Do Hummingbirds Drink Water? Do Hummingbirds Use Bird Baths?

Water attracts backyard birds like a moth to a flame. Birds love to splash around and bathe in clean water. You might spot them perched at the edge of a pond to drink water, but this happens occasionally. They usually like to get their feathers wet under a gentle spray that refreshes them.

If you love the fluttering movements of birds, why not transform your landscape with a fountain? You can add plenty of other features in your backyard to provide the birds with what they want.

green and white bird on brown round table

Quick Answer

When it comes to hummingbirds, they love water. However, the type of water they prefer differs, depending on its purpose. Sugar water attracts hummingbirds the most, which is why they gravitate more towards flower nectar. Sweet water is for drinking, whereas pond water is for bathing. Hummingbirds love a light shower over a complete soak. They only want to wet their feathers because they fulfill their hydration through liquid flower nectar.

Now that you know the water preference of hummingbirds, let’s take an in-depth look at from where and how they get their drinking and bathing water:

Picking an Attractive Bird Bath for Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds are attracted to all things bright. Whether building a fountain or buying a commercial bird bath, it needs to be colorful, remarkably shallow, and have features such as drippers, sprinklers, or misters. These birds are quite petite, which is why their water needs differ compared to larger birds.

When creating a birdbath, maintenance is the key to ensuring that the hummingbirds come to it for sustenance. If the birdbath has a pump, refill the basin regularly. As we mentioned above, hummingbirds need two types of water: Natural and sweet. So, make sure that you have two birdbaths side by side.

Here’s how to choose the right birdbath for hummingbirds:

Red Is the Color

Hummingbirds love bright colors, such as red, blue, green, and yellow. These colors indicated that there was nectar nearby. You will ensure that the hummingbirds visit the birdbath by picking a bring color. To make the structure more appealing, hang a few potted plants beside the birdbath so that the hummingbirds say for a while.

Keep It Shallow

You should consider the itty-bitty size of hummingbirds when choosing a birdbath. A larger structure will intimidate the birds and might make them feel threatened. Due to this reason, you should keep the birdbath small and shallow. You can choose a standard birdbath and revamp it by adding rocks and stones to create a shallows splashing area. The addition of stones makes the surface less slippery, allowing the hummingbirds to play in the water for as long as possible.

Add a Perch for Drying, Preening, and More

You probably wonder why hummingbirds need a spot to perch and dry themselves when they can flap their wings and get it done in just a couple of seconds? Well, a perch is not just for drying! It’s also for standing, eating, climbing, playing, and grooming. Some shrubs and trees have natural perches, and some you can create with clotheslines.

Look for the Extra Features

Hummingbirds love misters. The light spray is ideal for them as it allows them to hover in it or fly through it. You can also direct the mister on a large leaf, which will give them another surface to rub against and wash themselves. A small dripper creates a shower under which the hummingbirds can stand for an impromptu bath. A weeping fountain offers a thin watering sheet that hummingbirds can enjoy without drowning. Last is the sprinkler that is great for on-the-go baths. Set it to spray in an arc so that the water spreads all over.

Giving Hummingbirds Water

Hummingbirds love sugar water because it is similar to the nectar they get from flowers. This nectar makes up a large part of their diet. However, finding the right flower that supplies them with an adequate amount of nectar can be exhausting. Hence if you have hummingbirds flying around in your backyard, you need to create and provide a food source for them.

Hummingbirds drink sugar water and nectar using their tongues. They might be tiny, but their tongue is so long that it retracts and coils up around their eyes and skull. Their tongue has two tubes that allow the birds to suck on sweet water like drinking from a straw. The tongue flaps 18 times/second, which is fast for a bird. Hence, if you are making sweet water for the feeder, you need to ensure it’s not overly sweet. However, remember that sugar water does not provide the nutrients that sweet water does. It helps them quench their thirst, but they need flower nectar to survive migration. So, plant flowers, such as bee balms, columbines, lupines, daylilies, foxgloves, daylilies, petunias, and hollyhocks in your garden.

How to Make Sugar Water for Hummingbirds?


  • Water
  • Refined White Sugar


  • Mix 4 parts water with 1 part sugar and put on heat until the sugar dissolves
  • Do not add any food coloring or essence
  • Fill the feeder with sugar water
  • Pour the extra sugar water into a glass bottle and store it in the fridge
  • Clean the feeders every day and change the sugar water

What’s the Best Sugar for Making Sweet Water?

Refine white sugar, which is your regular table sugar, is the best sugar for making sweet water for hummingbirds. Do not use raw, unprocessed sugars, corn syrup, or honey. This is because these sugars have additional ingredients, like cornstarch. This can be harmful to the hummingbirds and might slow them down, causing problems in protecting themselves.

Is It Safe to Store Sugar Water?

Yes, you can store excess sugar water in the fridge. However, do not keep it for more than 2 weeks. If you see mold growing on the water, immediately make a new batch and change the water in the feeders.

How Often Do I Need to Change the Water?

You should clean the feeders and change the water every other day. However, if you don’t have the time to do this, you should clean and refill twice a week in summer and once every week throughout the cold weather.

Where Should I Place the Feeder?

Place feeders in areas where there are no windows and less activity. Hummingbirds are afraid of loud noises, such as children playing and dogs barking. Hence, their feeder should be nearby trees to perch on the branches and keep an eye on intruders.


Hummingbirds need nectar and sweet water to survive. They migrate to the breeding grounds in the western and southern states of the US during February. You need to make sure that your feeders and birdbaths are ready

during this time.

You will often have to replenish the water during windy and sunny days. Please make sure they are no impurities in it as this can lead to bacteria and harm the hummingbirds.