Your Wild Birds Guide

What is Drinking My Hummingbird Nectar at Night?

by Charles

Lesser-long-nosed Bat

Lesser-long-nosed Bat

Question: What is Drinking My Hummingbird Nectar at Night?

Answer: Possible 2 Culprets

Hi Charles

There are 2 culprets that I know of that could be consuming your hummingbird nectar at night.

1. Number one are bats. It is quite common for bats of many kinds to drink syrup from hummer feeders. Many bat species have very long tongues which allows them to drink out of the feeders while on the fly. Like Hummingbirds themselves they enjoy a sweet drink to wash down their nightly feed of bug protein.

2. Number two is Flying Squirrels. They have been known to cling to a nectar feeder and sip away. They could actually drain it quite nicely and chew it up in the process as well.

Are There Others Who May Drink Hummingbird Nectar?

There are a couple of other animals which zero in on hummingbird feeders too, Bears and Raccoons. But they will often destroy the feeder in the process, especially the bears.

Video the Culprets

If you are really stumped and don't mind the expense, you could set up a small video cam. They have come down in price and are very popular for setting up in bird houses to watch nestlings grow too.

Share Your Discovery

If you do find out what is stealing your syrup, please share it with us.

Bats Are Beneficial

I would also like to mention that if you do not want to let bats drink from your hummingbird feeder then use a feeder that has bee guards on the feeding ports. I am not sure but it may make it more difficult for the bats to reach the nectar.

And following from that thought, I encourage you to think about whether you want to discourage bats from your yard. They have an incredibly great benefit to have nearby as they eat thousands of insects each night and many of those will be mosquitoes. That's a bonus if you ask me. :D

My Hummingbird Feeder Recommendations

If you would like to read about my recommendations for the best hummingbird feeder most of my pages under Hummingbirds have them. You can see some here on this page about Hummingbird Food.

Happy Birding!


More on Hummingbirds

Attracting Hummingbirds Is not hard if you know what to do. There are ways to make attracting these beautiful little birds to your backyard easier for hours of enjoyment. Learn here.

Cleaning Hummingbird Feeders The little Hummingbird is a feisty and fussy diner! If a good maintenance regimen is followed, bird watching in your backyard will be more rewarding.

> > What is Drinking My Hummingbird Nectar at Night?

Comments for What is Drinking My Hummingbird Nectar at Night?

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Wrap Hummingbird Feeders in Plastic Bag
by: Judith

Good suggestion, Thank you!

Empty Feeders Too
by: Anonymous

I have had feeders out for 5 years with no problems and now some thief is stealing all the nectar at night.

My solution was to tie plastic bags over them at night and so far that has worked. Just a suggestion.

Hummingbird feeder mystery
by: Anonymous

I've been following this thread, and it's been very helpful.

I also am finding my feeders drained in the morning afters years of no incidents. I'm betting it's a racoon.

I thought maybe a possum might be the culprit, but after reading all the postings, Im pretty sure it's a racoon.

You mentioned trying to catch it on video--can you recommend a decent video camera for surveillance in the dark?

I've started bringing the feeders in, but I have a lot of wildlife in my backyard, and I'd love to catch them on camera when I'm not around.

Glad you have found the experiences of others helpful here!

You can see two nature cams that have night capture ability here.

There are cheaper ones available too. Just look around a bit. They may not have the same quality picture as these two, but that may not matter.

If you find your culprit, please drop back and share a photo or two!

Best Judy

I caught bats draining my feeder
by: TC

We had this mystery as well in Guadalajara, until my sister and her husband came to visit. She saw the bats feeding at the feeder and brought it in at night while she was here. As soon as she left, about a week later, we started leaving it out again. A scout bat seems to come and check it, followed soon after by about six or seven other bats. Then, they take turns until they drain the feeder and seem to get drunk in the process. They start flying into pillars and walls as well as each other. I use a commercial feed that is supposed to be organic, all natural and healthy for the hummingbirds. I'm not sure what ingredient is intoxicating the bats. My daughter calls the nighttime feeding "bat bachanalia."


That's an interesting story. I would like to suggest that you contact the company that makes the Hummingbird mix you use and ask them to send you the list of ingredients. Or is it possible the syrup is converting to alcohol quickly because of the heat? At any rate I believe you should continue the practice of bringing it in at night to prevent the possibility of the bats hurting themselves.

Please let us know what transpires.


Mission accomplished!
by: Keri

So I brought my feeder in every night and out in the early mornings for a week and then did a trail run one night and left it out and the thief in the night has moved on!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Woooooooooooo hoooooooooooooooooo Im so happy and so are my little darlings!

Thank you,

Hi Keri
That is awesome! Peace reigns again. Congratulations on your success! Your patience and persistence have won the day.

thief in the night!
by: Keri

So I moved my feeder to see narrow my culprits lol and its not a raccoon.....
Flying squirrels? really? I'm thinking bats? so we are bring it in at night and back out in the early mornings.........its a problem on weekends when we are at the Lake house.........

Empty Hummingbird feeder by morning...
by: KerI

I am so stumped!

I came home from Memorial weekend to an empty hummingbird feeder. This has NEVER been drained in the 5 years I have been feeding them. It is in the same spot which is right outside my slider on my high deck hanging from the railing on a heavy black hanger!

I'm so sad for my little cuties! So I bought a new feeder thinking the one I was using had a leak.

I'm in Michigan and our nights are still cold.

Last night with the new feeder I checked it at 9:00 and my husband went out at 10:30 and its was empty!!!!!!!!!! Please if someone has any ideas help me and soon!!!!!!!!!

Thank you!


That is certainly a quick drain job!

You will find answers to your problem here on this page as you read the experience of other bird feeders.

Bats, squirrels, raccoons and bears are usually the culprits who drink Hummingbird nectar.

Although usually bears will be more conspicuous as they are noisy and will destroy the feeder. Racoons will also cause damage to the feeders.

You may have to change the location of your feeder where it cannot be reached by raccoons and squirrels. Baffles may help too. Although flying squirrels are a unique problem on their own! ;)

Same problem
by: Steve

Something is popping off the yellow clip on flowers from my hummingbird feeder. They are not chewed, only popped off.

It's out of reach of racoons and it hangs on a long wire so squirrels can't reach it.

I haven't been able to catch the culprit and it's driving me crazy. I'm now thinking bats but I've never seen any.

A mounted camera might work but it seems to happen at night.

I'm going to try glueing the flowers on too.

Hi Steve

It is a mystery figuring it out, but I really caution you from using glue.

It would pose a health risk to the Hummers or any other bird which is using the feeder.

And likely that is the culprit, a Finch or Oriole often will pop-off the florets to expose the larger hole underneath.

Please let us know what you discover!

Happy birding

I found the culprit
by: Phillip

For the last month and a half I've been wondering what is stealing the nectar from my feeders at night. My oriole feeder was drained every night. Hummingbird feeders never touched. My Orioles are gone now so I took the feeder down. Now the hummingbird feeder is getting drained. I've seen a chipmunk on top of the feeders multiple times. Figured this is the culprit. Last night before darkness I couldn't believe my eyes, a big raccoon was surgically draining the feeder. Never seen this before. This raccoon just looked at me and posed for a few shots and went back to draining the feeder. So I sent my Vizsla (dog) out after him. Now my Vizsla has some entertainment and it looks like the raccoon got the memo. Feeders are untouched today. I've been feeding these hummingbirds for years and never seen this before. This was the first year I've fed Orioles and think this is what started the mystery. Don't know if it was the grape jelly or the orange which attracted the raccoon. Wish I could post the photo.

Thank you Phillip for sharing your very interesting story. You can upload your photos by clicking here, which leads you to share your story. You do not have to tell your story again just upload your photos. Would love to see them! Judy :)

Who Took the Flowers off my Hummingbird Feeder?
by: Mickey

I have a Perky Pet glass hummingbird feeder that I've been using for 14 years with no problems. This feeder has a glass bottle with a red plastic base and has those yellow snap on flowers over the ports. This morning I noticed that 2 of the flowers were gone, so I went outside to look and saw that all 6 yellow flowers were gone. These flowers snap on tight and they're hard to pop off. I found all 6 of the flowers broken apart all over the ground below. The rest of the feeder isn't damaged at all. Do you have any idea what could have done this? Thanks.


Hi Mickey - I think very likely that a racoon has popped off your flowers and broken them in the process. As Phillip shared above they are very nimble. Thanks for sharing! Judy

Night feeders
by: Anonymous

I have had 2 hummingbirds each evening after starts getting dark 7:00 to 8:30 come to flowers illinois nice to see don't see daytime

Same here
by: Pete

Hi, I have been having the same problem. I do not mind at all, I would just like to know for sure what is eating my nectar. I make my own nectar, and I can bring in over 20 hummingbirds at one time. The only thing I have been able to see at night are bats, and night hawks, or bullbats as some people call them. Thanks for the info, if anyone has anymore info, please let me know, I am out of southestern Arizona, thanks.

Mystery disappearance
by: Anonymous

Seems I am not the only one experiencing the overnight loss of syrup. I have moved the pole mounted feeder around the garden but always the same result. Feeder is found drained. Must be bats.

It often is bats at night if the feeder is not being destroyed. It could be flying squirrels too as they are largely nocturnal. The only way to know for sure is to purchase an outdoor camera. There is a link to one above but there are many to choose from. Makes for very interesting viewing!

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