Hummingbirds are migratory birds that summer in the United States---with some migrating as far north as Alaska---and winter in tropical areas in Mexico and Central America. These tiny birds begin migration in early spring and follow the progression of blooming flowers northward until they reach their summer home. Although they will arrive in your area when nectar-producing flowers are in bloom, you can help them out by providing supplemental food in feeders. Premixed hummingbird nectar is available in containers in department stores, but you can make your own for a fraction of the cost.
Boil 1 cup of distilled water. Tap water can be used if it is free of contaminants and chlorine. Allow chlorinated water to set overnight before using it to mix hummingbird food. Pour into a large bowl. Add ¼ cup of white sugar.
Stir to dissolve the sugar crystals. Tiny sugar crystals are difficult for hummingbirds to digest and must be dissolved for safe feeding.
Add a few drops of red food coloring if preferred. Although there is no evidence that food coloring damages hummingbirds, concerns over its safety lead many to prepare hummingbird nectar without color additives. Hummingbirds will drink from your feeder whether or not the nectar is red.
Allow the mixture to cool and pour it into your hummingbird feeder. Wipe any excess solution off the outside of the feeder, as this will attract ants and other insects.
Hang the feeder in an area out of direct sunlight, as the nectar will heat up quickly in the sun. A shady location provides a cool drink for tired hummingbirds.
Store unused hummingbird food in a glass jar in the refrigerator.