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Why your hummingbird feeders might attract bats

A Mexican long-tongued bat feeds at a hummingbird feeder in southeastern Arizona. Photo by Ken Bosma (Creative Commons)
A Mexican long-tongued bat feeds at a hummingbird feeder in southeastern Arizona. Photo by Ken Bosma (Creative Commons)

In the column “Since You Asked” in every issue of BirdWatching, Contributing Editor Julie Craves answers readers’ questions about birds and bird behavior. Here’s a question from our October 2015 issue:

Last fall, the nectar in my hummingbird feeders would disappear overnight. Do hummingbirds feed at night? — Sarah Muller, Sierra Vista, Arizona

Hummingbirds would not come to your feeders at night. Other nectar-loving, flying animals are likely making nocturnal visits to your feeders: bats. Two species in your area, endangered lesser long-nosed bat and Mexican long-tongued bat, are known to use hummingbird feeders. Both are important pollinators of cacti and agaves.

About Julie Craves

Julie-Craves-120Julie is supervisor of avian research at the Rouge River Bird Observatory at the University of Michigan Dearborn and a research associate at the university’s Environmental Interpretive Center. She writes about her research on the blog Net Results, and she maintains the website Coffee & Conservation, a thorough resource on where coffee comes from and its impact on wild birds.

Read other questions that Julie has answered in “Since You Asked.”

If you have a question about birds for Julie, send it to [email protected] or visit our Contact pageA version of this article was published in the October 2015 issue of BirdWatching. Subscribe.

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