Hummingbird Nectar Recipe

by Nan
(California)

Question: Can I use raw sugar instead of refined sugar in my hummingbird feeders? Or what about organic honey? Thank you for considering

my question!

Hi Nan

You do not want to do is use any other form of sugar in the hummingbird food: such as molasses, brown sugar, honey, artificial sugars. These do not provide the same resemblance to nectar that white granulated cane sugar does.

For the recipe Click here.


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Aug 26, 2018
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Still not clear on sugar NEW
by: Mender

I have a bag of Demerara non-GMO, Florida Crystals Can Sugar. The crystals are a golden color.

When I combined it with the boiling water, the final color is an amber. Does this mean I can't use it?

Jun 06, 2018
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Glyphosate and cane sugar NEW
by: AnonymousJanet

Someone below commented about "organic white sugar", but all I can find is sugar labeled as such, but still slightly tan in color, not as tan as plain organic sugar. Does it have enough of the molasses taken out to be considered safe? I, too, am concerned about using white cane sugar that has been desiccated by the use of glyphosate, as all have. I have even email the fellow in Sedona at the Hummingbird Society and he is in total denial that there could be a problem with cane sugar.

Feb 19, 2017
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No iron organic sugar brand
by: Anonymous

Simple truth organic sugar does not contain iron. It is pure crystallized cane sugar.

Mar 30, 2016
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Hummingbirds
by: Anonymous

GMO Sugar vs. Pure raw Honey!

Feb 21, 2016
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Confusion over 'organic' sugar for hummingbird nectar
by: Anonymous

I read the comment that we should not use organic sugar, and I think that was a mistake.

From my research, I found that now that Monsanto's patent on Roundup has expired, many other brands now carry the popular herbicide that contains GLYPHOSATE as the main, active ingredient.

Although there is no GMO cane sugar (yet), what most people don't know is that virtually ALL commercial sugar cane is sprayed with a glyphosate-containing herbicide at harvest time - this is called a 'burn down', or 'ripening' procedure, because the glyphosate immediately stops all growth in the plant, which gets a head start on drying it up and decreasing time & expense for processing, and preventing molds.

So the only safe sugar for hummingbirds, is certified organic cane sugar. The 'organic' designation simply means it was not grown with chemical poisons - but it STILL has to be processed to remove the iron - so instead of raw (turbinado) sugar, it should be processed (white) cane sugar. I hope that clears things up !

Jan 30, 2016
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homemade nectar for hummers
by: Kathleen

I think the confusion is between raw and organic. White organic sugar is okay for the nectar recipe. Raw, or turbinado, sugar is NOT. Raw sugar is processed from molasses and can harm the hummers in the long run.
I buy filtered water for my household use. My city water has chloramine in it - chlorine and ammonia - and now they want to add fluoride. I won't give hummers or my indoor cats tap water to drink. I have been "feeding" hummers for 30years and never boiled the water. I just stir vigorously between each 1/4 cup of white table sugar to one cup water and within a short time it's ready for use.
Please avoid using red dye. I found out it is a by-product of coal-tar. They can't metabolize the red dye. A simple short red ribbon taped to the bottom of feeders will help draw hummers to feeders and once found, the ribbon can be removed.
Please also avoid using pre-mixed nectar. They are filled with different preservatives that can be very harmful, as well.

Sep 15, 2015
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Boiling the nectar
by: Millie


Birds and Bloom article said it is not necessary to boil the nectar as the first time one feeds it is already contaminated

May 04, 2015
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Using raw organic cane
by: Anonymous

The only issue is that hummingbirds cannot tolerate the iron in the raw organic cane. This will mess up their system and eventually kill the hummingbird. I use raw organic in all my stuff, but with my hummingbird, I us only white.

Oct 09, 2014
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gmo sugar
by: lulu

white sugar beet sugar is genetically modified, it is known to affect birth health and rate in farm animals, how will it affect hummingbirds?
So far, cane sugar is not GMO

Oct 12, 2013
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The best/safest way to feed Hummingbirds....
by: Anonymous

...is to buy and grow many plants (flowers, trees, shrubs, etc) that hummingbirds love for their nectar. Even in the early spring and the late fall when we don't see where it is possible for hummingbirds to get their natural nectar, there are many shrubs and trees that provide nectar for birds. It is much more work to do the research on what plants to buy, but, it is much safer for the hummingbirds than to depend on toxic white sugar.

Oct 12, 2013
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White sugar only
by: Anonymous

Please do not use anything but white sugar to make your own hummingbird nectar. Their are other compounds in organic sugar that are harmful to the birds. Nothing but white processed sugar and boil the water. 1 cup tap water to 1/4 cup sugar. Let cool and fill feeder. Change often and clean feeders thoroughly to eliminate mold from the feeder. Don't guess at what is good for your hummers, do the research.

Jul 25, 2013
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Organic Sugar Has IRON In it!
by: Anonymous

The brown color of organic sugar is molasses which has iron in it.

It is unsafe to feed organic sugar to hummingbirds because 1) they have enuf iron in their bodies, and, 2) Hummingbirds' bodies hold onto any extra iron that they ingest and then they are poisoned. Humans are the same: if they get too much iron in their bodies, they have serious health problems.

Please do not feed your hummingbirds organic sugar.


Jun 02, 2012
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I use Organic Sugar
by: carolyleo

Regular sugar is so toxic, it is deadly. I use organic sugar. I notice years ago when I made tea, I used one cup sugar. Since I use organic sugar, I use half a cup in a gallon of tea.

So now I am curious, how to use organic sugar for hummingbirds, I did half cup sugar to two cups filtered water. My hummingbird had used it twice now, but I would like a proper recipe for organic sugar. I did boil it to break it down, so it would not ferment.

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