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

Honey’s sweetness makes it seem like an excellent choice for feeding hummingbirds, but it’s actually harmful to all birds.

Toxic to hummingbirds and other garden birds, honey is prohibited from being used in hummingbird feeders. Honey, whether in its pure form or diluted in feeders, can be harmful to birds. If you put honey in a hummingbird feeder, the drainage ports will eventually become clogged.

Hummingbirds and other garden birds can be poisoned if they consume honey, so it’s best to keep it out of their reach.

If you’re already providing hummingbirds with safe, effective nectar blends, there’s no reason to switch to honey.

Please don’t ever feed raw honey or honey that has been watered down to hummingbirds.

Like the sugar in hummingbird feeders, honey loses some of its potency when mixed with water, but it is still not safe for all birds.

Moreover, honey that has been diluted in a hummingbird feeder will simply serve to block the feeder’s port wells.

When honey ferments in a plastic or glass hummingbird feeder, it releases even more harmful compounds.

Does that mean honey can be used in a hummingbird feeder? No, because that would clog up the feeder and honey is still poisonous to hummingbirds.

Honey is bad for hummingbirds

Is Honey Bad For Hummingbirds-3

Honey can make birds sick and is highly likely to kill, so you should never put it in a hummingbird feeder or any other bird feeder.

It is likely that the additional chemicals in honey that target the liver are poisonous to hummingbirds.

While hummingbirds probably won’t eat honey, they might give it a shot if the feeder is also supplied with their special 1–4 parts sugar–water mixture.

Because of their limited cognitive abilities, hummingbirds often drink honey straight from the jar or dilute it with water before consuming it.

Even a modest amount of honey is fatal or harmful to hummingbirds.

Honey, whether supplied fresh or diluted in water, is the only acceptable food for hummingbirds; jelly, brown sugar, and fruits are all off-limits, as is adding red food coloring to clean water to make nectar for the birds.

Danger to hummingbirds plumage

However, honey should never be used in a hummingbird feeder or given to hummers directly from the feeder.

Don’t put honey in hummingbird feeders at unsafe concentrations or try to entice hummers to land or perch on honey on the exterior of the feeder just because you know they’ll eat it if it’s there.

Honey can be used like glue due to its thickness and stickiness.

What this means for hummingbirds is that if they try to eat it, their beaks will get stuck, just like honey will clog up feeders.

The same is true for hummingbirds; if honey becomes stuck on their feathers, they can’t fly and will either starve to death or be eaten by a predator.

You should never provide honey to hummingbirds, either straight from the jar or diluted in the feeder, because it causes more problems than you might think.

Honey clogs feeder wells

Is Honey Bad For Hummingbirds-2

In light of the information I have just provided, it is clear that using honey or similar items in a hummingbird feeder is not an option.

When honey is used in a hummingbird feeder, it eventually hardens and blocks the port wells, making it unusable.

So, the hummers won’t be able to get their nectar fix since it will be blocked by the growing layer of sour honey.

Hummers get their nectar through tiny holes in port wells that are only a few millimeters wide; if even one of these holes is blocked, the hummers will starve.

So you can see that even if honey were safe for hummingbirds to eat, it would still be impractical to put in a hummingbird feeder due to the risk of clogging.

Only homemade hummingbird feeders with a sugar-to-water ratio of one part sugar to four parts water should be used.

Diluted honey is unacceptable

Honey in its thin, watered-down form is just as good for hummingbirds as the thick, sticky form is when offered to the birds.

A honey water mixture left in a plastic or glass hummingbird feeder can ferment much faster than you would expect. Honey that has been diluted can become even more harmful if left to ferment in warm weather, and this is exacerbated by the heat.

However, as described, the port wells where hummers feed do block up over time as the fermented honey settles to the bottom of the feeder.

Due to the high concentration of sugar in honey, diluting it with water at a ratio of one part sugar to four parts water is not suitable.

Honey, even when diluted, can be deadly to birds in the wild.

Even good nectar that has clouded over in a hummingbird feeder is no longer suitable for the little birds.

To summarize


Honey, either in its thick form or if allowed to become diluted in feeders, may and likely will kill hummers.

Because honey is so poisonous to birds, nectar is the only source of food for hummingbirds.

The fermented honey can clog up the port wells, making it difficult for hummers to obtain the nectar, even if honey were healthy for hummingbirds, which it is not.

You shouldn’t feed honey to hummers since you can’t put honey in hummingbird feeders.

Because honey is so viscous and sticky, it may easily clog the feathers of hummingbirds, causing the birds great distress because they will eventually starve if they are unable to fly.

Honey in diluted form may appear like a harmless option for feeding honey to hummers, but please don’t do it. As a matter of fact, honey in any form is lethal to hummingbirds and other birds.

Hummingbirds should not be fed, hence no honey should be put in a feeder for them.

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