11 DIY Ways to Keep Hummingbird Nectar From Freezing

11 DIY Ways to Keep Hummingbird Nectar From Freezing

If you live in a part of the world with harsh winters, preventing Hummingbird feeders from freezing can be an issue in most cases. Once the temperatures drop in the fall, Hummingbirds pack it up and head south for the winter.

While most Hummers migrate, Anna’s Hummingbirds, for instance, stick around for the winter in places such as Oregon or Washington, where temperatures get pretty cold! Even in warmer parts of the world, temperatures can drop and freeze the nectar in your Hummingbird feeders.

Preventing your Hummingbird feeders from freezing during a cold snap is a great way to ensure that these tiny birds can weather the temporary storm.

How Do I Keep My Hummingbird Feeder Warm in the Winter?

Several ways you can keep your hummingbird feeder warm in the winter include using an insulator, using a warming light, rotating the feeders, or keeping it close to the house, hanging by a window. 

Sugar water (aka Hummingbird nectar) typically freezes at 27 degrees F. If cold weather rocks your typically warm area, keeping that nectar from freezing is vital.

In order to keep nectar nice and warm, you can wrap the feeder in an insulating towel or use an insulating tape that is specifically designed to keep plumbing pipes from freezing. 

Hummingbird sitting on a birdfeeder

Another simple solution includes bringing in your feeders at night or swapping your feeders out every couple of hours to keep a warm source of nectar available for the hummingbirds. Consider adjusting the nectar ratio, or feeder placement as other potential solutions to keeping the nectar warm. 

You can also invest in a few gadgets (often found on Amazon) or lights that do all the work for you. You can even find window hummingbird feeders on Amazon that use the heat from your home to prevent feeders from freezing.

Should I Heat My Hummingbird Feeder?

Yes! Not only will frozen nectar serve no purpose for your local Hummingbirds, but it could also potentially crack your red glass bird feeder. If the temperature drops to the freezing point, your nectar also freezes. There are a few ways to heat your hummingbird feeder so these backyard wild birds don’t starve this winter.

If you don’t want to invest in a heated hummingbird feeder (they can get a little pricey and are also hard to find), there are simple hacks to prevent the nectar from freezing.

hummingbird drinking nectar from a birdfeeder

Four Simple Hacks to Heat a Hummingbird Feeder

Get Festive 

Hanging Christmas lights around your feeders provides just enough warmth to prevent nectar from freezing, and it also looks so pretty! 

Be sure that you opt for traditional lights rather than LED bulbs. LED bulbs don’t produce the same heat as conventional Christmas lights.

Use Hand Warmers. 

Everyone has a few spare hand warmers in a drawer somewhere in their home. 

Simply tape a hand warmer to the outside of your feeder, which will keep the nectar from freezing. Remember that hand warmers only work for a few hours, so you will need to replace them throughout the day.

Opt for a 15-watt bulb. 

This hack requires that you get a little creative. Light bulbs that are15-watt are affordable, but you need to mount them next to your feeders. 

Using a simple tin can with a hole drilled in the bottom mounted to the base of your feeder helps keep your nectar (and glass hummingbird feeder) nice and toasty.

Use Heat Tape. 

Plumber’s heat tape is a super affordable and easy way to prevent nectar from freezing.  Plumber’s heat tape is primarily used to prevent pipes from freezing by naturally producing heat.

 It’s also a great way to avoid ice and snow from accumulating on your birdfeeders.

several hummingbirds near a birdfeeder

How to Protect your Feeders without Additional Costs

If you don’t want to invest any money in gadgets and tools, there are a few ways to prevent your nectar from freezing during an unseasonable cold snap.

Remember that these tips only work during unseasonably cold snaps and won’t work when temperatures are consistently low.

  1. Bring your feeders in at night.
  2. Place feeders by a heat source or closer to the heat from your home.
  3. Utilize two feeders that you rotate throughout the day
  4. Change the nectar ratio to three parts water and one part sugar
  5. Make a nectar cozy to insulate the nectar
  6. Constantly change out nectar before it freezes
  7. Wrap in bubble wrap

Do Heated Hummingbird Feeders Work?

Heated Hummingbird feeders are a little pricey but work perfectly without searching for creative solutions that may or may not do the trick. Many heated Hummingbird feeders utilize a mild 7-watt bulb mounted at the feeder’s base.

What’s excellent about heated Hummingbird feeders is that they can withstand some nasty temperatures. If you live in places such as Oregon with consistently low winter temperatures, investing in one of these birdfeeders is your best full-time solution. These birdfeeders can withstand consistent temperatures down to 10 degrees F.

If temperatures get below 10 degrees F, you may need to invest in a more powerful 15-watt bulb.

beautiful green hummingbird drinking nectar at a red feeder

What Are the Benefits of Heated Hummingbird Feeder?

The benefit of a heated Hummingbird feeder is that it takes all of the guesswork out of keeping your nectar from freezing. Some hacks on this list work for some climates but won’t work in all situations.

Depending on how cold it gets this winter, you may need to play around with what works best.

Heated hummingbird feeders remove all of the guesswork. Plug your feeder into a power source, fill it with nectar, and it will do the trick. They’re more expensive than a roll of Plumber’s heat tape, but they are guaranteed to work!

Why Is It Important To Keep Hummingbird Feeders From Freezing?

Finding food in the unforgiving winter months is a problem for hummers. Flowers aren’t blooming, and there are no bugs around to grab a quick snack.

Keeping your birdfeeders stocked helps keep Hummingbirds healthy and fed when food sources are scarce and their energy levels are low due to the weather.

When shopping for a Hummingbird feeder, make sure that you select red glass that makes it easier for them to spot.

Hummingbirds are drawn to shades of red, so a heated red glass hummingbird feeder is the best way to feed and nourish these tiny birds when the temperatures plummet!

Here Are Some Hummingbird Feeder Heaters We Recommend

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Tara Summerville

Tara Summerville is a freelance writer that loves her backyard birdfeeders. She enjoys sitting on her deck with a cup of coffee, watching cardinals, blue jays, finches, and chickadees munch away at her backyard offerings. Her fascination with birds began as a child; spending afternoons at her grandma's house watching and identifying birds. She has since carried her love of songbirds into adulthood and ensures no bird in her yard goes hungry!

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