How Do You Attract Hummingbirds, and What Is a Hummingbird Nectar Recipe?


Quick Answer

Hummingbirds prefer brightly-colored plants that provide shade, shelter and food, preferably with enough room between plants to allow them to hover easily. White table sugar dissolved and fermented in purified or bottled water in a 4 to 1 ratio mimics natural sucrose levels and attracts hummingbirds while feeding them healthfully.

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Full Answer

Other natural sweeteners, such as honey, molasses and brown sugar, should never be fed to a hummingbird, who is unable to digest them efficiently. These sweeteners also ferment more rapidly than white sugar, which can lead to mold and other contamination issues. Artificial sweeteners lack the calories that a hummingbird requires to survive.

Although studies have demonstrated that hummingbirds are attracted to red objects and flowers, red food dye has also been linked to toxicity in humans and animals. The recipe for red dye has since been updated, but it is not needed to attract a hummingbird. Instead, flowers such as columbines, petunias and foxglove naturally attract hummingbirds, as do gently moving sprays of water that allow them to bathe quickly. Painting a feeder red can also attract a hummingbird without exposing it to unnecessary food dyes.

On average, a hummingbird burns 12,000 calories per day. A hummingbird spends the entire day visiting different plants, sometimes eating from over a thousand daily.

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