do humming birds eat at night

DEAR JOAN: Over the holidays my daughter noticed a hummingbird flying around our patio ceiling lamp, almost running into it.

She turned the light off and the bird then came over to our kitchen window and kept pecking at the glass, like it was trying to get into the house. We shut the blinds and it went away.

I’m not casting doubt on your ability to identify a hummingbird, but there are large Sphinx moths that frequently are mistaken for hummingbirds because of their coloring and size, and because they have the ability to hover in mid air like hummingbirds.

What hurts this theory, however, is that it’s winter and we shouldn’t be seeing moths. But stranger things have happened.

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Hummingbirds feed throughout the day, from dawn to dusk. About a half an hour before sunset, they find a place to roost for the night. Their high metabolisms require them to feed frequently throughout the day, but at night and in the cold, they are able to slow down that metabolism and consume less energy.

Nighttime excursions usually are reserved for migrating, although it’s not completely unheard of to see hummers feeding at night. They usually do this in warmer weather, however.

If you did have a hummer flitting about the lamp, it might have been delayed in finding a roosting spot and so was fueling up for the night by eating insects attracted to the light. Hummers eat nectar, but they also balance out their diet with protein.

DEAR JOAN: We have a house in Concord that was just inspected by a licensed termite inspector. No active termites were found under the house, although there were signs of previous activity.

What the inspector did find was that the crawl space under the house was inundated with all kinds of live spiders — wolf, garden, black widow and more. The inspector told us that in all his years he had never found so many spiders in one place.

Our question is, what are all these spiders living on? Could the spiders be eating termites, which is why no live termites were found?

DEAR CLARE: While spiders are wonderful at eating a lot of insects we don’t want in our yards, they’re not effective at controlling termites.

Web-spinning spiders, including the black widow and garden spiders, only eat the termites they find trapped in their webs, while the wolf spider does not use a web. Eating a few termites a day won’t wipe out a colony of thousands, so something else must have been responsible for the destruction of the colony.

What all those spiders mean, however, is that you have a yard that is in balance with nature. Your yard attracts enough insects to keep the spiders happy and healthy, and which means you don’t have to use insecticides.

Some people would freak out at the news of so many spiders under their house, but it’s such a good thing to discover. The spiders will stay beneath the house, not in it, and far away from anyone who has spider phobias.

It also speaks well of your gardening practices, and helping your patch of the world stay in harmony. Keep up the good work.

The fact that it is winter and we shouldn’t be seeing moths undermines this theory, though. But stranger things have happened.

But the significance of all those spiders is that your yard is in harmony with the natural world. You don’t need to use insecticides because your yard attracts enough insects to maintain the health and happiness of the spiders.

Migration trips are typically scheduled for the night, though it’s not unheard of to see hummers feeding at that time of day. They usually do this in warmer weather, however.

Hummingbirds feed throughout the day, from dawn to dusk. They locate a location to spend the night roosting about thirty minutes before dusk falls. They must feed frequently during the day due to their high metabolisms, but they can slow down their metabolism and use less energy at night and in the winter.

DEAR JOAN: During the holidays, our patio ceiling lamp was nearly struck by a hummingbird that my daughter saw flying around it.

My other option is to figure out a way to bend the stakes into hooks so that I can hang the feeders where the coons can’t get to them. This is much more complicated, but it’s probably more effective and requires less maintenance.

I have a few little glass feeders in the shape of blossoms that are staked in the garden (I also have one hanging from a tree over the same area). The hummers truly like them, and they have been there all summer. They enjoy having more space to interact when they dart between the ones in the garden and the ones in the tree. (They would argue and fight over the hanging one, so I rarely had more than one hummingbird in the yard at once.) I even relocated a few of them to the edge of my patio, where I’ve spent the majority of the summer gazing at them “up close and personal.” Occasionally, they approach and linger right in front of me, observing both me and them!

The other night, though, apparently the racoons found the feeders. When I went outside to greet the hummers in the morning, I noticed that the lawn was covered in feeder parts, the feeders had been emptied, and all of the stakes were bent. I brought them all in, cleaned them, skipped a night in the hopes that the coons would move on, and then I put them back outside, but last night it happened again.

Now that the racoons have gone to sleep, I may just need to bring them inside at night and return them outside in the morning. Although I’m not thrilled about adding so much more work to my feeding schedule, I’ll do it to keep the hummers content. If the feeders are gone at night, will the hummers still notice them?

Any further ideas from all of you experts? How can one “coon-proof” a feeder? More Talks


Should I bring my hummingbird feeders in at night?

Maintain several feeders and rotate them. As they freeze, move them indoors, then back outside when the nectar has thawed. 3. Avoid bringing in feeders at night as some hummingbirds will come out of torpor to feed several hours before dawn or during dark hours of the night.

What does hummingbirds do at night?

Hummingbirds are active and never sleep during the day. After it gets dark, they find a safe, secure place to perch, and then go into a state known as “torpor” — basically a very deep sleep akin to hibernation. Their metabolism slows by up to 95%.

What is eating my hummingbird nectar at night?

Bats, that’s who- specifically Lesser Long-nosed Bats.

Do hummingbirds go all night without eating?

The metabolism of a hummingbird is extremely high and without constant feeding it cannot survive. At their daytime metabolic rate hummingbirds would never survive the night, so they slow down their heart rate and breathing rate to a fraction of their daytime rates.