One of the most common questions we field this time of year is: 

How and why do some hummingbird feeders leak?

A leaky hummingbird feeder can create quite a mess (especially if you have it mounted above a deck or structure around your home) and can also invite a number of unwanted visitors like ants, bugs, and a variety of animals.

Most of the time, we find leaking problems usually occur with gravity-fed feeders, where the bottle is above the feeding port, rather than with the saucer-style hummingbird feeders.

If you're having trouble with your feeder, here are a few things that could be causing it.

1. Too Much Sun

hummingbird at feeder

When the space above the nectar gets too warm, it causes the air to expand, pushing the nectar out of the ports. Take a close look at your feeder and if you think this might be a problem, try moving the feeder to a shadier area.

2. Animals & Other Birds

Hummingbird nectar can attract a number of other visitors, both furry and feathered, to your feeder. These larger animals and birds can easily knock your feeder around and make a mess of the nectar. Remove any perches that might allow for other birds to access the feeder and ensure it is not accessible to other animals.

3. Barometric Changes In Weather

Much like the effects the sun can have on your feeder, the barometric pressure can also change the relative difference in the air pressure inside the nectar bottle, and force the nectar out through the ports.

4. Improper Cleaning

Poor hygiene is a common cause for leaky feeders. Sugar left around the seams and seals create openings that allow air inside. Be sure to regularly clean your feeder with soap and water to avoid this problem, and keep your hummingbirds healthy. 

5. Defects in Feeder

hummingbird feeder

This is another common issue and one we see quite often. There are a number of things that can fall under this category, as it is obviously quite broad. Some possibilities are:

  • Improper installation: check to ensure the bottle is fully screwed into the base, and make sure all threads are properly cleaned.
  • Damage: check for damage to the feeder like holes or cracks. These feeders are outdoors through some of the hottest months of the year, and damage from the sun and other elements can cause cracking or holes in either the base or the bottle.

As we said, we field these types of questions more often than not in the store, and as always, if you have tried everything and can’t figure it out, stop on in and see us in the store and we’d be happy to help find the problem, or choose a new hummingbird feeder if need be!