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11 Reasons Why Your Hummingbird Feeder Gets Air Locked

11 Reasons Why Your Hummingbird Feeder Gets Air Locked

Hummingbird feeders have simple working. Yet air-locked feeders are not new. Are you tired of your hummingbird feeders getting air locked every time? Let’s understand why it happens and the ways you can fix the problem without replacing the feeders. 

Hummingbird feeders get air locked mainly because of extra air going in due to the way the feeder works, sugar syrup getting overheated, water vaporizing in summers. Other reasons could be the way the hummingbird is sucking, blockage in drinking holes and unsettled liquid.

Do hummingbird feeders get air locked? 

Many hummingbird lovers complain that their feeder gets locked and stops the liquid from coming out near the sucking area for the birds. So, is it a true thing? Your first question can be this, especially if you are new to hummingbird feeders. Before diving into the article, let’s get it cleared! 

So, do hummingbird feeders get air locked? YES! Hummingbird feeders have a high chance of getting air locked. Many times, you will see hummingbirds hovering over your bird feeder but going away immediately. It can happen even if your feeder is full of nectar. What’s wrong? It’s probably because your hummingbird feeder isn’t working efficiently. 

Many times your hummingbird feeder might get air locked due to various reasons. It stops the sugary solution from reaching the drinking pockets. So, your feeder will not serve fresh nectar to the birds during such instances. It can occur more frequently during summers. Also, dirty hummingbird feeders can showcase this problem more prominently. 

So, it’s better to understand why hummingbird feeders keep getting air locked every time to find the best solutions for your problem. Also, it’s better to maintain proper hygiene and clean the feeders every day during summers to prevent air locking in your hummingbird feeders. 

11 Reasons Why Your Hummingbird Feeder Gets Air Locked

You have already realized that hummingbird feeders become air-locked. Now you might be thinking why do hummingbird feeders get air locked? Many reasons cause air locking in a hummingbird feeder. We will analyze all probable reasons in this article. Let’s dive into the article right now! 

1. Bubble chokes the suckers 

The mechanism of a hummingbird feeder might push bubbles into it. Although a few bubbles cannot harm your feeder, some of them might airlock the jar causing no fresh nectar to flow out. It can lead to no hummingbirds in your property and bird feeder. 

You can observe bubbles in your feeder when replenishing it with fresh nectar for your hummers. It’s better to avoid solutions with high bubbles by adding them to your bird feeder. Doing these will help you keep air locking away and invite more hummingbirds to your feeder. You can try it yourself! 

2. Sugar becomes overheated 

Do you know? The problem of air locking occurs mostly in summers. It happens due to a significant pressure difference inside and around the hummingbird feeder. Do you know? Your sugar syrup can overheat during summers. It can lead to severe air locking problems in your hummingbird feeder. 

Let’s analyze the situation closely. Sugar heats up to high temperatures during summers. So, it creates a low pressure inside the hummingbird feeder’s bottle. When air from outside (high pressure) gushes to the inside (low pressure), it can choke the drinkers without hassles. So, you should replace the solution to avoid overheating in summer. 

3. Vapor locking

Your sugar solution will contain high volumes of water. Water can easily create water vapours when heated during summers. Although some vaporization isn’t harmful, it can create problems if steam increases at an alarming rate inside the feeder. Most prominently, it can create air locking inside the feeder. 

Water vapor can drag air from the outside into the hummingbird feeder. So, your feeder will have clogged holes and air-locked situations from the inside. The food you provide to the hummingbirds will not flow outside, keeping the creatures away from your feeder and property. So, control vaporization in the feeder during summers to avoid internal air locking. 

4. Air locking due to hummingbird sucking

Hummingbirds have a long tongues. They stick their tongue out and eat the sugar solution from the drinking holes provided in the hummingbird feeder. Their drinking can induce an air locking situation in the feeder unintentionally. It’s better to stay careful of such a condition. 

Generally, hummingbirds eat nectar without any issues. However, they can push air into the drinkers sometimes when sucking the liquid from the outside. So, it creates a severe air locking condition where the fluid will not reach the holes and block the normal feeder action. It’s a common air locking reason feeders avoid or forget to consider. 

5. Proper cleaning isn’t done

Sugar syrup is a viscous and sticky solution. It can accumulate dirt and create vaporization when present in small amounts inside your feeder. So, air locking can occur in a hummingbird feeder even when it doesn’t have a sugar solution. You should remove the particles at all conditions from the feeder to avoid such problems.

It’s best to clean the feeders once a bottle of the solution gets over. Regular cleaning will ensure no sugar particles remain inside the feeder. So, you can keep air locking away from your hummingbird feeder by focusing on cleaning the mechanism to remove air bubbles and locks. 

6. Improper bird feeder design

You can get numerous hummingbird feeders online. Can you buy any of them? Yes, you can. But, it can come with a compromise. Ordering any hummingbird feeder without reading their mechanism and quality control will get you, feeders, a high chance of getting air locked. 

Some hummingbird feeders have an improper design. They are prone to air locking and hold a manufacturing defect. Don’t worry; we will share more information on feeders that keep air locking away in the upcoming sections. So, you can make perfect decisions on buying the best hummingbird feeder to avoid the air locking problem. 

7. Blockage in the drinking holes

You should understand that the only way out for air inside the hummingbird feeder is through the drinking holes. Many times, your bird feeder can suffer from air locking issues due to blocked drinking holes. 

Air bubbles and condensed vapor can jam the drinking holes, stopping the syrup to come out naturally. So, it becomes an air locking concern inside your hummingbird feeder. Although it’s a rare condition, it can happen if your feeder is neglected. 

You can remove such obstruction from the hummingbird feeder by pricking the drinking holes with a safety pin or toothpick. It will clear the air locking condition allowing the syrup to flow out without hassles. 

8. Unsettled bird feeder

Do you face frequent air locking conditions in your hummingbird feeder? It can occur due to unsettled liquid within the feeder. Many times, you can close the feeder in a rush without letting the feeder and the solution settle properly. It can lead the feeder to sway continuously inviting more air to gush from the outside to the inside. So, your feeder will show air locking concerns if left unsettled. 

All you need is to hold the feeder for some time after refilling the sugar solution and installing it outside. It will help you keep air bubbles away from the feeder.

9. Pouring hot sugar solution into the bird feeder

Many hummingbird lovers fill the feeder with hot syrup. They consider adding warm solutions to save time and effort in the hummingbird feeder. However, pouring hot solutions has several demerits. It can be a common reason why your feeder keeps getting air locked frequently. 

The hot syrup will create a low pressure inside the feeder. So, air from the outer region will gush into the feeder and lock it from within. You can observe problems like empty feeder trays and nothing in the drinking holes once you pour hot liquid into the feeder. So, go for a colder liquid and keep air locking away.

10. Bees can make the feeders dirty

Bees keep traveling from one place to the other. They visit many flowers and get nectar on their feet. They might visit your hummingbird feeder and mix various elements into your sugar solution when consuming the syrup. You can easily get air-locked feeders when bees visit them often. 

The particles carried by bees can cause fermentation inside the feeder. It releases to air and bubbles inside the sugar bottle. So, you can observe a challenging air locking scenario when bees visit your feeders frequently. The best thing you can do is clean the feeders regularly. It will keep fermentation and air locking away. 

11. Higher water ratio causes more vapors

Many hummingbird lovers use a high-water syrup in the bird feeder. Although it can be helpful for the hummingbirds to drink the syrup, the higher water content will create other problems inside the hummingbird feeder. The most prominent one is the air locking due to vaporization. 

It’s better to check the water content in your feeder when making the sugar solution. You can keep the density high to avoid air locking due to vaporization inside the hummingbird feeder. Less water will help you keep air locking away within your feeder. 

How do you fix the airlock in a hummingbird feeder? 

As you already know, hummingbird feeders have a high tendency of getting air locked. Some feeders aren’t designed well. However, it doesn’t mean you need to replace the feeders every time it gets locked. You can fix the problem through a simple DIY. 

Are you in a hurry? A video will help you if it’s a yes! Here’s a video link to give you a better idea for your ready reference. 

  • Inspect if the hummingbird feeder has an air locking problem. You can do so by filling water in the feeder bottle and checking if the liquid comes out on the tray. Your hummingbird feeder is air-locked if no water shows on the tray. If confirmed, you can do the following things to remove the air locking condition from your feeder. 
  • You need a drill to fix the airlock in the hummingbird feeder. It will be a permanent solution. So, you won’t have to rush to solve the problem after every few days. 
  • You can drill a hole in the bottle stopper inside the hummingbird feeder. Ensure that the hole is large enough to do your work without spilling the liquid from the bottle. 
  • Drilling a hole will create a passage for air to flow out and stop the locking condition. Since the hole is small, the sugar solution won’t spill out from the feeder. So, you can ensure proper working of the hummingbird feeder after drilling a hole in the stopper. 
  • You can check the feeder for air locking conditions. Fill the bottle with water and check if the tray gets filled by it or not. You can even imitate the action of a hummingbird by sucking out liquid from the tray using a syringe. If the liquid replenishes itself, you have solved the air locking condition. 
  • Once done, you can install the feeder in its natural position to attract new hummingbirds to your property. 

Best Hummingbird Feeders that Prevent Air Lock

We have already mentioned that hummingbird feeders can be defective. The faulty ones will showcase frequent air locking issues. Let’s find out a few feeders that prevent airlocks. 

Aspects Hummingbird Feeder

It’s a bottle-less feeder. So, it will not generate any air locking concern inside the feeder. You can choose if you wish for a simple and tension-free feeder design. 

Window hummingbird feeder

Like bottle-less feeders, you can try the window feeders. It’s a simple and convenient design having no scopes for air locking. You can get in on Amazon without difficulties. 

Brown glass hummingbird feeder

Glass feeders are the best to keep air locks away from your hummingbird feeders. You can choose this sustainable and lock-preventing design for your hummers. 

Ring feeders for hummingbirds

Do you want to build closer interaction with the hummingbirds? Get a feeder ring for yourself! It has a stable design without airlocks. It’s best to buy it now! 


Hummingbird feeders getting air locked is a real thing. You cannot ignore that. So, follow the above tips and go for a better feeder design to remove air locking problems and feed the birds without hassles.