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It’s always cool to see a hummingbird in your yard. They’re so tiny, yet they move so quickly. To draw them into your yard, discover what these birds eat and how to create delicious hummingbird food recipes. Seeing more of these little birds, due to your own efforts, can be very rewarding!
Hummingbird food recipes are relatively simple, and the reward is well worth the effort. Create a hummingbird-friendly environment in your backyard by providing what they eat. A hummingbird’s diet generally consists of:
- Sand and ashes
It doesn’t take a lot to attract hummingbirds. They’re actually fascinating birds, so you’ll probably have a lot of fun learning about them and their diets. So, you’ll want the best food in the best hummingbird feeder to draw more of them in!
TIP: If you want to check out the best pair of binoculars for bird watching, we recommend a pair of waterproof and fog-proof 8 x 42 binoculars like the Celestron – Outland X 8×42 Binoculars (Amazon link).
What Do Hummingbirds Eat?
If you’re curious about hummingbird food recipes, you’ll probably want to know exactly what kind of food hummingbirds eat first. There are a few different things that make up their diets.
Nectar for Hummingbirds
Most hummingbird food actually comes from nectar. The nectar can either come from certain flowers or a sugar water solution. Hummingbirds need a lot of energy for their high metabolism, as well as their high energy and quick movements, and the high amount of sucrose in nectar provides them with this.
The birds also get the water they require from nectar. This makes sense because the nectar is liquid. They typically don’t drink from other water sources.
Although nectar makes up the majority of a hummingbird’s diet in many cases, it doesn’t give them everything they need. It doesn’t give them vitamins, minerals, or proteins. They need to eat other things, as well, in order to maintain a healthy and balanced diet.
Hummingbirds in captivity have not been found to survive for a long time on a diet of only nectar. They need sources of protein as well. In fact, some aviculturists believe that they only ever drink nectar because it’s a natural consequence of them foraging on flowers all the time.
Hummingbirds Eat Insects
Insects are a crucial food source for hummingbirds. They eat not only grown insects but also insect eggs and larvae. They eat all sorts of insects, including small insects and spiders.
The insects in a hummingbird’s diet provide the protein, fat, and salts that they can’t get from nectar. These are very important to their nutrition, particularly for quickly growing baby birds.
There are many different ways that hummingbirds can hunt insects. They can pick them up from leaves or tree bark, pluck them from spider webs or sap, or just grab them in midair.
An adult hummingbird needs to eat several dozen insects on a daily basis in order to get the required amount of protein for a healthy diet. Many will eat a lot more in different situations, however. For example, if they’re in the middle of a long migration or need to regurgitate food for hungry baby birds, they’re likely to eat even more insects.
Do Hummingbirds Drink Sap?
When hummingbirds don’t really have access to nectar, they’ll sip tree sap. This sap usually comes from wells that woodpeckers have drilled. Tree sap isn’t quite as sweet as nectar from flowers, but it still gives a hummingbird enough sucrose to fulfill its energy needs.
In many cases, the sap has dripped down onto the tree trunk and hardened. When this is the case, birds can’t drink it, but they can pick insects that stick to it.
Pollen and Hummingbirds
Usually, hummingbirds don’t directly or intentionally eat pollen. However, a lot of pollen can get stuck to their bills and tongues when they sip nectar from flowers. They end up ingesting some of that pollen, and it can actually be a secondary source of protein as well.
When hummingbirds eat pollen, they end up digesting less than 10 percent of it. So, even though pollen is somewhat viable, it’s not a common or ideal food source for hummingbirds.
Are Sand and Ashes Good for Hummingbirds?
In some cases, hummingbirds will eat sand and ashes in small quantities. Believe it or not, these can be a good source of salt and vital minerals for these birds. In some cases, it could be that the birds are picking insects from the sand and ashes rather than intentionally eating this material.
How to Attract Hummingbirds with Food
If you want more hummingbirds in your yard, there are certain things that you can do to attract them. Knowing about hummingbird food recipes is just one part of this, as there are other ways to draw them to your yard.
Create a Hummingbird-Friendly Environment
If you want more hummingbirds in your yard, you can probably make this happen just by making the environment more attractive to them.
Plantlife for Hummingbirds
One thing you can do to attract hummingbirds into your yard is to plant flowering shrubs, trees, and native flowers that will produce a lot of nectar. Red tubular flowers are usually the best choice here. There are many flowers that are particularly attractive to hummingbirds, including the following:
- Desert trumpets
- Bleeding hearts
- Columbia lilies
- Calico bushes
- Red fireweeds
- Scarlet creepers
- Trumpet vines
- Trumpet honeysuckles
- Cardinal flowers
- Carpet bugles
- Coral bells
- Butterfly bushes
Aside from flowers, you should do other things to make your yard or garden a place that hummingbirds will like. You can provide perches so that hummingbirds are able to defend their favorite feeding areas. Most hummingbirds are very territorial, and they’ll use a perch as a lookout point for intruding animals; perches will also help them feel more comfortable in the area so that they stay nearby and continue to feed there.
Top Tip: To discover the best flowers to attract hummingbirds to your yard and how to grow them, read this interesting article. Discover the 8 best hummingbird feeders here, and, as a bonus, find out what they love the most!
You should ideally use different feeders, of all different styles. This can help you accommodate more hummingbirds since they’ll be able to choose the feeders that make them the most comfortable. You should also make sure to put hummingbird feeders at a distance from other bird feeding stations that you may have so that the other birds don’t end up bothering the hummingbirds.
Leaving sand and ashes near feeding areas would also be an excellent way to help attract these birds.
Another great idea is to leave ripe fruit outside in areas near hummingbird feeders. They can drink the sweet juice, and additionally, the fruit will attract fruit flies and other gnats on which the birds can prey. The best fruit for this purpose is fruit that has pink or red flesh since these colors will attract the hummingbirds.
TIP: Choosing the right bird feeder is crucial when you want to attract birds on your backyard. There are a lot of options on how and where to place a bird feeder. Check out my picks on different bird feeders below (Amazon links):
– Free-standing Bird Feeder
– Hanging Bird Feeder
– Bird Feeder with Camera
Bugs, Bugs, and More Bugs!
As much as you may hate bugs, if you want hummingbirds around, avoid spraying for spiders and insects around your home and in your garden. Don’t break spiderwebs or disrupt insect life in any other way (unless you feel it’s necessary, such as in cases where they actually pose a threat to you and your family). Instead, you should rely on birds who prey on insects, such as hummingbirds, to give you natural pest control.
When it comes to actually feeding those hummingbird bugs, they generally won’t accept them. They won’t accept mealworms from feeders. However, encouraging the presence of natural insects in your yard is a great way to attract hummingbirds.
Basically, what you should do is minimize the use of pesticides or insecticides. You should also let your grass grow a little bit longer, as this will encourage insects to come into your yard.
Leaving big spiderwebs intact could also be helpful since it provides the hummingbird a chance to grab insects from the web. Just make sure that the birds don’t actually become tangled up in the webs themselves since the spider could actually end up eating them in extreme cases!
Feed the Hummingbirds!
The other thing you can do to attract hummingbirds is to feed them. Of course, you can’t feed them anything and everything. You should only be giving them food that you make from appropriate hummingbird food recipes.
When looking at hummingbird food recipes, the best option is to simulate the nectar that they get from flowers in the wild.
TIP: Are you looking for high-quality food for wild birds on your backyard? I recommend using Wagner’s products with the highest quality grains used in blending and made in the USA (Amazon links):
– Deluxe Treat Blend Wild Bird Food
– Eastern Regional Wild Bird Food
– Western Regional Wild Bird Food
– Midwest Regional Wild Bird Food
– Southern Regional Wild Bird Food
Hummingbird Food Recipes
As an alternative among hummingbird food recipes, you can mix one part sugar with three parts water. This can be good for these birds while they’re migrating and could use the extra energy.
Make sure that you don’t add red dye. You should also not use molasses, honey, fruit juice, soda, corn syrup, alcohol, or any artificial sweeteners. These won’t be attractive to hummingbirds, and in some cases, they could be dangerous.
Once you’ve made the nectar, you can put it outside in a container. It’s ideal if you have a hummingbird feeder that you can fill with the nectar. You can store extra sugar water in your refrigerator.
Make sure to change the feeder every other day. Clean it thoroughly every time you do this so that you prevent potentially harmful mold from growing.
Now, you really know all you need to know about hummingbird food recipes. There isn’t much you can really provide for them, besides sugar water, that imitates the nectar that they love so much. Other than that, you can simply just try to create an environment with natural food for them in the form of natural nectar and plenty of insects flying around.
Giving “Bird Food” a Whole New Meaning…
Before, when you thought of hummingbird food recipes, you might have thought of birdseed and different things that you could mix together. However, you now know that the topic of hummingbird food recipes is much simpler than this. All you need to do is mix sugar and water.
The things you can do to attract hummingbirds into your yard go far beyond hummingbird food recipes. It’s really about creating an environment that’ll attract them. You may want to think twice about doing this if you have a problem with having insects in your yard or garden.
The topic of hummingbird food recipes is an interesting one because most of the work of attracting hummingbirds has nothing to do with mixing ingredients together. However, actually mixing sugar and water together is definitely going to be a great way to attract these birds. Once you do, you’ll see how they can brighten up your yard and your life!
My Favourite Equipment for Bird Watching
Bird watching is one of the least expensive hobbies out there, but you still need some equipment to get the most out of it.
The essential equipment to start bird watching is a pair of binoculars. My preference is 8 X 42 binoculars. The number 8 is how much the magnification is, while 42 is the field of view in millimeters of the lenses.
A pair of waterproof and fog-proof 8 x 42 binoculars like the Celestron – Outland X 8×42 Binoculars on Amazon is an excellent choice for both beginners and experts.
In time, you can choose more expensive models and also opt to buy a spotting scope like the Celestron Ultima 80 on Amazon.
These are a lot more expensive compared with binoculars though, so if you are only a beginner, start with binoculars first. A spotting scope is only helpful for birds far away, such as out on a pond or seashore.
There are a few rules or guidelines you should abide by as an ethical birder. These are listed below.
- Do not enter private lands without prior permission from landowners.
- Follow all the rules in refuges and reserves, including cleaning up any garbage from your campsite.
- Do not disturb birds on nests.
- Do not use apps and play songs to call up birds when they are hungry, tired, and breeding during spring and summer.
What do you think about what you’ve learned about hummingbird food recipes? Let us know in the comments section!