Flying squirrels are more common than most people realize. But, while nocturnal squirrels are lovely, they can sometimes pose problems. For example, tree squirrels are known to eat from bird feeders and drain hummingbird feeders if they can, but are flying squirrels guilty of these same habits?
Flying squirrels do drink from hummingbird feeders. These squirrels are nocturnal and are known to empty hummingbird feeders overnight. Keep your feeders far away from tall objects, install squirrel deterrents, and use squirrel-proof feeders to prevent them from drinking the nectar.
There are multiple species of squirrels in the world., and flying squirrels are among the most elusive, meaning that it is difficult to tell if these squirrels are guilty of drinking from hummingbird feeders.
Let’s explore the habits of these fascinating creatures to determine if you need to shield your hummingbird feeders from them or if only regular squirrels are to blame for the empty feeders.
Do Flying Squirrels Drink Form Hummingbird Feeders?
Hummingbird feeders are an ideal way to keep the local hummingbird population healthy and thriving. Still, the trouble here is that so many other animals enjoy drinking hummingbird nectar that it feels impossible to keep them safe for them all.
Tree squirrels are among the most challenging animals to keep from hummingbird feeders.
It is common knowledge that tree squirrels are among the most regular culprits of this theft, but are flying squirrels just as guilty as their cousins?
When Do Flying Squirrels Drink?
The truth is that flying squirrels drink from hummingbird feeders, even if you rarely see them do it.
These squirrels are almost entirely nocturnal, and the few species that are not exclusively nocturnal are still much more active at night.
The most common species of flying squirrels are entirely nocturnal, and they are most active immediately after sunset and just before dawn, which means you are highly unlikely to catch them in the act of drinking from a hummingbird feeder.
If you fill up your hummingbird feeders at the end of the day and wake up to empty feeders, flying squirrels are likely draining the feeders overnight.
Flying squirrels never live alone and generally live in family groups of eight or more squirrels, all of which will enjoy drinking the sweet fluids from a hummingbird feeder.
Eight flying squirrels can quickly empty a hummingbird feeder overnight, and they are very likely to do so if they can reach the feeder.
When Do Flying Squirrels Drink From Hummingbird Feeders?
Flying squirrels are among the chief culprits of hummingbird feeder theft, but you likely won’t see them drinking.
This leads many people to wonder when these squirrels are most likely to drink from a hummingbird feeder to protect their feeders from these animals better.
Flying squirrels are primarily nocturnal, but their habits are more unpredictable than other nocturnal creatures.
Flying squirrels mainly eat insects that are most active right after sunset and just before dawn.
This means that most flying squirrels are active for only around four hours per night – two hours after sunset and two hours before dawn.
These active hours combined with the fact that flying squirrels are incredibly skittish and elusive means that you are unlikely to see them drinking from your hummingbird feeders if you are not explicitly waiting for them.
If you live in an area with a high population of flying squirrels, there is no use in refilling the feeders at night, as all of the nectar will go to the squirrels.
However, the fact that these animals are nocturnal means that they are highly unlikely to drink from the feeders during the day, which means that the birds will get the nectar during the daylight hours.
How To Keep Flying Squirrels Away From Hummingbird Feeders
Now that we have established that flying squirrels drink from hummingbird feeders and tend to do this at night let’s explore some of the best ways to keep these rodents from raiding your hummingbird feeders.
These squirrels are more challenging to keep away from bird feeders, but there are some effective methods that you can try.
Regular Squirrel Deterrents Do Not Work
It is important to remember that flying squirrels are not the same as regular squirrels, and regular squirrel methods and deterrents for keeping squirrels away from hummingbird feeders may not be effective.
These squirrels are not only likely to climb up to the feeder or jump onto the feeder from nearby objects, but they possess the unique ability to glide down onto it from impressive distances.
Flying squirrels can glide for hundreds of feet if they launch from a high perch, which means it is impossible to prevent them from reaching the feeder with standard methods.
Trim Your Trees
The first thing to do when trying to keep flyers from your hummingbird feeders is to trim all of the trees within 300ft of the feeders.
A flying squirrel can easily glide onto a feeder that is close enough to a tall tree, but if the tree is too far away or if there are no comfortable perches for the squirrel to launch from, it cannot use this method to reach the feeder.
Use Specialized Feeders
There are specialized feeders that only hummingbirds can drink from by utilizing narrow, long tubes that are the only access points for the nectar.
Flying squirrels cannot reach the nectar through feeders like this and will not attempt to open them as other squirrels will.
These feeders are highly effective for keeping flying squirrels at bay.
Move The Feeder Away From Other Objects
Flying squirrels possess the unique ability to glide onto hummingbird feeders.
If you have already installed other squirrels deterrents, the only option is to move the hummingbird feeders as far away from tall objects as possible.
This includes houses and other buildings, trees, telephone poles, power lines, and other tall structures and objects that are nearby.
If you have a hummingbird feeder, there’s a good chance that flying squirrels will drink from it too. And getting them to stop is nearly impossible.
These squirrels are uniquely well-equipped to reach these feeders and can be a problem for owners.
Squirrels and other rodents can be a pain, but you can take steps to ensure they don’t get to your hummingbird feeders.
First, pick a spot for the feeders where flyers cannot reach them. Then, make sure to take extra precautions against tree squirrels by using squirrel-proof materials or making it difficult for them to climb up.
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