The Hummingbird Nectar Tip That'll Help Keep Your Feeder From Freezing In The Winter

While most hummingbirds head south for the winter, there are several varieties that you may see in your yard during colder months. In frigid conditions, it can be difficult for these birds to get enough nutrients, but keeping your hummingbird feeder up all year can help your feathered friends sustain themselves. Those who live in areas with freezing temperatures, however, may have trouble keeping their nectar in liquid form. Luckily, creating a concoction with a high sugar content will help keep your hummingbird feeder from freezing by lowering the freezing point.

In spring and summer, most hummingbird recipes call for one part of sugar for every four parts of water. While adding more sugar to the solution in warm weather can be unhealthy for birds, it's a great way to help hummingbirds get extra nutrients in the cold. Additionally, the extra sugar will prevent your nectar from freezing as quickly. When making your own hummingbird nectar, it's crucial to use refined white sugar, as other types of sweeteners can prove harmful.

Why adding more sugar to your nectar can prevent freezing

The typical freezing point of water is 32 degrees Fahrenheit, but dissolving another substance in the liquid will change this. When sugar is added to water to make a simple syrup, it takes the place of some of the water molecules, which is why the freezing point decreases. The four-to-one ratio of normal hummingbird nectar changes the freezing point by five degrees, dropping it to 27 degrees Fahrenheit. By altering this recipe to include a little more sugar, you can make the freezing point even lower. The more sugar that is added, the longer the liquid will take to freeze, but it's crucial not to add too much since this could negatively impact your feathered friends.

While this trick is helpful for some winter conditions, adding more sugar to your hummingbird nectar will not prevent it from freezing altogether. This solution will take longer to become solid, but if temperatures in your area drop rather low, your nectar will still freeze.

Making your winter hummingbird nectar

Rather than using a one-to-four ratio, your winter hummingbird nectar recipe should have one part of sugar for every three parts of water. To make your nectar, stir one cup of white sugar into three cups of hot water. Once the sugar has fully dissolved, allow the solution to cool to room temperature before putting it into your feeder. If the outside temperature drops considerably, check on your feeder to see if it's freezing. Additionally, if you live in a place where it does not become colder than 32 degrees Fahrenheit, it's probably best to stick to your regular homemade hummingbird nectar rather than make it sweeter.

If you don't want to make a large batch of nectar at once or if you have a smaller feeder, try making your winter nectar with ⅓ cup of sugar and 1 cup of hot water. As long as the ratio is still one to three, your nectar will taste the same to the birds, slow the freezing process, and help your feathered friends make it through the season.