What Do Hummingbirds Eat?

These little birds have huge appetites.

What do hummingbirds eat?

Hummingbirds are pretty cool creatures. Although very small in size (they’re only a few inches long!), they can beat their wings thousands of times per minute, can fly thousands of miles each year, and have excellent memories — and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

If you’ve seen a hummingbird (aka a “hummer”) in your area, you may be wondering how to get one to pay you a visit. A hummingbird feeder is a good place to start, but what do hummingbirds eat, anyway?

We spoke to Jamie Fischer, a veterinary nurse with DodoVet, about what to feed hummingbirds and how you can keep them coming back.

What do hummingbirds eat?

As it turns out, hummingbirds like their sweets — but that’s not all.

“In nature, hummingbirds drink nectar from flowers and eat small insects like gnats, mosquitoes, fruit flies and spiders,” Fischer told The Dodo.

And thanks to their super high metabolism, hummingbirds have huge appetites. On a typical day, a hummingbird will eat twice their body weight, which is about five to eight doses of nectar per hour!

But how can you get a hummingbird to add your house to their list of snack destinations? It’s actually pretty easy.

“Hummingbirds can also drink sugar water from a hummingbird feeder for energy,” Fischer said. “And there is no need to add dye or other things such as honey.”

Despite the fact that hummingbirds are attracted to the color red, natural nectar is colorless, so dye isn’t necessary (and some reddening dyes and chemicals could be harmful to the birds). And while you can purchase hummingbird nectar, why not try making it yourself?

“You can make a sugar-water solution by adding four parts water to one part sugar mixture,” Fischer said. “Mix until it’s dissolved. Then, it’s ready!”

After you fill your hummingbird feeder with nectar, you can put any remaining mixture in the fridge to save for your hummingbird’s next visit. Here’s to making a new friend!

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