Do Hummingbirds Eat at Night?


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Hummingbirds are a highly active species of bird that helps pollinate flowers and provide perfect spring and summer ambiance to any garden or yard. Hummingbirds expend so much energy when active, that it is only natural they need adequate rest. Since these birds eat nectar and insects voraciously during the day, you may also be wondering do hummingbirds eat at night?

No, hummingbirds are not nocturnal birds, and therefore do not eat during the night. But these birds may feed on nectar at night on rare occasions the birds do not get enough nectar during the day. Another possible reason that may lead hummingbirds to eat at night is migratory patterns when the birds fly to warmer regions for the winter. 

What Time Do Hummingbirds Come Out To Eat?

Hummingbirds are attracted to yards that feature many flowers and hummingbird feeders. You can also expect to find hummingbirds feeding in your yard throughout the day, but are there specific times these birds prefer to feed?

Although these birds eat all day due to the enormous amount of energy they use, mornings and the early evening hours are the most active times. This is because the birds need nectar and protein from insects to start the day and to end it as well. 

Just think about it: hummingbirds have a heartbeat of roughly 1,260 beats per minute. Add to this the competitive nature of finding food before other birds, as well as their fast-flying speeds, and it is easy to see why they feed the most at dawn and dusk. 

Furthermore, hummingbirds will continue to eat nectar and forage for insects throughout the day as well. This requires quite a bit of food. So it is not unusual to find hummingbirds eating nectar from plants or your feeders before the sun comes up fully. 

But like daily life for all animals, everything is not always clear-cut and guaranteed. Hummingbirds may have to circle back to consume food based on unique circumstances. 

This begs the question, do hummingbirds come out at night?

Do Hummingbirds Come Out at Night?

It is important to attract hummingbirds with a yard filled with insects and ample amounts of nectar and multiple feeders. But as mentioned above, competition from other birds may cause some hummingbirds to need to feed at a later time.

And this is a primary reason why you may notice hummingbirds feeding at night. Since hummingbirds are constantly flying – even while feeding – adequate nutrition is essential to their quality of life. So the birds could easily forgo sleep in order to feed properly. So make sure you leave your feeders up unless there are strong winds forecast overnight.

Hummingbirds will also come out at night during migration. One reason for this behavior is to ensure they reach their destination sooner rather than later. This is even more evident if hummingbirds must fly over large bodies of water where there is nowhere to land for nightly rest.

So apart from migration or rare nighttime feeding, you can expect hummingbirds to come out right before dawn and retire for the night around dusk. 

What Do Hummingbirds Do at Night Time?

Due to the large amounts of energy hummingbirds use during the day, the birds will sleep at night. 

Once the birds complete their final feeding, they will fly back to their nests. A typical hummingbird nest will be located on tree branches located a safe distance from the ground. Once in their nests, the birds will fall asleep until right before dawn when the birds begin their day again.

When hummingbirds do come out at night on rare occasions, the birds will visit typical feeding spots. This includes your feeder if you have left it out overnight. The birds may also forage for nocturnal insects if needed. Once the birds have fed, they will return to their nests. 

But again, this is very rare. If you are consistently noticing your hummingbird nectar disappearing overnight, something else may be drinking the nectar. 

What Is Eating My Hummingbird Nectar at Night?

Disappearing overnight hummingbird nectar is actually quite common. Since there are no viable insects that could empty nectar from a feeder, rodents or other nocturnal animals are likely the culprit.

Squirrels love hummingbird nectar, but most species of squirrel are active during the day. But the flying squirrel is one species that are nocturnal, which means it eats throughout the night. This is particularly true of the southern flying squirrel, which completely sleeps during the day. 

Since these squirrels can glide through the air, it is easy for the rodents to land on suspended hummingbird feeders. Flying squirrels will suck on the feeder ports like straws to extract the nectar or sugar water in the feeder. 

Raccoons are also nocturnal and will eat and drink practically anything. Unlike flying squirrels, raccoons will likely not be so delicate to hummingbird feeders. To get to the nectar, raccoons will likely need to break open the feeder. So this means you can expect a damaged feeder the next morning. 

Worst of all, it can be difficult to keep raccoons from feeders since these animals are expert climbers. 

If you live in an area with bear populations, these animals can also be a culprit. Like raccoons, bears will also climb to reach hummingbird feeders, and likely break the feeder to get to the liquid inside. 

If you ever notice these animals drinking hummingbird nectar or discover damaged feeders the next morning, consider bringing your feeders inside overnight. 

Do Hummingbirds Eat During The Night?

Because hummingbirds are diurnal, meaning they are awake during the day and asleep at night, they do not usually eat during the night. Although it is not unheard of to see hummingbirds still feeding just after dusk. If you are discovering that your hummingbird feeder is emptied throughout the night, it is most likely another nocturnal animal!

About The Author
Robert has been an avid birdwatcher pretty much his entire life. Living in the suburbs he does his best to bring wild birds into his backyard. He currently has 13+ bird feeders in his yard and also raises and races homing pigeons. Robert writes part-time for Wild Yards, mostly about the subject he cares most about - birds.

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