Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Hummingbird wars

Who doesn't enjoy watching hummingbirds during the summer months?

I mean really, it's such cheap entertainment. An inexpensive feeder, a bit of sugar-water, and voilĂ : Hours of birdwatching.

But let me tell ya, it's a good thing these little guys aren't six feet tall or they would rule the world. Seldom do you meet such martial birds intent on dominating everything. Their fights around the birdfeeder can be vicious.

This little guy, perched so innocently and picturesquely on our yard fence, is cleverly positioned to watch and defend the feeder.

The moment an unacceptable hummer gets too close, the defender zooms into action, cheeping its outrage and chasing opponents away. Often the hummers will bodily smash into each other in fast motion. You get five or six of these tiny pilots duking it out, and it can be positively dangerous to step out onto the porch.

But watching them is just pure delight.

Here's a rare instance of full cooperation at the feeder. Needless to say, it didn't last.

As I said: What a blessing these guys aren't the size of ostriches or no one would be safe.


  1. I have that exact same feeder and I gotta agree with you about the hummer war. My neighbor also feeds them with a bunch of feeders, however she is away and they are empty, so they are duking it out at my feeder and I have gotten a flock of them. They empty this daily, and I have actually had one follow me to the corral to remind me that "Hey, where's my sugar water?" They are fun to watch. I also fill the bottom and quickly put the glass part on it to get maximum liquid in there.

  2. How the neck to.you get them yo stay still.goid enough to get a picture. I have lots of videos of mine. But all in rapid motion. Darn it.But mine are all sighting in Salvia and such and not a feeder.

  3. One thing you'll notice about hummingbirds though; they're territorial as hell, but come the end of the day, they'll let the birds they've fought with all day tank up for the night. They seem to realize that if the other birds don't feed, they'll likely die of starvation during the night.

  4. I have a picture of 18 hummers trying to get onto one of my feeders. It only holds 6. What I have learned is that the territorial is the male. They don't like to share with other males. They let the females up there so periodically you will see quite a few on the feeder.

    kathy in MS

  5. Years ago, (1000s actually) when I was a kid, I had my first "experience" with a humming bird; got too close to a nest I didn't know was there. Thought the little devil was going to impale my nose or poke out an eye. Years later, I had a house in the hinterlands and watched the HBs around the house. In my "ignorance" I thought "oh, wouldn't it be nice if I put up a HB feeder". Never saw fights like what happened after a few days.

    Thought I could solve the problem (hahahaha!) by adding a second feeder about 60' away. Yeah, sure. Even bigger HB fights. Finally had to take the feeders down and just let the HBs go for the flowers..... still territorial fights. Very aggressive and territorial birds.