Updated at: 29-07-2022 - By: Jane Brody

I’ve noticed that hummingbirds would skip the nectar in favor of the sweet water when I put out water in a feeder that advertises nectar.

When hummingbirds visit a feeder, they are expecting to be fed handmade nectar, therefore it is a waste to fill the feeder with water instead. Hummingbirds and other birds that drink water will probably pay it no mind if it’s just water. Hummingbirds only need the nectar that a feeder can provide, so save the water for the bird bath.

For the time being, I assure you that you need not worry about the safety of your hummingbird feeder if you choose to experiment by filling it with water instead of nectar.

I can tell you that hummingbirds visit our feeders in the hopes of feasting on handmade nectar, but in reality they sip plain water instead, just as you had assumed they would.

Never squander a chance to feed hummingbirds by experimenting with different foods in the feeder; only use homemade nectar.

Putting sugary honey in a hummingbird feeder is akin to thinking simple water will attract the insects, except that honey is toxic to birds and such experiments go too far.

If you’re looking for the ideal thing to put in a hummingbird feeder for the rest of time, go no further than a basic part 1/4 sugar to water ratio.

Therefore, you will discover that putting ordinary water in a hummingbird feeder will not attract any birds, even though you may observe them perching nearby while they investigate.

If the experiment with plain water proves successful, at least you won’t have to worry about bees and ants drowning in the sugar water in your hummingbird feeder any more.

Hummers won’t drink water

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Hummingbirds, like any other type of backyard bird, need water, but they won’t get it from a feeder.

Water in a hummingbird feeder is unlikely to be touched at all because it is difficult to entice birds to a bird bath, let alone a hummer, who is less interested in visiting one.

Most birds who land to explore when you put plain water in a hummingbird feeder with hummingbirds will ignore it.

Plain water can be used for wild birds by filling a bird bath or a dish large enough for birds to drink from or even get into to preen their feathers, though hummingbirds are rarely seen using this method.

Hummingbirds can be seen visiting a hung feeder, though they may only pause briefly before taking off again in quest of nectar.

Hummingbirds prefer to feed on nectar from flowers in the wild, so look in the yards of nearby neighbors if you don’t see any.

Only nectar produced at home with a ratio of 1 part sugar to 4 parts water should be put into a hummingbird feeder.

Plain water to be ignored

Hummingbirds will visit your feeder if you attract them with the promise of handmade nectar, which is the sweet sugary water that hummingbirds prefer to eat on.

Hummingbirds probably won’t bother with water-filled feeders because they don’t see them very often and prefer nectar.

Hummingbirds will visit a natural water source or, on rare occasions, a bird bath if no other birds are there. Therefore, a hummingbird won’t settle for water if nectar is what it needs to drink.

I’ll grant that it can seem less bothersome and more sanitary to provide hummingbirds with ordinary tap water instead of the sweet, sticky, and frequently dirty nectar they’ve grown to expect from feeders.

Hummingbirds are often disrupted while eating by ants and active bumblebees, but if you provide them with water in a hanging hummingbird feeder, you won’t have to worry about these pests.

In spite of being ignored 99.9 percent of the time, the water in a hummingbird feeder may be drunk by as few as two out of every hundred or so hummingbirds who visit the feeder.

Other bird species may hydrate

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Hummingbirds may still be your most common feeder guests, but Orioles are next in line.

All of these species naturally drink nectar, and hence may be drawn to a hummingbird feeder, provided the nectar is kept fresh and the feeder is not shared with other typical backyard birds.

Many species of birds, such as orioles and hummingbirds, are able to drink plain water but usually don’t, even when provided with a source of readily available tap water like a hummingbird feeder.

Wild birds are more likely to drink water from a hummingbird feeder if more birds visit the feeders, but this increase is still extremely small (from 99.9 percent to 99 percent), so don’t deceive yourself into thinking you’ll witness birds drinking water when they came for nectar.

Only use the hummingbird feeder with your own handmade nectar, and provide water in a water dispenser that is designed to seem like a bird feeder but really filters out the water.

Hummingbird feeders are designed to funnel nectar into the port wells, where the insects can be reached by the birds.

Water in bird bath only

Of course, hummingbirds’ apparent disinterest in the bird baths you have in your yard remains a mystery.

Despite the fact that nectar provides them with a necessary energy boost, hummingbirds require a daily supply of clean water to be alive.

Even while hummingbirds may not be as prevalent as other backyard birds, they nevertheless use your bird bath as a place to drink water and preen their feathers.

Even if you don’t see any hummingbirds at your bird bath, it doesn’t mean they aren’t taking advantage of it; hummingbirds utilize bird baths just like any other bird.

Hummingbirds will only take water from a bird bath if they are thirsty at the time.

So, too, the nectar at a hummingbird feeder is just what the birds require.

The takeaway here is that hummingbirds only need plain water in a bird bath when it’s absolutely necessary, but nectar in a feeder may be left out all the time because that’s what hummingbirds come for.

To summarize

Can You Put Plain Water In A Hummingbird Feeder

When filling a hummingbird feeder, simple water will do just fine, and it won’t cause any harm to the feeder either.

However, I must warn you that using regular tap water in a hummingbird feeder would be fruitless, as hummingbirds only visit feeders that have prepared nectar available.

It’s likely that hummingbirds would go somewhere, such as to a bird bath, if they needed to quench their thirst.

To be clear, hummingbirds and other nectar-drinking birds will ignore a hummingbird feeder filled with plain water in favor of the sugary water they’ve come to the feeder to drink.

Hummingbirds and other nectarivorous birds need water for survival, and they’ll drink it without complaint. However, if you give them water instead of nectar, you may deprive them of an essential nutrient.

Hummingbirds can still be observed checking out what’s inside a feeder, but when they discover water they either leave immediately or rest briefly.

Hummingbirds and other typical garden birds probably won’t bother with a feeder filled with ordinary water.

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