Hummingbird nectar is made by combining four parts water with one part white table sugar, slowly heating the solution for one or two minutes and then allowing it to cool, according to About.com. This mixture provides an accurate replication of natural sucrose from flowers. It is easy to digest, nutritious and provides hummingbirds with necessary energy and calories.
For a cleaner nectar, About.com recommends using purified or filtered water. Only plain white sugar should be used, as substitutes like honey, syrup or brown sugar can be difficult to digest. Hummingbird nectar stays fresh for up to one week in a refrigerator.
It is very important to keep the hummingbird feeder clean and free of insects at all times. Contaminated nectar can be toxic, so the nectar should be discarded if it is cloudy in any way. Because hummingbirds are territorial, having multiple hummingbird feeders can reduce aggressive behavior.
Insects, pollen and spiders are excellent supplementary foods for providing hummingbirds with a nutritious diet. Unlike most backyard birds, hummingbirds do not eat seeds. They may eat fruit, but they only extract the nectar and do not eat the flesh. Growing nectar-producing flowers is another simple and effective way to feed hummingbirds.