Enjoy!

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