As a bird lover, I am extremely happy to witness the daily arrival of several flying species at my back yard, and to give them the best food I can prepare for them. Among these daily guests, my favorites are the tiny, yet beautiful hummingbirds. Whenever one comes to my house, he/she voraciously consume all the food in my bird feeder, which is both enjoyable and satisfying to watch.
When it comes to hummingbird food, nectar is commonly mentioned as the main source of nutrients. However, it turns out that these tiny birds depend on more than that for their survival. Hence, it is advisable for birders to have a better understanding of the food they should prepare for their adorable guests. If you want to know more in detail, please continue to read.
Buying hummingbird food vs making your own: Which is better?
Nowadays, various hummingbird foods are available in the market for bird lovers to choose from. On the other hand, thanks to the Internet, people are now able to make their own recipes at home by studying several online guides. So, the question is: buying or making? Each way has its own merits, which I will now discuss.
The most common reason for people to opt for home-made hummingbird food is cost efficiency – you may use the money for a container of store-bought hummingbird nectar in order to buy a big bag of sugar that is sufficient for a large number of birds. Furthermore, by preparing the meals for your daily flying guests by yourself, you are not only sure that no artificial chemicals are added to the bird food, but also able to customize the formula to fit your birds’ taste.
While all of the reasons above are valid, the process of making hummingbird food may cost you precious time for other daily tasks. Most recipes are said to require from 5-30 minutes, which is OK for most people, but may be unaffordable for extremely busy ones. Generally, to produce a home-made nectar recipe, birders are first required to create a balanced sugar-water mixture, then heat it and let it cool before it is usable. These time-consuming steps may be offset by purchasing a ready-to-use container of nectar. What’s more, some hummingbird foods are supplemented with extra vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes, which helps promote your birds’ well-being and assist their functional activities such as egg-laying.
If you are the one who does not like the DIY solution, below is a list of hummingbird foods that I have tried before and found worth the investment. You may study my analysis to figure out the best option for yourself.
Here is the best hummingbird food ever for you
1. Pennington 100510152 ElectroNectar Ready to Use Hummingbird Nectar, 64 oz Clear
It is a popular notion that birds are attracted to specific colors – in the case of hummingbirds, the color is red. Hence, some bird lovers tend to buy hummingbird foods that are colored in red, which is basically not necessary. Though it is true that hummingbirds prefer red objects, it is the freshness and quality of the nectar that truly lures your daily feathered guests to your back yard, which is exactly what this provides.
Pennington ElectroNectar Hummingbird Nectar fits the description of a natural hummingbird food – the ingredients include water and sugar, which are all natural and harmless to your daily guests. No artificial colors or red dye are added during manufacture, so the liquid is as transparent and clear as flower nectar.
As I have mentioned before, convenience is one of the main reasons why people purchase hummingbird food, and Pennington Hummingbird Nectar is able to satisfy this requirement: You may use it immediately after opening the container and do not need to mix it with any other ingredients.
However, the feature that I find most wonderful is the inclusion of additional electrolytes such as sodium bicarbonate and potassium bicarbonate. These substances are crucial to maintaining hummingbirds’ well-being and preventing them from getting dehydrated.
Overall, I think that Pennington Hummingbird Nectar is one of the best hummingbird foods available today in terms of price, healthiness and tastiness. When I pour some of this into my bird feeder, it is not uncommon to see 10-15 hummingbirds arrive after that. Isn’t it enough for you to try it for yourself?
2. EZNectar – 33.8 oz The Only Ready-to-Use Hummingbird Nectar Exactly Like Flower Nectar
EZNectar Exactly Like Flower Nectar Hummingbird Food’s quality truly lives up to its impressive name – it is a natural hummingbird food that is made from all-pure ingredients, including only cane sugar and filtered water. No chemical preservatives and artificial colors are found in the bird food, which ensures complete safety for your feathered guests’ health. The aseptic packaging allows the food to be free from contamination, so no caution should be taken when you feed this to your daily visitors.
EzNectar Hummingbird Food is designed to closely resemble real flower nectar. It is very convenient to use – you simply need to pour some of this into your feeder without any prior mixing, and then enjoy the arrival of several flying visitors.
The product offers great value for busy people thanks to its longevity – I myself have kept the container in the fridge for days and seen no clouding, which happened frequently to my home-made hummingbird nectar. In addition, the liquid poured into my feeder is able to hold up to 4-5 days without getting spoiled, which saves me a lot of time refilling the feeder. You cannot imagine how much easier life has become for me thanks to this bird food!
The price is somehow high, which I think is a fine trade-off for the value and convenience it provides. So, as long as you are looking for a high-quality, easy-to-use natural hummingbird food and do not mind the cost factor, EzNectar might just be the perfect solution for you.
3. Natural Springs 100080659 Hummingbird Nectar Ready to Use 64oz, 64 oz Brown/A
Why spend your precious time boiling sugar and water for 30 minutes, when you can just pay a very small price to get this?
Natural Springs Hummingbird Nectar is presented in red – the color that hummingbirds are most attracted to. As a result, filling your bird feeder with this liquid may result in an increase in the number of your daily feathered guests. What’s more, the red hummingbird food is supplemented with a high level of nutrients such as Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid, Calcium Disodium EDTA, Phosphoric Acid, Tetrapotassium Pyrophosphate, Vitamin A, C, D and E. This leads to an exceptional nutrition value that you may find tempting to offer to your beloved birds.
No fluoride is added to the product, which ensures safety for hummingbirds’ well-being. The mix is pretty convenient to use, as no prior mixing is required – you just pour some of this into your existing feeder and wait for your guests to come and consume.
Natural Springs Hummingbird Nectar is offered at a really affordable price. This, combined with the convenience value it offers, makes buying the hummingbird food a great deal for me. Instead of boiling my own sugar mixture, now I just need to make a cheap online purchase and experience all the benefits Natural Springs can provide.
That being said, I do not like its humongous size – the bottle takes up as much space as a gallon of milk in my refrigerator, which sometimes caused me some annoyance when I try to arrange stuff in the fridge.
4. Perky-Pet 255 Hummingbird Nectar Concentrate, 64 oz, Red
Looking for a rich and tasty source of energy for your daily winged visitors? Then look no further!
Perky-Pet 255 Hummingbird Nectar Concentrate offers a great amount of energy in the form of sucrose – the amount of sugar dissolved in the water is not less than 40%. The bottle of concentrate is able to make up to 256 oz of red nectar. Hence, the red hummingbird food is not only capable of attracting various birds (its high sucrose content produces a strong sweetened mixture that few birds can resist), but also boasts high nutritional value for them. Just remember, watch out for those pesky ants that also come for this!
Perky-Pet Hummingbird Nectar Concentrate is pretty easy to use – just fill your feeder with some of this and add some purified water if you would like to. Once mixed, the nectar can be stored in the refrigerator for 1-2 months, and the leftovers in your feeder may hold up to a week without getting spoiled or fermented. If you are a busy person, the convenience this product offers is usually enough for you to consider making a purchase.
Like the Natural Springs hummingbird food mentioned above, the size of the bottle may prove to be troublesome for storage – after all, I think that is the price you must pay in exchange for all of the benefits Perky-Pet Nectar Concentrate can offer.
5. Homestead Hummingbird Nectar Sugar Concentrate
For those who are afraid of red dye and prefers a clear, natural hummingbird food that is also effective and convenient to use, Homestead Hummingbird Nectar Sugar Concentrate proves to be a wise choice.
The nectar is comprised of water and all-natural sugar, which results in an all-natural formulation that is not only healthy but also attractive to your feathered guests. What’s more, Homestead utilizes different sugars from various species of flowers in order to suit the taste and nutrition requirements of several flying species.
The notable selling point of this hummingbird food is the inclusion of vitamins and calcium, which play a vital role in promoting egg-hatching. Just imagine how cool it is! Not only does Homestead Hummingbird Nectar satisfy your bird-feeding hobby, but it also assists in the reproduction of nature and in the end brings more guests to your home.
Homestead Hummingbird Nectar Sugar Concentrate is sold in 32oz sturdy plastic bottles, which protects the mixture from environmental damage and alleviating you from the need of cleaning up the mess caused by breakages. The container is resealable, which enables longer product lifespan and makes the hummingbird food always stay fresh. The mixture can be served immediately without prior boiling, which further enhances the convenience of using this product.
6. More Birds Premium Hummingbird Nectar, 64-Ounces
Buy it now
If you are OK with red hummingbird food and not concerned about chunky bottles, then I think that you may find it worthy of trying this.
More Birds premium hummingbird nectar is designed to closely resemble real-life flower nectar found in the wild. As a result, the flavoring it offers fits the taste of a wide range of hummingbirds. When I first tried this, my bird feeder was flocked with crowds of hummers – surely my feathered guests liked it a lot. Not to mention the pesky bees and ants – if only I could get rid of them!
More Birds nectar is sold in 64-ounce containers that may cause some difficulty in storage but also allows you to use the product for a longer period of time before making another purchase. However, unlike other hummingbird foods, this one requires no refrigeration, which is one of the main reasons why I put this into my review list. If you live in a small house with little room for a refrigerator, have problems with your monthly electrical bills, etc., then I would like to recommend More Birds Premium Hummingbird Nectar to you.
In addition to the above-mentioned features, the price is pretty affordable in my opinion. After buying one, you can immediately fill your feeder with some of this mixture without any mixing at all.
7. Songbird Essentials SE642 24 oz Red Hummingbird Nectar All Natural- No Dyes (1)
One of the reasons why some bird lovers are reluctant to buy red hummingbird food is the rumor that these foods contain artificial colors that are harmful to birds’ well-being. Well, if you are among these reluctant buyers, maybe it’s time to change your mind by trying this.
Songbird Essentials Hummingbird Nectar’s ingredients include carmine and hibiscus, which give the product a natural red color that is irresistible to your daily feathered guests. No artificial colors, red dyes or sweeteners are added during manufacture, so you do not need to be afraid of filling your bird feeder with this hummingbird food.
The product further fits the description of a natural hummingbird food thanks to being made from 100% natural sucrose, which not only results in a lovely sweet taste but is also a great source of energy for hummingbirds.
Unlike traditional liquid hummingbird nectar, Songbird Essentials is sold in powdered form, which enables easier storage and lessens the mess caused by breakage. The powder can then be mixed with tap water to instantly serve your daily guests – no boiling or cooling is required at all. Songbird Essentials is available in 24-ounce containers, which is enough to make 4.5 quarts of nectar. The package includes a measuring cup, which makes it easier for birders to measure the appropriate amount of food used every day.
Overall, a red hummingbird food that is attractive, healthy and easy to use is the phrase I would use to describe Songbird Essentials Nectar. Just try it for yourself – you will be amazed by the number of hummers that flock your feeder thanks to this easy mix nectar.
8. (2 Pack) Songbird Essentials SE629 Clear Hummingbird Nectar, 24 Ounce
If you are still skeptical about buying a red hummingbird food, Songbird Essentials does have a colorless option for you to choose.
Just like its red counterpart, Songbird Essentials Clear Hummingbird Nectar is made from 100% finely ground sucrose, which perfectly resembles real-life flower nectar and is capable of providing your birds with an instant burst of energy.
The powdered hummingbird food can be served immediately after being mixed with some water. Any leftovers may be stored in the refrigerator for another 3-5 days, which adds more convenience to your daily feeding routine. Therefore, if you are a busy person who struggles to find time boiling a water-sugar mixture for your beloved birds, you may find purchasing Songbird Essentials Clear Hummingbird Nectar a wise decision.
9. Kaytee Hummingbird Electro Nectar Ready to Use, 64oz
Buy it now
Despite being the last one in my review list, Kaytee Hummingbird Electro Nectar is not necessarily the least favorable option. Quite the opposite!
Kaytee hummingbird food is developed to mimic flower nectar with no artificial coloring. It is made from completely natural ingredients and offers the same nourishment that hummingbirds may receive from wildlife flowers. As a result, this is a clean and clear product that your birds will love without question.
Additionally, Kaytee Electro Nectar is enriched with additional electrolytes such as potassium sorbate, citric acid, sodium bicarbonate, and potassium bicarbonate. This inclusion results in a hydrating drink that is extremely healthy for your daily feathered guests. Even during the hottest months of the year, you may be assured that your birds always stay hydrated thanks to this hummingbird food.
Kaytee Hummingbird Electro Nectar is available in 64-ounce bottles. The mixture is ready to use and requires no addition of sugar or water. Any unused portion can be stored in the fridge for later use.
Bonus: My favorite homemade hummingbird food recipe
Despite the convenience that store-bought nectar offers, sometimes you may want to prepare your own home-made recipe for your daily feathered guests – after all, it is a cheaper and more exciting alternative!
Here, I would like to share one of my favorite hummingbird food recipes. It is very easy to make and will surely give you a lot of fun.
Ingredients & Materials
Hummingbirds rely on flower nectar and protein from insects to survive. Flower nectar is essentially a solution of sugar and water. Hence, your home-made hummingbird food recipe must include these two ingredients.
Generally, the ideal water-sugar ratio is 4:1 – 4 cups of water to 1 cup of sugar. Therefore, I suggest that you prepare the following things:
– 1 cup of tap water.
– 1/4 cup of white granulated cane sugar.
– 1 saucepan.
– 1 spoon.
– Red coloring (optional).
Step 1: Pour the water into the saucepan and boil it on the stove.
Step 2: Add in the sugar and stir well until it is completely dissolved.
Step 3: Boil the mixture for another 3-4 minutes to completely eliminate bacteria.
Step 4: Wait for the mixture to cool down.
Step 5: Pour the nectar into your bird feeder.
Step 6: Put the remaining nectar in a sealed container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- Do not use honey, brown sugar or sugar substitutes, or you run the risk of harming your birds’ well-being. Honey is known to promote fungal growth, while organic and raw sugars contain a high amount of iron.
- If you are afraid of potentially harmful chemicals that may poison your feathered guests, you may choose not to use any dye at all. Just remember to purchase a red feeder so that it is easier to attract hummingbirds to your home.
- Use clean water, and remember to boil the mixture carefully for bacteria removal. Do NOT boil for less than 2 minutes.
- Make sure to clean your hummingbird feeder and remove any leftovers regularly to remove dirt and organisms that may cause harm to your winged guests. In my opinion, you should do this cleanup every 3-4 days (2-3 days if you live in a warmer region). Use non-toxic dish soap, vinegar water to better clean the feeder.
- Tip: You may want to decrease the amount of sugar during warmer months, which range from spring to summer, and increase that amount for the rest of the year. The harsh conditions of late-autumn and winter generally make hummingbirds burn more energy, so that’s why I usually switch the water-sugar ratio to 3:1 during these months, and revert it back to normal when the cold is over.
1. Does the red coloring in hummingbird food harm the birds?
There have long been rampant rumors that red coloring is poisonous to hummingbirds and should be avoided at all cost. Unfortunately, no detailed studies have been done on this topic, and no definitive conclusions have yet been drawn.
Nowadays, Red Dye No. 40 (Allura Red AC or Food Red 17) is approved by the FDA for consumption. Despite that approval, people still remain their skepticism; as a result, this substance is banned in several European countries, although it is still legal within the U.S.
Overall, I think it is a matter of personal preference. While it is a popular notion that red dye attracts hummingbirds, it has also been proven that colorless nectar is still viable, as long as it provides the essential nutrition and energy for hummingbirds to stay healthy. I myself have tried both colorless and red hummingbird food, and yet seen no drastic change in the number of visiting birds and their well-being. So, the choice is yours!
2. How important is the 4:1 hummingbird food mixture? Is 3:1 okay?
The 4:1 water-sugar ratio is generally recommended, as it fits the natural sugar concentration of hummingbird-pollinated flowers. If the hummingbird food mixture contains too much sugar, it may be more difficult for birds to digest, while too little sucrose may result in a decrease in the number of your daily feathered visitors.
However, as I have mentioned before, sometimes it is OK to make adjustments. The 3:1 ratio is perfectly fine, as it provides hummingbirds with more calories, which may be crucial during cold periods such as the winter.
3. What is the most nutritious food to feed to hummingbirds?
You can check my above-mentioned list. Personally, I would recommend the following:
– Pennington 100510152 ElectroNectar Ready to Use Hummingbird Nectar, 64 oz Clear.
– EZNectar – 33.8 oz The Only Ready-to-Use Hummingbird Nectar Exactly Like Flower Nectar
– Kaytee Hummingbird Electro Nectar Ready to Use.
4. What are the best humming bird food brands?
In my opinion, the best hummingbird food brands include the following:
– EzNectar: the manufacturer is known to produce healthy, all-natural food that is both nutritious and convenient to use.
– Perky-Pet: their products are made from 100% high-energy sucrose that suits your birds’ taste and provide them with a burst of energy.
– Pennington: Pennington nectar is sold in easy-to-grip bottles. Their hummingbird food is all-natural and contains additional electrolytes to help your birds stay healthy.
5. How much do hummingbirds eat?
Due to their high metabolism rate, it is not uncommon for hummingbirds to consume food that doubles their body weight in a day. The average hummingbirds feed about 5-8 times per hour. Beside from nectar, these voracious flying organisms also eat insects and spiders to satisfy their protein intake requirement.
If you are a hummingbird lover, then take into account their eating habit and prepare the best feeding habitat to lure them to your back yard. To learn more about hummingbird feeder, please click here.