Should Spider Webs Be Removed From Hummingbird Feeders?

Spiderwebs may look unsightly hanging from your hummingbird feeders, but oftentimes they are actually beneficial for the birds. While hummingbirds are known to feed on nectar, they also prey on insects and some smaller spiders. Besides acting as an additional source of food for hungry hummingbirds, spider webs can help these birds build their nests. The strong silk that spiders make to craft their webs is also used by hummingbirds to fasten their nests in place and hold the materials together.

Though hummingbirds will eat insects trapped in the webs or the spiders themselves and use the web to construct their nests, spider webs can potentially pose a danger to these birds. Some webs are strong enough to trap the birds, and once they are stuck, they're likely to die unless rescued. Spider webs will attract hummingbirds to your yard, but depending on what kinds of spiders are hanging out by the feeder, you may or may not want to remove them.

When spiderwebs are dangerous for hummingbirds

Some larger spiders, such as orb-weaving varieties, will trap hummingbirds, wrap them in their silk as they do with insects, and eat them. If you notice that the webs are large or seem rather strong, knocking them down could prevent a hummingbird from becoming food for a spider. Even if the large spiders near your home aren't keen on eating birds, strong webs could still trap hummingbirds, leading them to die slowly.

If you're worried about leaving spider webs on your hummingbird feeder, there are other ways to provide them with food and nesting materials. Removing the webs will likely lead the spiders to build their webs somewhere else in your yard, which will still provide insects for the hummingbirds. You could also use a stick to gather the web and place it on or near the feeder to give the birds silk for their nests.

Why leaving spider webs up is beneficial for hummingbirds

Though they pose some danger, spider webs on your hummingbird feeder could bring more of these birds to your yard and give them the materials they need to build sturdy nests. Spider silk has a lot of elasticity, which allows the hummingbirds' nests to expand as baby birds grow. Because these birds are attracted to spider webs, getting rid of ones from larger spiders could help protect them. With only smaller and weaker webs, there will be less of a chance that the spiders will become a risk for the birds.

For those scared of spiders, removing their webs from your hummingbird feeder won't hurt the birds. They will likely search for spiderwebs and eat insects elsewhere on your property. If you find a hummingbird stuck in a web, carefully pull it from the web and use tweezers to remove the silk from the bird's feathers.