Black-chinned Hummingbird, © Photo by Steve Kaye

Feed Hummingbirds | July 2018

How to Feed Hummingbirds

Black-chinned Hummingbird, © Photo by Steve Kaye, in blog post: Feed Hummingbirds

Black-chinned Hummingbird, Male

If you want to feed hummingbirds, here’s what to do:

Step 1 – Buy a feeder that is easy to clean.

Because you will need to clean it every 2 to 3 days. Otherwise, after a few days, the feeder will become yucky, and in turn, toxic for hummingbirds.

Note: “Yucky” is a non-technical term that implies buggy, contaminated, dirty, infectious, moldy, and otherwise toxic.

Step 2 – Place the feeder in a good location.

First, put the feeder at least 5-ft (1.6-m) above the ground. This will protect hummingbirds from being caught by roaming cats.

Next, put the feeder near [within 6 to 20-ft (2 to 6-m)] flowers (because flowers will attract hummingbirds to your feeder).

And put the feeder near [within 6 to 20-ft (2 to 6-m)] shrubs or small trees (because plants provide places where the birds can rest or hide between feedings).

Tip: If you set up two feeders, put one out of sight from the other. That way, an aggressive hummingbird won’t be able to chase other hummingbirds away from both of them. [ Hummingbirds know that it’s easier to defend a food source than to find a new one. ]

Allen's Hummingbird, female, in blog on "What to Feed Hummingbirds"

Allen’s Hummingbird, female

Step 3 – Mix the feed.

In this case, the recipe is:


• One part White Cane Sugar

• Four parts Plain Water

For example, add One Cup of White Cane Sugar to Four Cups of Water.

Note: One Cup can be a (clean) coffee cup, tea cup, or any measuring cup.

Special Note: Be sure the sugar is white. Otherwise, any tan color indicates some molasses is in the sugar. And molasses contains iron, which is toxic to hummingbirds.

Do not use any other sugar — Not turbinado, raw sugar, or ORGANIC SUGAR. All of these contain state amounts of iron.


Boil the water to eliminate any bacteria. Then add the white cane sugar. And let the sugar water cool before putting it in the feeders.

Now you’re ready to feed hummingbirds, unless you changed the recipe. In that case, please note:

Never Use:

#1 Brown sugar – Contains iron, which is toxic to hummingbirds.

#2 Molasses – Contains brown sugar (and thus iron, which is toxic to hummingbirds)

#3 Honey – Contains spores that are toxic to hummingbirds.

#4 Powered Sugar – Contains starch (bad for hummingbirds)

Allen's Hummingbird, female, in blog: What to Feed Hummingbirds

Allen’s Hummingbird, female

And Never (as in Really  Never!) Use:

#1 Artificial sweeteners

#2 Dyes

#3 Flavorings

#4 Fragrances

#5 Preservatives

#6 Vitamins

#7 Soft Drinks or Any Beverage Mix

Since hummingbirds eat twice their body weight in nectar each day, these chemicals can poison a hummingbird.

So keep the recipe simple.

Just feed hummingbirds a mixture of One Part White Cane Sugar and Four Parts Water.

Note: You can expect other birds, such as woodpeckers and orioles to visit your hummingbird feeder. They help too, by eating ants.

Much success,

Steve Kaye

Find more at:

Keep Your Cat Safe – How to save on vet bills plus help your cat live longer

Hummingbird Wisdom Has Lessons for Us All – Lessons for everyone

Hummingbird Photos – See photos of hummingbirds

Did You Know?

The most effective way to help birds is to buy land.

Here are three organizations that excel at doing this.

1) American Bird Conservancy

2) The Nature Conservancy

3) The Trust for Public Land

Please visit their web sites to learn about the work they do.

Here’s an excellent book: The American Bird Conservancy Guide to Bird Conservation

You can help – Please share this blog with others.
Inspiring Respect for Nature, one bird at a time.

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1 Comment
  • Moty Koppes, MCC
    Posted at 12:48h, 27 July

    I truly enjoyed your wisdom and your generous tips regarding how to feed hummingbirds. One hardly can capture everything regarding feeding the hummingbirds in one place. Well done!

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