Hummingbird Territorial Behaviour
by Deanna Mayhew
Soaking up the Sun
In the summertime, my garden is my happy place and when all the beautiful flowers I have planted are in bloom, I can easily spend, the entire day there and always enjoy doing so.
But I’m never really all alone. It’s also a happy inviting place for the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds that grace my yard every year… here in Missouri.
I always have at the very least three maybe four Ruby-throated Hummingbirds that stick around for the entire Summer… that is if I’m lucky. And all of them have the same thing on their Hummingbird brains and that’s to relentlessly try to claim all the feeders in the neighborhood from sunrise to sunset with their endless flying feats and maneuvers.
But about halfway through summer when all the flowers are in full bloom and the hot sun is beating down and the days are long it becomes a free for all, nesting has usually begun and every once in a while a female shows up at the feeder in between sitting on her little eggs.
Then I just know it’s the perfect time to begin to capture as many pictures as I can of the Summer and the flowers… and the Hummers.
I always find a shady spot under a tall sunflower or two, ones that I planted just for them and the other birds, hoping that they will fly in and feed so I can get the best and most memorable pictures to last me through the long winter months.
They love Zinnias! On this day they were fighting, as usual over all the flowers and the only feeder that was hanging in the garden.
I had my eye on the garden boss, aka Hummershine…yeah I named him, I never thought I’d be one of those people that name their Hummingbirds that visit every year… but here I am… anyway there he was sitting up in the tree frantically looking every which way in his nervous Hummershine way, keeping an eye out for all intruders.
Sure enough one showed up, boy did I feel sorry for him, after all, Hummershines nectar is only the best mix of sugar to water in the neighborhood… so the usual confrontation took place… a lot of chatter and beak jabbing and grabbing … I simply couldn’t keep track of the mayhem… their speed is faster than the human eye…
When suddenly he dropped to the ground out of the sky, flattened out on the edge of one of my raised beds, not moving… of course my heart sank… I thought the worst…
Was this it for Hummershine?
So, I quickly looked at him through my camera lens. At first I couldn’t figure out if he was okay or hurt and then I realized he must just be sunbathing… just soaking up the warmth of the sun, with his little eyes closed and beak pointed toward the sun.
I quickly got up and walked toward him, clicking away taking pictures before he realized I was right next to him and up and away he flew… Whew!… for a minute there I thought he had bit the dust.
But I guess he just needed a quick charge… an amazing sight to see… and observe.
I read that they do this sometimes after a bath or to keep them bug-free, after-all he’s gotta keep his feathers looking their best for the ladies, you can’t have any of those gleaming feathers out of place… now can you?
Or maybe he was just basking in the glory of victory…another day, another intruder taken out, or then again maybe he was just soaking up the Sun.