What Is Drinking My Hummingbird Food At Night?

What Is Drinking My Hummingbird Food At Night?

Is your hummingbird feeder draining its nectar over night? Once leaks have been cleared out, you may be left wondering: “What is sipping my hummingbird food at night?”

Many different species will consume hummingbird nectar at night. Bats, squirrels, raccoons, opossums, bears, insects, and orioles are the principal offenders. Your hummingbird feeders will become known to these creatures as an accessible food supply that they can use at night.

The issue is that the hummingbirds won’t have anything to eat if your feeders are empty every morning. It’s likely that the hummingbirds will cease visiting your yard if there isn’t a consistent food source. If you enjoy luring hummingbirds and watching them feed, that can be very upsetting.

Before you can put an end to the animal, you must first figure out which one is robbing your feeder. This tutorial will show you how to recognize the offending animal and how to put a stop to it.

Let’s begin.

What Is Drinking My Hummingbird Food At Night?

You need to identify the animal you’re up against before you try to stop the nectar thief. The easiest strategy to prevent animals from visiting your hummingbird feeders at night is to specifically target your deterrent solution toward that animal.

Let’s examine the finest methods for determining what kind of critter is consuming your hummingbird nectar.

Set up a trail cam

Observing the animal in question in the act will allow you to identify it with the greatest ease.

Using a trail camera pointed at your feeder is the only effective way to accomplish this (like this one).

The best cameras are trail cams since they may be properly disguised and can record in low light. To put it another way, they’ll spare you from having to remain up till the wee hours trying to spot the creatures at fault.

A trail cam is even better because it will clearly show you how the animal is emptying your feeder. This provides you with some excellent information on how to prevent them from removing the nectar within.

Animals visiting your yard will allow you to capture hours of entertaining video. Some of the hummingbirds that come to the area when you’re not available to watch them will also be visible to you.

Scat and trail marks

Look around your yard for any animal droppings or signs of their trail-blazing foraging. In locations with soft soil, such as plant beds, it is best to search for path markers.

Wildlife that is active at night may potentially leave scat marks in your yard. Animal waste is typically unique to each species and might aid in determining what has been around your hummingbird feeders.

Always exercise caution when searching for animal waste. It frequently harbors several diseases that might make you ill if you come into contact with them. Your health is severely compromised by raccoon poop.

Assess the damage

Examining your yard for additional evidence of damage is the third way you might find the offender.

Possums, raccoons, bears, and squirrels will attempt to raid your trash bins in search of additional food scraps.

Even your yard’s plants and crops may have suffered some damage. Often, you can identify the animal that has visited based on bite marks or eating habits. You might even find their eggs or caterpillars on plants close to your feeder if insects are the cause.

What Animals drink hummingbird food At Night?

Several creatures have the ability to consume all of the nectar in your hummingbird feeders in a single night. We’ll examine each one and offer tips on how to prevent them from emptying your feeders.

1. Bats

1. Bats

Your feeder contains nectar that bats can easily obtain by landing inside and consuming. They might even hover over the feeder ports while sucking nectar out with their long tongues.

Due to their diet being so similar to hummingbirds, bats consume your hummingbird nectar. While some species of bats feed mostly insects, other species eat fruit and nectar to provide for their energy needs. The scent of delicious honey draws these bats in.

It’s crucial to understand that, despite their potential annoyance, bats are good for the ecosystem. However, if you’re worried that bats may spread diseases, you should prevent them from visiting your bird feeders.

Make the nectar inaccessible to bats as a quick fix to stop them from feeding at your feeder. You have two options for your feeders at night: remove them or cover them. This has the drawback that you’ll have to get up 20 minutes before sunrise to reopen the feeders to the hummingbirds.

Attach a bee guard to your feeding ports if you enjoy sleeping (these are the ones you want). This is a quick and easy technique to keep your feeder outside while preventing bats from accessing the honey within.

2. Squirrels

I doubt that finding squirrels on this list will surprise you if you’re a backyard bird watcher. Any type of birdfeeder you have will be raided by squirrels. Nothing is different with your hummingbird feeders.

They will enjoy consuming the sweet nectar within, which will give them the energy to hunt for food and store up fat for the next winter.

Squirrels can access your hummingbird nectar by tilting the feeder so that the nectar drips out at an angle where they can consume it.

The squirrel can access your feeders by scaling a neighboring structure or by stooping down to the level of the mounted hummingbird feeder. Using a squirrel baffle is the quickest technique to prevent squirrels from reaching your feeder (like this one).

Because squirrels dislike overpowering aromas, you can mix a little cinnamon into your hummingbird nectar. The squirrels won’t like the flavor, but the hummingbirds don’t care.

3. Raccoons & Opossums

Opossums and raccoons are ravenous animals that will consume just about anything. They have a keen sense of smell and will be drawn to the nectar’s sugary deliciousness.

They tip the feeders until the nectar flows out, just like the squirrels do, to get to the nectar. Both creatures are excellent climbers and will make every effort to get to your hummingbird nectar.

Raccoons and possums will attempt to dig up your feeders, you’ll notice. They can then lift them up and sip from them like a large mug in this manner.

Make certain that your hummingbird feeders are mounted securely and cannot be easily knocked off. You can also try to prevent both critters from climbing up and initially reaching your feeder by using a raccoon baffle (this one is amazing).

You should also read my article on how to keep raccoons out of your garden.

4. Bears

You can have a serious issue on your hands if you reside in bear country. Nectar attracts bears to your yard because they can detect its aroma from great distances.

Any poles the feeders are set on can easily be pulled down by bears, who will then consume the nectar inside.

The best defense against bears is to keep them out in the first place with a solid fence or railing. If it isn’t possible, try hanging your feeder at least 10 feet off the ground so that bears can’t access it.

A hungry bear won’t be deterred by keeping a feeder near your house. Additionally, it can put you or your loved ones in danger and motivate bears to return for more food.

The best course of action is to remove your feeders. Bears hibernate in October, so keep that in mind. Before the rest of the hummingbirds travel south for the winter, you might be able to leave your feeders out for a few weeks.

5. Flying Insects

There are a few flying insects that may be responsible for depleting your hummingbird feeders.

Nectar-eating flying insects include:

  • Bees
  • Wasps
  • Hornets
  • Green Jackets

Some of these insects can have unrestricted access to your hummingbird feeders at night because they are nocturnal. While some people might not eat at night, others might attack your feeders extremely early in the morning, before you awake.

In contrast to the other animals or birds on this list, flying insects are often much smaller. However, because there are so many insects, they can empty the feeders. They actively share the location of this incredible food supply with other individuals of their species.

The good news is that there are numerous strategies you can use to deter them. See my article for 14 simple methods to prevent flying insects from landing on your hummingbird feeders.

6. Ants

If there are no signs of animals close to your feeders, you might be dealing with an ant infestation.

Your hummingbird feeders should not be around ants. By slipping in, they contaminate the nectar, ruining its flavor for the hummingbirds. They also pose a threat to the health of hummingbirds by transporting viruses and even chemicals.

Ants will approach your feeder in large numbers and soon empty it, just like flying insects do. They’ll even leave scent trails near your feeder so that other ants can reach them quickly.

Visit my article for 13 effective techniques to prevent ants from accessing your hummingbird feeders. You’ll also discover 5 techniques that I don’t advise you to employ.

7. Orioles

When you try to draw in just one nectar-loving bird, you can end yourself drawing in several different species.

Well-known birds like orioles also enjoy eating nectar. They will gladly eat delicious nectar from your hummingbird feeders.

When they believe no one can see them, orchard orioles will typically eat from hummingbird feeders. Additionally, because they are much larger than hummingbirds, your supply may run out very soon.

If you enjoy watching hummingbirds, having orioles also visit won’t likely bother you. However, if they are stifling your hummingbird feeders, it would be best if you got them their own oriole feeder. On Amazon, this is the one that sells the most.

Oriole feeders are orange instead of red because this color draws them in more effectively. Additionally, unlike a hummingbird feeder, the portholes are made to make it easier for orioles to feed. Some even come with additional attachments for jelly and fruit.

The recipe for the nectar is the same, which is good news. Making a larger batch will therefore suffice to feed both birds and keep them satisfied.

Final thoughts

Final thoughts

Use this guidance to determine the immediate actions that need to be taken. Your hummingbird feeder will soon be set up and fully supplied, ready for the morning’s arrival of the hungry birds.


At what time do hummingbirds go to sleep?

From sunset to morning, hummingbirds sleep for an average of 12 hours daily. In terms of how long they sleep, hummingbirds can enter torpor for anywhere between 8 and 16 hours per day, depending on the season. But it may be argued that they sleep for an average of 12 hours each night. The customary starting time is dusk until daybreak.

What time does a hummingbird wake up?

They have been observed by scientists to arise an hour or two before daybreak. Consequently, they do contain an internal clock. Sadly, a hummingbird may be sick or dead if it does not get well within this time range.

Where do my hummingbirds go at night?

Hummingbirds frequently choose a wind-sheltered twig to spend the night on. Additionally, throughout the winter, they are capable of torpor, a deep sleep-like state. The peculiar behavior is typically associated with cold nights, but it can also occur during the day when they become tame.

Do hummingbirds like light at night?

Hummingbirds often feed strongly in the morning and evening and congregate around 30 minutes or so before dusk. Hummingbirds can continue to feed far into the night in some places, especially if there is artificial lighting present, like a porch or security light, usually in the summer.


Like it? Share with your friends!

Sarah Green

Wildlife and Nature Fan & Author