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Sugar water for hummingbirds and orioles

Feed hummingbirds with a mixture of sugar and water. Food coloring is not required or even desirable. The feeders should have red (typically) or orange feeding ports to attract the hummingbirds.

Mix 1/4 cup of sugar with each cup of water. Bring the water to a boil, then remove the mixture from the heat. Stir the mixture to ensure the sugar dissolves if necessary. Cool before serving.

Hummingbirds at feeder.Using the right mix of sugar water will help you attract species like the Ruby-throated hummingbird.

Several days supply of sugar water can be made in advance. Store in the refrigerator. 

On hot summer days sugar water can start to ferment. If you live in a warm part of the country you may not want to fill the feeder completely.  Add only enough sugar water that can be consumed in 2-3 days. The time frame will vary depending on how hot it is and how much direct sunlight is on the feeder.

Oriole feeders are often orange in color, instead of red. The same mix can be used for feeding orioles and other nectar feeders.

Do not use molasses or honey in your hummingbird feeders.

Birding Quick Hits

Blue Jays do Johnny Appleseed one better.  After the retreat of the last ice age, oak trees spread back north faster than might have been expected.  There is speculation that Blue Jays helped the process by caching acorns underground, some of which grew into new trees.