What's eating my hummer nectar?

milacqua(z7 TX)May 6, 2008

I have two feeders up and every morning the nectar is gone. I have them situated about three feet up from the deck supports and I have noticed dirt stains on the rail below them. I know they are not leaking and if a critter of some kind like a squirrel or coon is standing on the rail I don't think it can reach the feeders. If they jump at them they would knock the feeders down. But the feeders look undisturbed except that they are empty in the morning. What could this be?

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Could it be bats? Here is a link. The link mentions Arizona, but maybe they are in Texas, as well? My first thought would be raccoons. Christy :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Arizona Night Visitors

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 3:24PM
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hummernut(z5 MI)

I had the same thing happen to feeders I hung at our place in the woods. It was Raccoons. At times they left dirty paw prints on the lamp post they climbed up to get at the feeders. At other times I would find the yellow flowers from the feeders on the ground.
The only way I could stop this nonsense, was to change locations, where as they had nothing to climb on. Good luck

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 7:51PM
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milacqua(z7 TX)

Thanks, I don't think it is bats. The dirt on the rail tells me it has to be a four legged critter. I think racoons must be the answer. But how do they drink the nectar? I mean there is no way I can see them doing that without destroying the feeders. Yet the feeders look perfect but empty. I'll try changing locations to a position they can't climp to and see what happens.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 8:16PM
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My guess is bats, especially if the feeders are completely drained. My sister used to live in arizona and she said they had to take their feeders in at night to prevent it.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 8:36PM
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lovefornature(5B IL)

I also think it has to be bats.

Maybe though, something else is trying to climb the pole at night and not reaching the feeders.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 11:21PM
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I wish I had taken a picture. We had our feeder hanging off one of those 2' long angled flower basket rods that attach to the top deck rail. One night I heard a noise. Here was the raccoon, back feet standing on the rail, left paw holding onto the rod, right paw holding the feeder, sucking the nectar down like it was a popsicle. It could be bats, but my money is on the raccoon!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 10:48AM
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milacqua(z7 TX)

Last night I left one feeder empty on the floor of the deck in an upright position thinking that if coons were the culprits they would knock it over trying to see if anything was inside. Sure enough this morning it was turned over on its side. It has to be raccoons as I don't think a bat could do that - but maybe. Also there was no wind so something knocked it over. Tonight I am hanging a full feeder from an angled flag poll. If a coon tries to reach it by climbing on the pole it will give way and everything will be on the ground. If only the nectar is missing it has to be bats. We shall see.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 11:35AM
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If you're curios and have extra money to spend, they make motion activated cameras, some with flash and some with infrared and they may have video cameras like that too. It's a sporting goods item so they're available at Bass Pro and places like that.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 6:55AM
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milacqua(z7 TX)

Yea, I thought about one of those cameras. A friend of mine has a couple set up on game trails on his hunting land to take pictures of deer that come by. They work really well but I don't think I want to spend that kind of money. If necessary I could just loose some sleep one night and stay up watching old movies with one eye and the other looking out the window - LOL!!

My flag pole experiment last night indicated nothing conclusive but it did not appear anything tried to climb the pole to get to the nectar and the feeder was still full this morning. A few more nights and if the feeder is undisturbed I will pretty much know it is not bats and I have to hang them where coons can't climb.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 7:38AM
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milacqua(z7 TX)

Yep, it had to bee coons. I've had the feeders out for several days now where there is nothing a raccoon can climb up on and they have not been touched. I think this rules out bats.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 2:55PM
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