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How to Make Hummingbird Nectar And Attract Hummingbirds to Your Yard

As soon as I learned how to make hummingbird nectar, ALL of the hummingbirds flocked to our yard! Today I’m sharing all of my tips and tricks for how to get hummingbirds to your feeders too!

How to attract hummingbirds

How to Make Hummingbird Nectar And Attract Hummingbirds to Your Yard

One of my very favorite things about summertime are all of the wonderful creatures that appear here to share it with us.

This summer we really made an effort to welcome more hummingbirds onto our property and it didn’t take long at all for them to become regular visitors, so I thought I would share with you my tips on how to make hummingbird nectar and how to attract hummingbirds to your yard.

How to make hummingbird nectar?

These tips have worked so well for us that it’s very common to see them all day long around here, they can even be seen staring in the windows, especially if any of the feeders need filling!

Here’s a peek at one of my little hummingbirds joining me for breakfast.

hummingbird feeder and how to make nectar

This little window sits right off our kitchen in an area that I often work in, and I just love seeing these little birds all day long:

How to Attract Hummingbirds

I think that the main thing in attracting hummingbirds is to have feeders with red color somewhere on them, it’s an excellent way to capture their attention and red seems to be the color they are drawn to most.

We have several feeders made of red glass and they seem to love those, but we also have quite a few that have very little red on them, and I have even seen people use red ribbons tied near feeders to bring the hummingbirds in. I definitely prefer a glass feeder over plastic hummingbird feeders – they are more durable and will last you much longer. If you are making you own nectar (see my easy hummingbird nectar recipe below) they are also much easier to clean and probably better for the hummingbirds’ health.

Hummingbird Feeder Tips

Our smaller feeders seem to draw as much attention as our large feeder, but you can adjust the amount of feeders depending on the amount of little guys that you get coming to your yard.

The best hummingbird feeder we have – or the one they love the most – also happens to be the oldest (and ugliest, lol!), so these darling tiny birds definitely don’t get hung up on fancy features.

Getting hummingbirds to your garden

I would avoid using red dye in the nectar to attract them as it is not only messy and possibly toxic to them, it is unnecessary.

I have also heard of people tying big red bows around the area in which you want the hummingbirds to gather.

Another key element in attracting hummingbirds is to have a blooming garden that lasts through the spring and summer seasons.

These types of plants and flowers will vary by region so ask your local garden specialist for their input on what works best in your area.

What kind of flower do hummingbirds like? 

From what I understand, hummingbirds love flowers. Our busiest feeders are definitely in the areas of our yard with the brightest flowers.

They love tubular flowers because those tend to hold the most nectar. Flowers like petunias, daylillies, hollyhocks, impatiens and lupines. 

And again, bright colors seem to work best with reds and pinks being especially popular with hummingbirds. 

make hummingbird nectar

The Window Hummingbird Feeder (as shown in video)

hummingbird flying next to a feeder

I am absolutely loving this little window hummingbird feeder (shown in the video) that I purchased earlier in the summer. 

You can find it on Amazon here, it’s the Aspects 407 Jewel Box Window Hummingbird Feeder, 8-Ounce Bird Feeder.

It has been on sale lately, so it’s a great time to purchase it. If you are looking to by, I have found two different retailers on Amazon, so check the other hummingbird feeder seller here to see which one is the lowest.

We literally had birds at this feeder within an hour of putting it up, in fact these little hummingbirds are in and out of here all day long and they love to buzz my head when I go out to fill it.

I really like this style because filling it is really easy, all you do is lift the lid OR you can remove the entire base and bring it in the house to rinse and refill and then it just snaps back onto the main base which is held to the window with suction cups.

Ours has been up since early May, with no issues and is still in great condition!

hummingbird feeder

My next goal is to try to get the hummingbirds to eat out of my hand! I recently visited with a neighbor who does this and apparently, it’s not that hard if you can get them used to you.

Amazon sells this Aroma Trees Handheld Hummingbird Feeders Kit which is what my neighbor used to train her hummingbirds to eat out of her hand. That might be my project for next summer! If you have used these, I would love to hear about it. I loved reading the reviews.

hummingbird feeder mounted to window

How to Get a Hummingbird to Eat Out of Your Hand

I didn’t actually think we would ever be able to do this but it only took a day or two before our hungry hummingbirds were willing to come sit right on the feeders as we held them in our hands.

I couldn’t believe that we were able to get hummingbirds to eat our of our hands! Watch this cute video of the first time a humming bird ate out of my daughter’s hand: 

How to Hang Hummingbird Feeders

Aside from our window mounted feeder, most of our other feeders are hanging from Shepherd’s Hooks. (see photos).

In my photo below you can see our window feeder as well as one of our feeders that hangs off a shepherd’s hook below:

hummingbird feeder

We place them strategically around the yard in areas where the hummingbirds will be safe and can also be viewed easily from the house or patio. We try to keep them away from areas where cats or other animals can stalk and spook them.

They are really hard to photograph, but this feeder is one of our most high traffic ones for sure:

hummingbird feeder

I like these shepherd’s hooks because you can adjust them to get the feeders at a nice height and they are easy to move inside once the season changes. As you can see in the photo above, we have this shepherd’s hook angled slightly to one side so that we can see it from the window and also so that it’s gets a nice amount of shade during the day.

How to Make Hummingbird Nectar

feeding hummingbirds

Wondering how to make hummingbird nectar? We like to make this as close to natural nectar as we can, so we don’t use any food coloring or artificial sweeteners. Our hummingbird food recipe is literally just hot water (my mom swears by this although I’ve made it with both room temperature and warm water) and white sugar. (I use white cane sugar)

Hummingbird Food Recipe

Homemade nectar is SO easy and take just a few simple steps. The ratio of sugar to water is 1:4.

Mix ONE part sugar with FOUR parts warm water.

Example: One cup of sugar mixed with four cups of water (warm)

We started out making it a little sweeter, but as they come around more often, we tapper off a little on the sugar.

Again, we do NOT use food coloring, it’s not needed and the use of red dye is probably not good for them.

My mother insists that boiling your water will make a better nectar.

I personally haven’t seen a difference, but in case you want to try both, here is my mother’s recipe for homemade hummingbird nectar:

  1. Mix 1 cup sugar to 4 cups fresh water. (4 parts water to every 1 part regular table sugar)
  2. Bring to a boil while stirring and then remove from the heat.
  3. Allow to totally cool before putting into your hummingbird feeder.

It’s definitely a simple homemade hummingbird food recipe but it’s also easy, affordable and quick to make. Plus I think that simple is better and closer to a purer nectar like they would find in nature. These beautiful little birds are so delicate that the use of unessential dyes or red coloring seems really unnecessary to me and plain water and sugar seems best.

As a general rule, I feel if you can make diy hummingbird food and find them a few nice places in your yard it’s the best way to keep them coming back year after year (usually from late April / early May to late September, depending on how long the warm weather stays.


Hummingbird Nectar Printable Recipe

make hummingbird nectar

How to Make Hummingbird Nectar And Attract Hummingbirds to Your Yard

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Use this easy hummingbird nectar recipe to make your own homemade hummingbird food and quickly attract hummingbirds to your yard!


  • Sugar
  • Water


Use one part sugar to four parts water. Mix well. Fill feeder.

You do NOT need to boil this mixture for it to work but my mother insists on it, so if you decide that you want to try boiling then bring the mixture to a boil. Allow to cool. Fill your feeder.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Facebook

I love bringing birds to the yard. Except for those birds that keep eating all our berries, lol!

If you are trying to keep the birds out of your berries too then check out my post about how we keep the birds out of our strawberry patch

Easy instructions on How to Make Hummingbird Nectar along with some great ideas for attracting Hummingbirds to your yard!

Hummingbird Gifts for Her or Him

If someone you love is a bird watcher or hummingbird fan, here are some wonderful hummingbird gift ideas: 

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  1. I use this recipe and have added many flowers; however, I only have two or three hummingbirds annually. This year I have only seen a couple every now and then. My question is how long can the nectar be stored in refrigerator?

  2. I’m sorry, but I have to disagree about putting red color in homemade hummingbird food. I have feed birds for a lot of years and I’ve always made my own nectar. When I don’t put red color in it, the birds will ignore it. In fact, they will knock on the windows and the door until I put the red color back into their food. Also, in the past 3 seasons, I’ve had the same birds come back…every season. They build their nests in our tree in the front yard, lay their eggs and their babies go absolutely crazy for the homemade food with the red coloring. So, I guess it’s personal preference, but I will continue to make my homemade hummingbird food WITH the red coloring….

  3. I love hummingbirds I too make my own nectar same ratio as your moms. This year I have problem with ants my feeder is made of glass on a Shepherds hook with a moat at the top. I got it last year and had no problem. I’m talking hundreds of black ants the feeder is empty I don’t see any birds when I open it up there are the ants

  4. Definitely a personal preference – we just don’t feel (from what we’ve been told – and my hubby is a veterinarian who works with quite a few bird experts) that the red coloring is healthy for them. I do know a lot of people choose to use it anyway.

  5. This is how I keep ants off a hummingbird feeder on a shepherds hook: cut halfway through a small plastic lid, cut a small hole in the center, turn it rim side up and slide it around the lower stem if the shepherds hook. Next, fill the lid with bug killer, careful to keep away from feeder.

  6. To keep ants out of your hummingbird feeders, google “ant moat for hummingbird feeders” and you’ll find a whole list of ant moats. I’ve used the one called “Trap-It” for years now and no longer have issues with ants.

  7. Answer about the ants they have cups that attach to the feeder and you fill with water to keep the ants away. I have no problem with them anymore.

  8. The way I deter ants is, I take a 16/20 oz water bottle, cut the top 1/3 off. I then cut a slit from the top of bottle down to cut off bottle. I open itat the slit and slide it onto my shepards hook with the top part facing up. I tape the bottle around the top to the shepards hook with electrical tape. I then stuff a little gauze or cotton balls up in the bottle and spray that with ant spray. The ants won’t crawl pass the bottle where it is on the shepards hook due to sprayed cotton or gauze. Can’t post a picture but hope you can figure this out.

  9. Susan, I would love to know what your issue my photo is? Please just remember that real humans read and receive these messages that you are leaving out there, and I work really hard at creating and sharing this content. And I rather like my photos, thank you 🙂

  10. I make my recipe the same as your mom’s except I put in a couple of orange peels without the piths, therefore my Orioles love the syrup and so do the hummingbirds. I’ve been doing this for years and I’m never short of Orioles or hummingbirds.

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