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Can You Give Cold Sugar Water to Hummingbirds?

Can You Give Cold Sugar Water to Hummingbirds?

Feeding hummingbirds has many considerations. You cannot give anything to your hummingbirds without considering their temperature. A common question that new hummingbird owners face is ‘can I give cold sugar water to hummingbirds?’. Stay tuned with us to get your answer! 

You should not give cold sugar water to hummingbirds although they may adapt to it. Cold sugar water can cause hyperthermia. It can also cause cracks in glass bird feeders. In case of cold climate, it can make hummingbirds to hold their appetite till it becomes warm.

Do hummingbirds like cold or hot nectar? 

Before understanding whether you should give cold nectar to hummingbirds, it’s better to analyze what they want. 

So, what do hummingbirds like – cold or hot nectar? Honestly, they are adapted to like both of them. 

In many geographical areas, hummingbirds get hot nectar naturally. Since these birds have a large appetite, they don’t mind consuming warm nectar. However, they cannot drink boiling sugar syrup. If you find a solution’s temperature non-consumable, it’s possible that the hummers will feel the same as well. Overall, hummingbirds like lukewarm sugar syrup

Let’s consider the contrast thing now! Hummingbirds make nests in many drastically cold regions. They have managed to survive in such areas due to their flexible and adaptive nature. Hummingbirds are okay to drink what they get in most situations. It makes them suitable for all types of food, whatsoever. 

Consequently, hummingbirds do not have much problem consuming cold nectar. In many countries, flowers get freezing nectar overnight. Although wild hummingbirds are okay drinking cold nectar, the domestic ones cannot. We will get into the details below. 

Can you give cold sugar water to hummingbirds?

Honestly, hummingbirds are highly adaptive. They can bear extreme temperatures and thrive happily. However, some hummingbirds can have difficulty adapting to hot and cold seasons. 

So, you should never provide cold sugar water to hummingbirds. Although they might consume cold syrup without hesitation, they might suffer from fatal consequences afterward. It’s because the hummers have an extensive urge to consume more and more nectar to meet their high sugar requirement and maintain their rapid metabolism

These birds have a constant urge to eat and compensate for the high energy consumption in their bodies. However, they might not understand what’s harmful to them. That’s why it’s better to not leave your feeder or nectar in the open during freezing winters. So, it’s your responsibility to protect hummingbirds from cold nectar. 

You might be wondering why it’s wrong to give cold nectar to hummingbirds. You’ll understand in the article right below!

Moving on, let’s understand more aspects regarding hummingbirds and the impact of cold nectar on their bodies. Follow along with the article! 

Is cold nectar harmful to hummingbirds?

Cold nectar can have multiple negative impacts on hummingbirds. So, you should avoid keeping the nectar out on freezing days and refrigerating the sugar water. However, it’s better to know the reasons why hummingbird nectar should not reach the freezing temperature. Have a look below!

They can get hyperthermia

Mornings can be dangerous for hummingbirds. They sleep cooped up and get up in the early hours when the temperature reaches the minimum value. It creates a high chance of hyperthermia. Apart from the external temperatures, hummers have a high internal body temperature in the morning. So, drinking cold sugar water might create an imbalance in their bodies, leading to dropping blood pressure and cold stunning. It’s the top reason why everyone discourages providing cold sugar water to hummingbirds.

Your feeder can crack

Cold nectar can freeze in the feeder if left overnight. You can observe that the temperature can roll down below sugar water’s freezing temperature at night during winters. So, it creates a high chance that your feeder might crack, especially if it’s a glass hummingbird feeder. Why does it happen? When the temperature of the sugar syrup gets cold and the temperature outside the feeder increases, the feeder cracks. It becomes unusable afterwards.

Hummingbirds might have to wait

As already discussed, sugar water can easily reach its freezing point during winters. It can create a significant problem for hummingbirds. These birds consume nectar every 10-15 minutes. However, they hold their appetite at night and sleep without food. It makes them hungry and eager to eat as they wake up in the daytime. Since your sugar syrup is frozen, it might require waiting for a prolonged period for the water to become normal naturally.

Frozen sugar water will not save them from cold

Frozen sugar water can be a great thing for you in the cold season. However, hummingbirds don’t like frozen sugar syrup as it will not serve them the required warmth in winters. The birds will get away from your feeder and seek more feeders with sugar syrup kept at a normal temperature. So, you should provide lukewarm or normal sugar water to the feeders once you wake up in the morning.

These reasons make it necessary to keep cold sugar water away from hummingbirds. Now, let’s understand what the birds will do if you give freezing sugar syrup to hummingbirds.

Will hummingbirds drink cold nectar?

So, what will happen if you provide cold nectar to the hummers? Or, more precisely, how will the birds react when you give cold sugar water to the hummingbirds? Let’s find out! 

  • Generally, hummingbirds don’t consume cold sugar syrup. They will refrain from drinking from your feeder and find more food sources that serve food at reasonable temperatures. Since they cannot sip frozen nectar, the hummingbirds will abandon your feeder if it remains outside at freezing temperature. Overall, hummingbirds reject cold or freezing sugar syrup from your feeders. 
  • However, hummingbirds become hungry and starve to drink nectar in the morning. They might come to your feeder and drink cold sugar water out of an extreme appetite. It will create metabolic dysfunctions in hummingbirds in a short span. Besides, they might have many conditions leading the birds to starve. It can compel them to drink cold nectar irrespective of their preference. 


Hummingbirds have a fast metabolism. They have higher body temperatures. So, cold sugar water can harm them causing severe hyperthermia. You can avoid such a mishap by thickening the sugar solution, bringing the feeder inside at night, and changing the syrup from time to time.