Hummingbird Feeder Leaks: What To Do If My Feeder Is Leaking?

hummingbird feeder leaks 1
You can fix and prevent leaking hummingbird feeders by ensuring its filled with nectar, kept out of wind and heat, cleaning often, and checking for damage frequently. Leaks can lead to waste of nectar, bad odors, contamination, staining on your patio, and stickiness that can harm hummingbirds. 

The modern hummingbird feeder was first introduced in the 1930’s and was marketed on a large scale in the 1950’s. Since that time, the popularity of these feeders has continued to grow. However, if your feeder is dripping nectar on the ground, you will need to figure out how to fix the leak quickly so that your bird feeder remains useful.

How do I stop my hummingbird feeder from leaking?

In truth, a drip or two from a nectar feeder may not necessarily be a problem. However, persistent leaks can lead to hazardous issues in the garden, some of which include:


The nectar is usually wasted whenever a feeder begins to leak since the hummingbirds cannot drink it off the ground. As a result, you will have to go refill it more frequently, which means more labor and expenses, making even the best hummingbird feeder unusable.

If a feeder leaks quite heavily, visiting hummingbirds may not have any nectar left for them to drink before you can refill it. With such an unreliable food source, the hummingbirds may eventually stop returning since you need a filled feeder.

Bad smells

The sweet scent emitted from spilled nectar does not matter to hummingbirds since the birds have a muted sense of smell. Nonetheless, it can attract mice, raccoons, rats, insects, deer, squirrels, and in some cases, even bears—none of which are the kind of feeder guests you would want. They could also drain all the nectar and damage the feeder.


As your feeder nectar drips on your deck or patio, it can form stubborn stains that can be difficult to remove. Also, if your feeder is leaking over plants or grass, it can cause them harm. It can also upset the soil chemistry, leading to an unattractive blemish in your lawn or hummingbird garden.


As the water begins to evaporate from your leaking hummingbird feeder, the thick and sticky syrup is left behind. This can inadvertently coat the birds’ feathers, creating plumage issues that will affect their flight capabilities.

The stickiness can also result in the feeder getting damaged or becoming blocked if it is allowed to accumulate. It’s advisable that you take proactive steps to stop your hummingbird nectar and feeder from leaking.

hummingbird perched at a feeder

How can I fix a leaky hummingbird feeder?

Ensure you have a filled feeder

In some cases, dripping could signify that your glass hummingbird feeder is low on liquid. These feeders rely on both gravity and pressure to work correctly and will be at their best when they are full. The best thing you can actually go do is to fill the feeder completely while allowing no air to enter the glass.

Doing this will also help create the vacuum required for the feeder to keep things flowing. The difference in air pressure and the weight of the liquid inside the feeder will also help to ensure that things flow as they should. This will go a long way to prevent any hummingbird feeder leaks.

Protect the feeder from wind and heat

High temperatures can harm the way your hummingbird feeder works. This is because, under such conditions, the sun’s rays will heat the liquid inside, leading to increased air pressure, which will eventually lead to leakage. To avoid this problem, you can start by filling the feeder with cool nectar early in the morning.

Afterwards, hang it in the shade where it will be protected from high temperatures. Likewise, strong wind currents will cause hummingbird feeder leaks because of the shaking and tossing motions. Therefore, you should hang your hummingbird feeder in a less windy area whenever you can.

Clean Feeder

When cleaning your hummingbird feeder, you should start by removing the stopper and tube. You should then proceed to wash everything in warm water. Do not use soap since it can interfere with surface tension and contaminate the fresh nectar.

Clean out the tube using a pipe cleaner and rinse well to allow the smooth flow of liquid. In some cases, soaking the stopper in hot water can help soften it. You can re-insert it for a better and tighter seal.

Check your feeder for any signs of damage

If you find that the stopper on your hummingbird feeder is torn, split, or deteriorated, particularly around the hole for the tube, then you should know that it will eventually start to leak. Fortunately, you can replace the spouts.

Also, if the neck or rim of the glass bottle is chipped or cracked, it could cause your feeder to experience leakage issues. In such a situation, you may have to replace or upgrade it.

Get rid of perches

Orioles, woodpeckers, warblers, and other kinds of birds may at times try to sip from your nectar feeder. Even though this is not necessarily bad, their weight could unbalance and tip the feeder.

On the other hand, hummingbirds can hover as they feed and don’t require perches to access the feeder. Therefore, you can place other perches nearby for them, This way they can rest and guard the feeding area without having to risk leaks or tips.

dove sitting on top of a hummingbird feeder

Is there a hummingbird feeder that doesn’t leak?

Most hummingbird enthusiasts don’t know that it is possible to feed your favorite birds without ever having to deal with issues of leaking and dripping. However, to achieve this, you cannot use classic reservoir feeders. Instead, here’ what you’ll need to do:

Switch up feeder styles

Changing feeder styles involves using only dish-style or saucer-style feeders that hold nectar underneath the feeding ports. You must remember that hummingbirds have long tongues and can reach nectar easily. Therefore, unless they are drastically tipped, saucer feeders will not leak.

Make use of natural foods

One may also avoid nectar feeders altogether and instead come up with a hummingbird garden design that includes some of the top flowers known to attract hummingbirds. This is because they produce nectar, which means you can completely eliminate the issue of leaking feeders while still providing food for the birds. In addition, flowers refill themselves with nectar through a natural process, so any visiting hummingbirds will always have something to drink.

Tara Summerville

Tara Summerville is a freelance writer that loves her backyard birdfeeders. She enjoys sitting on her deck with a cup of coffee, watching cardinals, blue jays, finches, and chickadees munch away at her backyard offerings. Her fascination with birds began as a child; spending afternoons at her grandma's house watching and identifying birds. She has since carried her love of songbirds into adulthood and ensures no bird in her yard goes hungry!

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