Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Homemade Hummingbird Nectar

Cheap Eat Challenge: Watch as our family of 6 tries to eat on $6/day.

I've been wanting to post this "recipe" for a while, but I really wanted to get a picture of a hummingbird at the feeder. Unfortunately when a creature's wings beat at 55 beats per second, and I move at oh so slower than that, well I just never managed.

Hummingbirds are really amazing animals. They're fast, small, and exotic-seeming, although hummingbirds of some variety are found in most parts of the country. If you have a feeder or several, you'll find that they're fairly brave animals as well. I guess that's what happens when you're super speedy. We used to have several feeders and they'd zoom right past us--just over our heads and in front of our faces. It's almost frightening actually what with those long pointy beaks they've got. Sometimes they'll even battle over a feeder using their beaks like swords (I'm totally not kidding; it's crazy.) We bird-watchers--we have some pretty wild times.

I knew it was time to get the feeders out when I saw a hummingbird trying to feed off of my red watering can (and just about any other brightly colored thing on the deck). Unfortunately, our feeders had met an unfortunate end in the dishwasher at the end of last season (Note: Do not, I repeat do NOT put your cheap plastic hummingbird feeders in the dishwasher--top or bottom shelf.) So I hopped on over to my spending Achilles heel: Rural King. They had plenty of feeders to choose from and next to all the feeders, they had that hummingbird nectar that they sell. It usually looks like orange or red syrup. And it costs a lot (I believe these were $4.99 a pop). I saw a lady standing there in front of the "nectar," reading a box. And I really really really wanted to stop her and tell her she didn't have to buy that expensive colored corn syrup and that she could make her own for super cheap. But then I was worried that that would be weird or creepy. Especially since I'd gone to Rural King dressed, as usual, in my best (cough) yard work clothes.

To make up for it, I will stop you. Do not buy that silly hummingbird nectar. Make you own. My mother-in-law--an avid bird lover/watcher--gave me this recipe for hummingbird nectar. It has worked for us for years. Super easy. Super cheap. I can hear the hummingbirds whizzing now.

Homemade Hummingbird Nectar
Prep time: 1 minute
Cost: $.05 for 1 cup (that's opposed to nearly $5.00 for not much more than a cup)

1 part white granulated sugar
4 parts water

Mix it up. I allow the sugar to dissolve. Pour into your hummingbird feeder. And they will come. (Um, probably--like, if you've got them in your area and all.) It can remain good for a few weeks (if the hummingbirds don't gobble it up), but if the nectar gets foggy, change it out and clean your feeder (not in the dishwasher) because something has likely contaminated the nectar.

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