A lesser long-nosed bat feeds on the nectar of an agave plant flower. If it can’t find an agave, this migrant pollinator might drink from a hummingbird feeder. Photo by David Suro

It’s that season again – when the bats empty your hummingbird feeders at night.

These are not our local insect eating bats but instead are pollinator bats that migrate back and forth between Mexico and the northern Sonoran Desert near Tucson. They are the primary pollinators for the Saguaro cacti and agaves.

In recent years, these pollinator bats have been having a hard time because the agaves that they feed on during migration are being removed for housing, tequila, grazing, etc. Therefore, they feed off hummingbird feeders – unfortunately not very neatly. You can put newspaper or something under your feeders to help with the mess.

Since these bats can drink a lot, if you really want to support them, you can put out a pan of hummer food (1:4 sugar to water) on a stool or railing so they can swoop up to it, in addition to filling your feeders nightly.

If you can get some light on them, they are fascinating to watch.

Previously in the PRT:

“Empire Gardening: Wildflowers and Pollinator Plants” by Alyssa Cazares (March 1, 2019)

“Help Fuel Our Pollinators” by Molly McCormick (May 1, 2014)

“In Patagonia, Agaves and Bat Conservation Go Hand in Hand” by Ashley Fredde (May 22, 2020)

“Borderlands Wins Big for Bats and Bacanora” by Lynn Davison (Oct. 1, 2020)

“A Heritage Plant for Our Time: Gary Nabhan Discusses His New Book on Agaves” by Jay Babcock (May 4, 2023)