How to Make Hummingbird Nectar

In a few easy steps, you can bring these nectar-loving birds to your feeder.
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. Video: Mike Fernandez/Audubon

Hummingbirds may be some of the smallest birds in the world, but fluttering those tiny wings can be quite a workout. Flapping away at up to 90 beats per second burns up calories fast; to maintain their momentum, hummingbirds need to eat—a lot! To satisfy their speedy metabolisms, these busy birds consume half their body weight in bugs and nectar, feeding every 10-15 minutes and visiting 1,000-2,000 flowers per day.

You can help these hardworking foragers get the nutrients they need by providing them with their favorite post-workout meal—nectar. This hummingbird sweet treat can be made right at home with a few simple ingredients. By filling your feeder with this DIY delight, you can complement nectar-rich plants and watch these beautiful little birds feed and flitter all day.


• 1/4 cup refined white sugar
• 1 cup boiling water
• Bowl
• Spoon

Note: Please do not substitute honey, which can promote dangerous fungal growth, or use red food coloring, which is not necessary and could also prove harmful to birds. 


1. Mix sugar and boiling water until sugar is dissolved. 
2. Cool and fill feeder.
3. Hang up your feeder outside and wait for the hummingbirds to come.


You Can Help! Attract hummingbirds naturally by planting nectar-bearing native plants in your yard or community. And if you don't know which hummingbirds you have around your home, download our free Audubon bird guide app to to find out!