Each spring, many of us try to attract hummingbirds to our yard by putting out special nectar feeders. Hummingbirds are the only bird that enjoys drinking nectar, so you may wonder if they are the only ones who do. Do other birds consume hummingbird feeders’ nectar?
Yes, the sweet taste of nectar attracts a wide range of bird species. We’ll see what other species of birds you might see at your hummingbird feeders, as well as what steps you can take to entice additional species to drink from nectar feeders, in this article.
BIRDS THAT DRINK NECTAR FROM HUMMINGBIRD FEEDERS
Sugar isn’t always easy to come by in the wild. To take advantage of the high-energy nectar found deep inside flowers, hummingbirds have evolved everything from their beak shape to hovering ability.
Sugar is also enjoyed by other birds. It supplies them with fast calories and energy, which supports their high metabolism. Not all natural sources of sugar are flowers. Several birds (including us on our pancakes!) enjoy tree sap as a source. Natural sugars, which birds appreciate, may be found in certain berries and fruits.
As a result, hummingbird nectar is often attracted to birds that have already incorporated tree sap and fruit into their diets.
Here a few of the North American birds that you might catch trying to take a sip from your hummingbird feeders:
- Gray Catbirds
- Escaped or naturalized parrots
Hummingbird feeders (other than the hummingbirds!) attract Orioles, who adore fruit and are often attracted to people’s yards by putting out orange halves, grapes, and jelly. They’d be interested in nectar, therefore it’s no surprise.
In reality, like this excellent one from Perky Pet, you may buy oriole-specific nectar feeders. The feeder concept is the same, but with Oriole-specific improvements for bigger bodies.
Rather of the red of hummingbird feeders, Oriole feeders have orange on them as the attractant color. To accommodate the bigger beak size of an oriole feeder, there will be bigger feeding port holes. It will often include additional perches as well as a spot to deposit fruit or jelly.
An oriole feeder is a decent option if you want to encourage orioles to visit your yard or provide them with something different to drink.
MAKING ORIOLE NECTAR
You may prepare your own oriole nectar in the same manner as hummingbird nectar, but it should be less concentrated. For orioles, use a 1:6 ratio instead of the 1:4 ratio of sugar to water that you use for hummingbirds. According to trustworthy sources I’ve looked into, this appears to be the norm.
A 1:4 proportion seems to be safe for orioles, but only a 1:6 proportion is similar to the amount of sugar in the fruits they would normally consume, so it may be healthier for them in that regard.
It’s no surprise that woodpeckers would test their luck with the hummingbird feeder, since they’re used to the sweet taste of tree sap. The Downy is a frequent visitor, as are smaller species. Downy has visited my hummingbird feeders nearly every year since I moved in.
Even the massive Northern Flicker, if it gets solid footing, has been known to drink a little. Woodpeckers that are particularly persistent may damage the feeder holes or bee guards attempting to get to the nectar, which can be a issue.
IS IT BAD IF OTHER BIRDS DRINK FROM HUMMINGBIRD FEEDERS
Can larger birds drink from hummingbird feeders without being harmed? Even if you just have a few inquisitive guests, it’s not always necessary. Many of the birds that stop by to drink won’t be able to fit their beaks in the aperture and swallow much.
Others may be intrigued by the ants or insects that are examining out the feeder or they might be enticed. Woodpeckers and house finches have visited me, although they have not caused any apparent problems.
Yet, there may be some unpleasant consequences if one of these bigger birds thinks your hummingbird feeder is an all-you-can-eat sweets store. The following are the most common complaints:
- Large birds can consume your nectar in a hurry.
- Attracting flies by knocking over your feeder, emptying the nectar
- Hummingbirds are scared away by these noises.
- Feeder ports have been damaged.
- large birds may defile your feeder if they stay around for too long
HOW TO KEEP OTHER BIRDS AWAY FROM YOUR HUMMINGBIRD FEEDER
You may try a few things to discourage other birds from using your hummingbird feeder if you are having any of the difficulties mentioned above.
TAKE AWAY THEIR PERCHES
Hummingbirds can feed while flying, therefore they don’t really need a perch to stand on. A perch is provided on most hummingbird feeders, but it is not required.
In order to feed, any other kind of bird would need a place to stand or grab onto, such as a hummingbird feeder. As a result, removing perches will severely limit or eliminate any other birds’ ability to access the nectar.
However, that isn’t enough by itself. Some birds may be able to grasp onto a saucer-shaped feeder that is hanging from a wire or chain and hang down to access the feeder ports. Your best bet is to get a hummingbird feeder with no perch and a tall structure.
A great example is the Perky Pet “lantern” feeder. It would be exceedingly difficult for any other kind of bird to find a way to drink from it because of its large reservoir and no perches.
PUT UP A SEPARATE ORIOLE FEEDER
Away from the hummingbird feeder, place a nectar feeder made for orioles in your yard. Because of the larger birds’ ease of access, the oriole feeder will probably be a more attractive option than your hummingbird feeder.
PUT OUT A SUET FEEDER
A suet feeder can offer birds more food possibilities and reduce their reliance on your hummingbird feeder, though this technique is more for entertainment. Woodpeckers, catbirds, tanagers, and orioles are among the birds that will seek out nectar and enjoy suet. For birds like orioles and tanagers, you can also purchase suet with a berry and fruit flavor added.
Many bird species feast on nectar, which is a source of quick energy. While they don’t consume much nectar in the wild, when offered with a nectar feeder, they will happily drink. If your hummingbirds are being scared away or if they’re causing damage, this becomes a problem. In this scenario, you may avoid the typical issues by using a perchless feeder or adding nectar feeders in the yard.