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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.

Quick Hits

Cooper's and Sharp-shinned Hawks feed on other birds. They will sometimes hang around feeders in hopes of capturing an easy meal.  They only take what they need to eat, so they are not going to eat any more song birds by visiting your feeder station.  If you are concerned, take down your feeders for 3-4 weeks.  The raptors will usually move on.