by Tammy Taylor
We enjoy the hummingbirds and although at first we didn’t see them when we moved here, putting out a feeder apparently brought them out of the corners of our ranch! Back in “the day” I just bought the dry powdered stuff but I hated that it involved a plastic package to contain it. (did I ever mention how much I’m trying to eliminate extraneous plastic from our home??) But I do so enjoy the hummingbirds that come to this beautiful feeder first thing every morning.
The feeder is on a shepherd’s hook right outside our large windows where we can enjoy the constant acrobatics from these little guys. But they stay hungry and they eat a lot! It doesn’t take them long at all to drain the nectar from the feeder.
What’s an enterprising country girl to do? Well several years ago a quick search of the internet promised that you could indeed make hummingbird nectar at home for a fraction of the cost of buying the commercial stuff. And it’s so easy with only TWO INGREDIENTS – water and sugar!
The recipe I use has a ratio of 1 part granulated sugar to 4 parts water – to make things easy I always use 1/4 cup sugar to a full cup of water. I don’t heat the entire cup of water – I’ll heat just enough necessary to dissolve the sugar. In a microwaveable-safe container I heat that small amount of water until it’s almost boiling, then stir in the sugar until it’s completely dissolved. Finally I’ll add the rest of the water and stir to mix it all together. This method accomplishes two things – I don’t have to heat the water as long since it’s only a fraction of the final volume, and it also means I can cool the nectar quickly for the feeder with the other portion of water. Um hummm… this noggin’s not just a hat rack my friend!
As a side note: I’ve always read that coloring of the nectar is not necessary. When you think about it, it’s the small colored flower that attracts the hummingbird not the plant itself. And most every hummingbird feeder has a brightly colored flower-shaped feeding tube so mission accomplished! They love this nectar and there’s no shortage of these little guys at our feeder at all times of the day.
Give it a try, the hummers, your wallet, and the environment will thank you and it’ll be yet another thing to cross off your shopping list!
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