The Lake Hills City Birds

Feeding Hummingbirds

Feeding Hummingbirds

Did you know it is easy to make your own hummingbird food? Use regular granulated sugar. Do not use honey or sugar substitutes. Avoid using dyes or food colorings in the nectar.

In the summer, I use 1/4 cup of sugar per 1 cup of water. During this season, the hummingbirds have plenty of flowers to obtain nectar from as well. As the weather becomes cooler, I adjust my recipe to 1/3 cup of sugar per 1 cup of water. I provide them with a little more sugar due to the scarcity of flowers around, as they rely on the additional energy for their migration journey.

When making a large batch of nectar to store in the fridge, I always boil it. If I am just making a small batch to change out in a couple of days, I do not boil it. I just pour the water from my Berkey and sugar together in a jar and shake it until it is dissolved.

During the hot days of summer, I change out the nectar every couple of days. So, I only put a small amount in each feeder. It can ferment quickly in hot weather. Change it often.

I have only seen Ruby-Throated hummingbirds in my backyard. That doesn’t mean that other types of hummingbirds haven’t visited. I just haven’t captured any on video or camera. Hummingbirds are so quick, it is difficult to tell exactly what kind they are unless they sit still for a few seconds. That’s why it is nice to have a camera set up at the feeders.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds are those beautiful green hummingbirds we see at this time of year in Chattanooga, TN around our hummingbird feeders. The males have an iridescent red throat. It looks almost black when the lighting isn’t good.

Female Ruby-throated hummingbirds have a white throat with some light gray feathers. The females are typically larger than the males. Juvenile ruby-throated hummingbirds also have a white throat like their mothers.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the only species that nest in Tennessee. All others are just passing through to their nesting locations. There are two migration routes that Ruby-throated hummingbirds follow in the spring and fall.

The first route is across the Gulf of Mexico. Before they make this long journey, they double their body’s fat. This may be why you see some chunky hummingbirds later in the season.

These small birds fly southwest over the Gulf of Mexico to reach Mexico. The distance across the Gulf of Mexico is over 500 miles. This is a direct route with numerous obstacles in their way.

The second route follows the coastline, outlining the Gulf of Mexico. This is the longest route, spanning over 2,000 miles. Along this route, the birds have the opportunity to rest and refuel.

No one is sure why some choose the shorter route over the longer one. I guess it is no different from us humans; some prefer the scenic route while others opt for the shortest and quickest one.


I have tried several different feeders. This is the favorite style among the hummingbirds that visit my backyard. I have the third one.

The second favorite is my ring hummingbird feeder. I purchased mine on Amazon, but it is no longer available. You can purchase individual ones like this if you want to try feeding the hummingbirds from your hands.

The Ruby-throated hummingbirds are very territorial. You can often see one hummingbird chasing the others away. I even have a video of one chasing a chickadee off a bird feeder that was near its feeders. It helps to set up feeders in different areas of your yard instead of all together. That way, separate territories can be established, and one bird isn’t controlling all of the feeders.

It is also helpful to have a water source for the hummingbirds. A shallow bowl with water or a birdbath with a bubbling fountain will attract hummingbirds. Be sure to check out my YouTube channel for videos of hummingbirds, all of my backyard birds, cooking videos, gardening, and DIY projects.

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