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Is Tap Water Safe for Hummingbirds?

Is Tap Water Safe for Hummingbirds?

You might think that hummingbirds have high immunity as they are wild. So, giving them tap water might feel safe. But, is it true? Or, more precisely, is tap water OK for hummingbirds? This article will give you all answers right below!

Tap water is not safe for hummingbirds as it can be unclean, have high mineral content, contaminated, have high chemical content and can harm hummingbirds. However, it is safe when it is clean and safe for humans to drink. It is best to avoid as a precaution and use spring water or after boiling.

Is tap water safe for hummingbirds to drink?

Most of the time, it is safe for hummingbirds to drink tap water. If the water is safe to drink for humans, hummingbirds can also drink it. However, it’s better to know that hummingbirds are prone to get sick if you give them tap water with high mineral content. 

Many regions have hard tap water. It can harm hummingbirds. Also, if your area gets chlorinated tap water, it will be better if you give them purified water. However, it doesn’t mean that you can give them distilled water to keep them away from minerals. All beneficial minerals, microbes, and pathogens of all kinds are absent from distilled water obtained through steam distillation. The water molecules in distilled water will associate themselves with minerals and electrolytes in your hummingbird’s body.

Also, it’s better to stay alert if you have local water storage and a tap connected to it. Many times, these storage tanks get infested with algal blooms. It happens more frequently if your storage tank isn’t clean. Moreover, it occurs mostly during humid, rainy seasons. It’s better to check such tanks from time to time for dirt and algal blooms before you mix the tap water into the hummingbird food.

Overall, many hummingbird lovers give the birds tap water to drink without harming them. So, tap water is safe for hummingbirds if it doesn’t have high chemical content.

Can you make hummingbird food with tap water?

Hummingbird food is mostly sugar water. So, you need a water source to prepare your nectar. You can use tap water to make their food, provided it is free from iron, fluoride, and chlorine. If you drink tap water directly, it’s probably safe for hummingbirds. However, if your tap runs polluted water, it’s better to not mix it into hummingbird food. You might risk killing the birds unintentionally. 

The best thing to use will be filtered tap water to make hummingbird food. Also, you can boil the tap water and strain it to make it more suitable for the small birds. It removes dirt, fungi, and algal blooms from the tap water. However, it might not remove chemicals from the tap water entirely. Still, it will save your hummingbirds from getting sick after drinking nectar from your feeder.

So, give your hummers tap water only if you are 100% sure of the tap water quality. However, you can give them purified water from filters to be on the safer side even if you are slightly unsure of the water content.

What type of water do you put in a hummingbird feeder?

Hummingbirds are small birds with a blazing-fast metabolism. Their bodies will respond to pathogens, microbes, algae, fungus, and chemicals in tap water differently than us. So, staying careful when you give tap water to the hummingbird feeder won’t harm you or the hummers.

Now, you might want to conclude which type of water is safe to give in the hummingbird feeders. Here’s your answer!

Tap water

Tap water is great for hummingbirds only if it is free from contamination. Usually, tap water contains the necessary minerals and good bacteria required for a healthy metabolism among the hummers. So, you can give them tap water if it’s clean and chemical-free.


Another favorable water source for hummingbirds is the natural spring water. Springwater contains the required minerals for the benefit of the hummers. Besides, it is clean and free from pathogens. So, it’s the safest drinking water for hummingbirds.

Filtered water

Giving your hummingbirds filtered water can be an excellent solution if your water supply is contaminated and contains chemicals. Also, it will remove excess iron, chlorine, bacteria, and pathogens from the water. So, the purified water will not harm the hummers.

Boiled water

If your tap water contains slight impurities, you can remove them by boiling and straining the water. It will make the water harmless for the hummingbirds.

Do you need to boil sugar water for hummingbirds?

Do you know? Your tap water might appear clean and specified as fit for drinking for humans. However, it might be unfit for the hummers in multiple ways. Also, the sugar you use can contain impurities, acquired during the refining process. So, the sugar water you think is perfect can harm the hummers if left untreated.

Since hummingbirds are susceptible to slight water impurities, it’s better to boil the sugar water to purify their food before serving them in the feeder. Boiling will help you neutralize the food toxins effortlessly.

Precautions to take when giving tap water to hummingbirds

This article might have cleared your confusion regarding the use of tap water in hummingbird food. However, it’s better to take a glimpse of all the precautions one must take when giving tap water to hummingbirds.

Chlorine is harmful to the hummer

Many regions have a chlorinated water supply. Although it might seem fit for humans, chlorinated water can harm the hummers. So, ensure that the tap water doesn’t have excess chlorine as it can kill the birds.

Iron-rich water isn’t suitable

Does your tap run reddish or brownish water? It’s probably due to the high iron content in the tap water. Avoid giving such water to the hummers without proper purification.

Clean your local storage

If you have local water storage, ensure that it is clean and doesn’t contain algae and fungi. You can purify such water or boil it to get a drinkable water supply for the little birds.


Hummingbirds can drink tap water only if it’s pure. However, you can boil or purify it to be extra sure of what you give to the small birds. It will be best if you use fresh spring water to make their food. Their health has the utmost importance, after all.