What Can Be Done About Hummingbirds Emptying Feeder Too Fast?
A question from Victor in Atlanta, GA:
I have a Hummingbird feeder in my backyard.
I believe that I am currently feeding at least three birds.
They are going through a lot of food, about 20oz every two to three days.
Should I change up the mixture?
I am feeding a concentrate with water added.
Should I add more concentrate?
Thank you for asking!
It is great that you have such a wonderful activity going on around your feeder!
Their busy lives keep us pretty busy looking after the feeding stations we put out for them.
There are a few possibilities that could answer your question of why your feeder is being drained so quickly.
1. Something else is drinking your nectar from your feeders.
It could be another songbird such as a Finch or Oriole if the ports on your hummingbird feeders are big enough for them to insert their beaks so they can lick up the nectar.
But you would likely notice these songbirds that love nectar too at your feeder!
There is another possibility and that could be that another creature is emptying your feeders at night. You can read more about who that at, What is Drinking My Hummingbird Nectar at Night?.
2. The second reason could be they are simply just very much in need of energy.
When their migration journey has ended, or when they are along the route, or before they begin the migration, they are in great need of extra food.
For male birds fighting for territory, attracting a mate with their aerial dance, protecting a mate from other suitors, and for the females building a nest and raising babies, are all very taxing activities that require extra energy, which can only be derived from food.
3. You might need to simply purchase another feeder, which will provide twice as much food for the little birds and make your nectar last longer.
But do remember that keeping fresh nectar out for your Hummers is very important.
If the sugary solution sits too many days outside, especially in intense heat, it will develop mold or go rancid.
Putting fresh syrup out every couple of days is never a bad thing!
Ready-Made Hummingbird Food
It is very important to use the correct mixture ratio.
Follow the directions on the ready-to-mix package carefully.
You should never add fresh nectar to what has been in the feeders already.
When the feeders need refilling you should wash them and rinse them well.
Then refill with fresh nectar mixture.
And never mix it stronger than the directions say on your package.
Making Your Own Hummingbird Food
Or if you are making your own Hummingbird food follow a 1 to 4 ratio of one part white sugar to 4 parts water.
There are times when it is better to use different strengths of the nectar mixture. You can learn more about that here at How to Mix Hummingbird Food?.
You can boil the water first before adding the sugar, but you do not have to.
Just make sure the homemade nectar is cooled down before re-filling the bottle if you do boil it or the hot syrup will make the feeder leak.
You will want your feeders clean and fresh for the arrival of young birds.
Some Hummingbird females can raise 2 to 3 broods in one summer in the more southerly regions of North America!
So you could be very busy all summer! ;D
I hope this helps. Happy Humming!
More Hummingbird Info
Balcony Hummingbird Feeders Is a Balcony 4 floors up too high for feeding Hummers? Will they come that far up to feed?
When Do I Take Down My Hummer Feeder Some people believe that nectar feeders should be taken down by a certain time or the little birds will not fly south. But is that true?
Nectar Feeder: When Should It Go Out? It is important to get your feeders out in good time in the spring for the return of your spring travelers. Find out when is a good time in your area.