Bats at Hummingbird Feeders

Posted by Douglas Everett on

Are your hummingbird feeders being drained at night? Great, you are indeed helping endangered species.

Most of Arizona's 28 bat species eat insects, but the federally endangered Lesser long-nosed bats (Leptonycteris yerbabuenae), and the Arizona species of concern Mexican long-tongued bats (Choeronycteris mexicana), drink nectar from hummingbird feeders, and also eat pollen and fruits from plants such as the saguaro and agave.

The bats migrate north from Mexico and arrive in southern Arizona as the Saguaro cactus and agave begin to bloom, traveling throughout southern Arizona and then they return south in the fall.

In the fall I usually remove my hummer feeders at night especially the ones on the patio as the bats are sloppy eaters and their mess attracts ants and bees. So, I use an Aspects Oriole feeder (larger food ports) that hangs on a bracket outside our wall. In parallel, beyond that wall and in the back woods I hang several Dr. JBs hummer feeders with the food port flower removed so the food port is larger for their slurpy tongues. I also have several hummers feeders that are in a bat proof cages made with Home Depot remesh wire. This assures that if I oversleep at least the hummers will have some nourishment at daybreak.

I pretty much have it all in balance, as much as you can with Mother Nature. My neighbor is a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/ Arizona Ecological Services Field Office and he uses two Dr. JB’s that also get drained by the bats every night.

Two articles about Tucson nectar eating bats.

A nectar promo for us. We have tried side-by-side feeders---one with our nectar and one with just sugar and the bats empty the nectar feeder quicker than the plain table sugar solution. Another night we thought the location of the feeder had some influence so we switched and indeed the nectar feeder was emptied more rapidly than the sugar feeder. Thus, we surmise the bats, as do hummers, prefer the sweetness of our nectar---as it has sucrose, dextrose and fructose. Fructose is 1.8 x sweeter than just plain white table sugar.

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