Hummingbirds Spoiling for a Fight
Sentries won’t let others eat!
For about a week, the hummers were emptying both of my feeders daily.
A few days ago, I noticed that there was 1 hummer on or near each feeder, keeping all the others away.
Other Hummingbirds try to come to feed, but the 2 aggressive birds chase them away.
They are hardly eating anything from my feeders.
This is the first time I’ve ever seen this.
We’ve lived here 10 years and have always had feeders out.
Figuring out why Hummingbirds are so territorial and fight so much seems confusing sometimes.
But Hummingbirds will fight over 3 things:
- Mating privileges
- Food sources
At this time of year in North America the last one is likely the reason.
Is it possible in your area, that some of the flowers that Hummingbirds have used as a food source other years, are not available this year for some reason?
This could account for the difference in behaviour this year.
Or, you may have new birds this fall, younger and more feisty because they are trying to establish themselves.
Hummingbirds in general, just can’t seem to figure out the difference between natural food sources that disappear at certain times of the year and nectar feeders that are supplied by humans, which are hopefully a more reliable source of fresh clean food.
It is quite instinctual for Hummingbirds to not want to share and to fight for the right to have their own area to mate and maintain a reliable source of food.
They are afraid their food source may disappear if they allow other birds to share in the buffet.
We have witnessed this many times in our own backyard.
I have also read that Rufous Hummingbirds and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are particularly feisty.
I wonder if this is because both these species migrate long distances, much longer than other types of Hummers and therefore feel the need to protect their food sources vehemently along the way.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology recommends using smaller single port feeders scattered throughout your outdoor area.
Preferably where they cannot be seen by the other locations.
When one feeder location cannot be seen by another, it gives other birds an opportunity to feed while the more aggressive bird is feeding around the corner.
Some people advise putting out dozens of feeders to curb this problem. That will require a huge commitment to maintain them properly, but some bird watchers love to do it!
There is more information here at Hummingbird Feeder Wars that you may find helpful.
More Interesting Facts on Hummer Feeders!
Nectar Feeder: When Should It Go Out? It is important to get your feeders out in good time in the spring for the return of your spring travellers. Find out when is a good time in your area.
Hummingbirds Emptying Feeder Too Fast It is great to have lots of activity going on around your feeders! Their busy lives keep us pretty busy looking after the feeding stations we put out for them.
Hummingbirds in Their Natural Habitat: What do they eat? We sometimes concentrate so much on supplying them with our nectar syrup that we forget that Hummers are also wild animals and survive on their own too. Lets have a look at that.