Bats on Hummingbird Feeder

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There are 28 different species of bats in Arizona. Most Arizona bat species are insectivores (insect eaters) but two of bat species are nectarivores (flower nectar drinkers) Nectarivorous bats can be identified from by their larger eyes, smaller ears, and long tongues.

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Late in the summer and early in the fall in southeastern Arizona hummingbird feeders may be visited during the night by nectar-drinking bats that cross over into the U.S. from Mexico Some time in October or so, the bats will migrate south for the winter, where they have their main population centers.

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They feed on blooming and fruiting plants such as agave and saguaro cactus. Nectar feeding bats are excellent long-distance fliers who migrate long distances to follow the blooming seasons of their favored plants like the agave plant and the saguaro cactus which depend upon bats for pollination.

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Leaf-Nosed Bat Family Phyllostomidae
The lesser long-nosed bat and the Mexican long-tongued bat are found in Arizona. Leaf nose is a fleshy protuberance on top of the nose. Both of these bats look quite similar. Both are listed as federally endangered species.

Mexican long-tongued bat Phyllostomidae (Choeronycteris mexicana) is a medium sized bat with a long thin snout and a nose leaf. It has a long tongue that extends to 1/3 of its body length. Its color is gray to brown above and lighter below. Other characteristics include big eyes and a minute tail. Total length 3.5 inches

Lesser long-nosed bat Phyllostomidae (Leptonycteris curasoae yerbabuenae) have shorter, broader snouts with leaf nose and range in color from yellow-brown or cinnamon gray. Total head and body measurement of approximately 3 inches. The tongue measures approximately the same length as the body. They are also are tailless. Their wingspan is about 10 inches

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I think the majority if not all of the ones at our feeder were Lesser Long-nosed Bats but I am in no way a bat expert. By the photos I found the lesser long-nosed are cuter then the Mexican long-tongued bats. If you know anything about bats, please let me know what kind these are.

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They  fly up to the feeders and stick in their long tongues to capture some sugar water and then fly off, then circle around the feeder waiting for another turn. You can see the tiny drops of sugar water trailing from the bat above’s tongue.

Additional link on the length of a bats tongue
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/12/061206-tongue-photo.html

Some very cool bat videos and information
http://www.videosift.com/video/High-Speed-Camera-Shows-Bats-Can-Hover-Like-Humming-Birds

Shows bats flying, landing, drinking from a feeder and walking in super so motion.
Showhttp://blogs.discovermagazine.com/loom/2009/03/19/how-to-be-a-bat-life-in-motion/

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~ by Meg on September 4, 2009.

16 Responses to “Bats on Hummingbird Feeder”

  1. I LOVE THE LAST PIC

  2. MEG IS THIS YOUR PAGE THIS IS BUTTER SCHOTCH

  3. My wife leaves out the feeders every night and i have at least 25 bats emptying them every night. I live outside the city of Sierra Vista, AZ. With the scare of West Nile virus and living near a pond on state land, i have noticed there are less insects with the bats around. Do the nectar drinking bats also eat insects?

    • My understanding from talking to the bat biologist is that these nectar bats may accidentally ingest a few insects but their main food is pollen and nectar and some fruits. The number of nectar bats has been closely associated to the number of new saguaro cacti, also they are one of the main pollinators of agave.
      Bats are not really very well understood. From talking with the biologists and reading thing on line, there is really very little known about bats. If you think about it logically, they are small so not easy to attach some kind of monitor to. They clean themselves constantly so gluing a monitor on them only lasts for a few days. Also they travel at night and through the air, which also makes them hard to study.
      Have you thought about signing up for the study? http://marana.com/index.aspx?NID=520 it is easy, just log in and fill out the data once a week. They are interested in any data they can get.

  4. Wow I love that 2nd picture from the top!! What a great shot, I would be proud of that! I just got a humming bird feeder and I love watching the bats, their beautiful. Is it possible to get rabies from cleaning/handling the feeder the next day?

    • Thank you, so glad you enjoyed the post. I have had bats at my feeders the past 3 years. I clean and fill the feeders nightly and have not gotten rabies yet. :) My guess is it would be next to impossible to get rabies from the feeder, if you could I would doubt that USFW and AZGF department would be part of a study that enlists people to monitor their hummingbird feeders each year in our area. You can read more about the study night at my house here https://mostlyphotos.wordpress.com/2011/09/01/bat-night-2011/ Thanks so much for you comment and for stopping by my blog.

  5. I Live in Minnesota and recently am finding my hummingbird feeder empty in the morning. Is it possible that we have nectar feeding bats in Minnesota?

  6. These pictures are awesome. Outstanding captures, very unique. I never thought of the Bats visiting the feeder’s.. but of course the fruit eating bats would!! Really enjoyed seeing them

    • These are nectivorous and are not categorized as fruit eaters though they might occasionally eat fruit.

  7. Thanks for sending me the link to these great pictures. I’m glad you found my blog and was thoughtful emough to send them. http://tomsbirdfeeders.com/journal/

  8. I just love the last shot. Such cool action. Great photographs and very interesting post.

  9. WOW!!! These are awesome

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