Hummingbird FAIL

I tried to take a picture or a video of my hummingbirds fighting, but the little stinkers are so wee and so speedy the results look like pictures of the feeder.

Here’s a picture I took in an earlier year, when I had a feeder at the window.

Did you know that hummingbirds are aggressive? Well, they certainly are! They’re highly territorial about feeding and breeding, and they’ll whup anybody or anything they perceive as threatening or encroaching upon either.

How do they show aggression? They’re so teensy and cute! What could a bitsy li’l thing like that do? It only weighs, like, less than an ounce!

Well, imagine you’re The Incredible Hulk and you’re eating a sammich and all of a sudden Wolverine jumps on you.

Not so cute, now, eh? To a hummer, another hummer is dangerous. Like a lot of animals, they begin by making threatening sounds.

“Hey! Hey you! Yeah, I’m talking to you! Buzz off!”

“Who says?”

“I say!”

“You and whose army?”

“Why you–!”

And the aggressor dives and chirps a special chirp, like a hummingbird, “Oorah!” If the intruder backs up, the aggressor chases him away and comes back to lie in wait, watching for ruby-throated poachers.

They can fight, as a last resort. They have those long, pointy bills and tiny little talons, sharp as kitten teeth. They could put your eye out! But they don’t often do more than threaten with them. They certainly look dangerous to me.

I’m happy to say that my hummers are used to me, or know I’m the one who fills their feeder, so they don’t attack me. I’m always afraid they’ll run into me while they’re chasing each other around, though.

The Daybreak Imagery Blog says, and proves to me, that the best way to lessen aggression at feeders is to have lots of feeders close together. That makes it obvious to the birds that there’s plenty for everybody. I would have thought that four feeder stations on the feeder would do that, but apparently not.

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Aggression occurs over food.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Hummingbird FAIL

  1. Jane

    August 15, 2013 at 9:07am

    I think the only way to reduce aggression at the feeder is to place them out of sight of each other. In the tiny moment that a hummer pauses to get its drink, another hummer can swoop the length of the yard to dislodge it. And if a family group is running off singletons, then the poor extra guy has no hope at all–unless they can’t see him on the other side of the house feeding.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      August 15, 2013 at 9:21am

      That’s what a lot of sites said, but this guy says he’s had better luck clustering the feeders. He has MANY feeders and MANY hummingbirds. I have 4-6 hummers chasing each other around this morning. Every so often, two of them will share. And sometimes, a clever one will wait until the dominant one chases everybody else away, then he’ll dodge in and guzzle as much as he can hold until Mr. Territory gets back. heh!

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