Want to enjoy hummingbirds without the garden? It’s easier than you think! Make your own food at home and turn any outside space a haven for beautiful, fluttering hummingbirds. All you need are 2 simple ingredients and a bird feeder.
This is a really fun activity to do with your kids. Younger children can help measure out the ingredients, while older children can participate in the filling and cleaning of your bird feeder. Ask your kids where they think the feeder should go and keep them engaged. Try adding a hummingbird sightings whiteboard, ask them to draw pictures, and let them keep track of when the feeder should be cleaned and refilled. This helps teach them about responsibility and shows them how rewarding projects can be!
Before you make this simple concoction, make sure to take some care in maintaining your feeder and food properly. Food can become rancid and mold can grow in your feeder.
To make the food:
Use 1 part sugar to 4 parts water.
Boil 1 cup of water and add 1/4 cup sugar, stirring until it dissolves. Cool completely before adding it to your feeder. Store excess sealed in the refrigerator. It lasts up to 2 weeks.
According to the National Audubon Society, cleaning should be done by rinsing with one part white vinegar to four parts water. If the feeder is dirty, try adding a few grains of dry rice to the vinegar solution to help scrub it clean. Follow the vinegar wash by rinsing three times with clear, warm water before refilling with sugar solution.
A few notes:
- If your sugar water becomes cloudy, it must be discarded. Warm weather can spoil the food in as little as 2 days, so be sure to keep an eye on it.
- Unused food will last two weeks in the refrigerator.
- Clean the feeder between fillings with hot water and a bottle brush.
- If mold is present use bleach. Do not use dish soap.