Sugar Water only – Is that enough nutrition for Hummingbirds?
On the topic of hummingbird food recipes, nectar is not the only source of food for hummingbirds. They also eat bugs: spiders, gnats, flies, and other little critters. Hummingbirds pretty much take care of their protein needs with no help from us, but when it comes to their quick-pick-me-up we can provide simple sugar water to supplement their energy food needs. It came as a surprise to me to see one of my local hummingbirds pecking at the suet on an icy morning. A bird’s got to eat, ya know!
Sugar water is only a quick-energy drink, but a popular one in humming-bird circles. That rapid wing action takes a lot of energy, and in 90 minutes a hummingbird can burn off quite a bit of body weight, so they need to eat often.
It’s kind to think of giving hummingbirds something more nutritious, but since sugar-water is not the only food in their diet, only a supplement, it is not necessary to add anything. Don’t use honey in your feeder, it will quickly grow bacteria that would be more harmful than any benefits.
What all do I have in my hummingbird supplies? The tubes work great, but they are not bee-proof. Still, these tubes fit in a suction-cupped holder that’s hung on my living room window. Brings the hummingbirds up close. Here’s a link to the single tube window hummingbird feeder, mine is the double tube feeder. Buy These feeders, though small, don’t freeze so quickly with their sheltered space so close to the house.
Behind the tubes is the plain sugar used to make the basic hummingbird food recipe. I use a mason jar with 1/2 cup marks for easy measuring. Last but not at all least, give your feeders a hot water bath and scrub, no soap with brushes for the tubes and nectar opening. Do not use any food coloring, it’s not good for the birds (nor for you).
Hummingbird Food Recipe
1 part sugar, 4 parts water. I use enough hot water to dissolve the sugar, then finish with cooler artesian well water, not tap water.
Nature’s Nectar – A Seasonal Treat
Don’t forget the natural source of nectar – fresh flowers. I’ve watched a hummingbird carefully slip its long beak into an unopened geranium flower to drink the abundant nectar inside. Clever little birds, no “bird brains” in this circle!
There are many flowers, both annual and perennial, that are great sources of hummingbird food. The nectar in flowers is sweet, a natural sugar-water. The great thing about hummingbirds and another garden favorite, the butterfly, is that they are fabulous pollinators, too, supporting nature for generations to come.
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