What do hummingbirds eat in the winter: The best feeding tips

The hummingbird, however, spends the entire year in our area while the majority of birds move for the winter. Therefore, it’s quite easy for you to attract and feed hummingbirds but firstly, find the answer to the question: “What do hummingbirds eat in the winter?”.

Do hummingbirds migrate in the winter?

For the winter, the majority of hummingbirds in North America travel to Mexico or Central America. These migrations are spectacular despite being shorter than those conducted by warblers migrating to South America. This is especially true given how small hummingbirds are. The 500-mile trek across the Gulf of Mexico can be completed in less than a day by the tiny Ruby-throated Hummingbird, for instance, which weighs no more than a cent. It’s convenient when you have the decision to feed hummingbirds in the winter.

We learned from a small bird that they remain if the weather is warm enough and there is still plenty of food available. You must provide your hummers with nectar feeders, tubular flowers, and warm shelters. You can attract hummingbirds to your yard or garden with a few low-tech enhancements all year long.

You can visit hummingbirdcentral.com for hummingbird migration map.

What do hummingbirds eat in the winter?

Hummingbirds expend a lot of energy and must feed themselves frequently to stay energized. Especially in the winter, you need to notice more about what do hummingbirds eat in the winter:

1. Insects

Hummingbirds depend on small insects, larvae, insect eggs, and spiders as major food sources. Insects supply the fat, protein, and salts that birds cannot obtain from nectar; they are essential nutrients, particularly for hatchlings that grow quickly. An adult hummingbird needs to consume several dozen insects daily to meet its daily protein needs. You can get insect sources in the fishing shop.

2. Pollens

Hummingbirds don’t eat pollen directly, we can create pollen to put in the bird feeder. Keep the sugar to water ratio at 1:4. Recipes with a higher sugar content may not necessarily be beneficial to hummingbirds because the sugar cannot easily move up the grooves of their tongue. The liver and kidneys may suffer harm from the extra sugar. Although adding more sugar can assist in preventing freezing, our experts advise sticking to the standard 1:4 ratio of white sugar to water. Red dye, brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup are not advised.

Here is 4 types of hummingbirds feeder you should try once for your birds.

3. Fruits

Hummingbirds may be drawn to certain ripe or juicy fruits. If they are peeled, cut open, or the flesh is otherwise exposed, berries, apples, pears, and oranges have all been known to attract hummingbirds who will stealthily suck the juice from them. 

If you leave it there, ripe fruit will also draw insects to your yard. The hummers will benefit from having such an accessible source of food. The fruit is even delicious if it is red. Hummingbirds are reported to be particularly drawn to the color red.

What food hummingbirds don’t eat?

Red food coloring, filthy feeders, deviating from the nectar recipe, and failing to provide bee and ant protection are all detrimental to hummingbirds.

Moreover, you should be aware of the fact that the only nectar that may be given to hummingbirds by humans that is suitable contains refined white sugar. You might feel that you eat too many sugary and highly processed foods. Refined white sugar, on the other hand, is pure sucrose that has been diluted with 4 parts water to make it exactly match the nectar of plants that hummingbirds consume.

Tips for feeding hummingbirds in the winter

By appealing to their appetites and providing for their specific nutritional requirements, these hummingbird feeding suggestions will definitely assist you in attracting hummingbirds:

  1. To protect the feeder from freezing, use a heated hummingbird feeder. This is the most crucial step for keeping them alive. Another simple way is buying a second feeder; then, You can switch between the two to provide the birds with an unfrozen sweet food source.
  2. Position feeders correctly: Hang the feeder in a protected spot out of the wind. Feeders should be placed either very close to the window (excellent for visibility) or at least five feet away from the window to prevent hummingbirds from crashing into windows or from getting their delicate bills stuck in window screens.
  3. Use different feeders: Hummingbirds may be drawn to different sorts of hummingbird feeders even if they don’t like one particular form or size. There are some common types in the market such as inverted feeders, sauce feeders, or glass and plastic feeders.
  4. Bring your feeder inside at night to keep it from freezing. At night, hummingbirds do not feed.
  5. Place your bird feeders close to flowers that produce nectar or other colorful accents in your yard to make it easier for the birds to find them. Red decorations in particular will draw the attention of these species.
  6. Clean the feeders: Keep feeders clean to prevent the growth of dangerous microorganisms. Feeders need to be cleaned more frequently in the summer than they do in the winter. Every 4-5 days, clean them. You can follow the cleaning steps below:
    • Empty your feeder and get rid of any nectar that is left over.
    • Take the hummingbird feeder apart.
    • Allow the feeder to soak in a mild solution made from hot water and soap.
    • Scrub away any mold accumulation or nectar residue using a cleaning mop.
    • Use cold water to rinse your hummingbird feeder.
    • Dry the feeder with air before refilling it.

What do hummingbirds eat in the winter - 4


1. Should I keep feeding hummingbirds in the winter?

Yes, absolutely you can feed hummingbirds in the winter since they need food to maintain their energy. Hummingbirds migrate much like other birds and regardless of whether feeders are left up. We do, however, advise people to leave feeders up for a few weeks after the last hummingbird departs the area, just in case a straggler appears in need of some extra fuel before finishing the far-flung voyage south.

2. What temperature is too cold for hummingbirds?

Although hummingbirds prefer warm climates, some species have unique migration patterns and can even withstand subfreezing temperatures. Examine the likelihood that hummingbirds in your area will remain there through the winter. When the outside temperature is below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, hummingbirds will maintain a minimum body temperature of about 54 degrees.

3. How often should you change hummingbird food in winter?

Leaving the nectar out for two or three days is fine in cooler (60-degree) temperatures. Remember to rinse your feeder with hot water afterward and use a brush to clean the feeding ports to ensure that mold doesn’t accumulate.

4. Do I need to boil sugar water for hummingbirds?

Although increasing the water-to-sugar ratio is not advised when preparing hummingbird nectar, heating the water will help more sugar dissolve, thus there is no need to do so. You can agitate the water by swirling or shaking it instead of heating it to dissolve the sugar.

Hummingbirds are fascinating to observe and entertaining to have in the garden. Therefore, you can enjoy the cold weather by attracting hummingbirds and simply answer the question: “What do hummingbirds eat in the winter?”.