Big Birds Scaring Hummers?

eigdeh(z6 NJ)May 12, 2010

I have heard people say that birds scare hummers away, and I have read that some say they coexist quite well. I am wondering though if the birds are scaring away the hummers here.

I do not feed the regular birds here, but I have a birdbath that gets tons of visits and it is about 15 feet from the closest hummingbird feeder. I find that the bath mostly attracts bigger birds from some blackbirds with slight blue tint to their coat, bluejays, cardinals, doves, etc. On occasion some of these birds will perch on the same branches that the hummers go to before going to the feeders.

Could this be keeping the hummers away?

Side note... I change the water several times a day since some birds seem to enjoy pooping in the water. I have seen some of these blackbirds actually drink and, to me what looks to be on purpose, turn around and poop in the water. Wonder if it is a territorial thing?

Wonder if I should stop with the bath to see what is going on? I have been filling the bath for 14 years, though I am sure these birds would find another source.

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This is a tough one. Last year I felt positive that my feeding other birds caused the male hummers not to take up residence here as they had in the past so I discontinued feeding the other birds and It seemed to make a difference in the amount of hummers in my yard. People with a larger yard than I have it may not even make a difference. This year I removed a dead tree from the center of my yard only keeping it previously because the hummers liked to use it as perch. I have not removed this feeder and it is about 15ft from the window feeder. Hummers have used this feeder no problem[females] the males seem to feed at the back feeder. I have not taken away the wild bird feeder as of yet but since I am now out bird food it may be time.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 11:35AM
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eigdeh(z6 NJ)

Hi Steve,

I think I am going to let the bath go dry for a while. The only way I will know for sure is to see if they come after the fact, and perhaps more conclusive would be to start filling it again when the hummers do come and and see if they disappear again.


    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 2:10PM
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I have a birdbath about 20 feet from my HB feeders and all the birds seem to get along just fine. My wild bird
feeders are both about 50 feet from the HB feeders and the birdbath and they all get used every day of the year.

HB's and bluebirds are very territorial, while some wild birds don't seem to mind living close to other species of birds. Cardinals use the feeders and birdbath all the time, and I think they nest in the same trees as the jays and mockingbirds. Mockingbirds rarely use the feeders, but they love the birdbath. Jays don't seem to use the feeders or the birdbath, but they are in the yard all the time. The only birds that the HB's seem to disagree with is each other, swooping and diving and chasing each other around the yard and jetting through the porch. They do this even when there are other birds at the wild bird feeder on the porch.

I would just keep the feeders full and the water fresh and eventually they'll show up. And if you have any good suggestions for keeping my grandson from splashing in the birdbath, I'm all ears. Cheryl

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 6:51PM
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eigdeh(z6 NJ)

Thanks Cheryl!

If your birdbath looks anything like mine does after the birds have had it for just an hour I really feel for you!

How about filling a big pot when he is outside and tell him this one is yours?

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 11:46AM
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I have a suet feeder on a pole at least 20' away from one feeder and maybe 50' from the other. It get's ALOT of activity from sparrows, starlings, mockingbirds, grackles, and cardinals lately. Last year there was an awful commotion created by a pack of starlings. It did seem to piss the hummer off a bit; she flew over to check out what was going on, then promptly headed back to the closest feeder. I also have a bird bath near the suet feeder. I have a thistle feeder off in another direction, again, close to 20' away; it's actually directly between both hummer feeders. My hummers fly back and forth, passing the thistle feeder loaded up with goldfinches. No problem in my garden. If it ever gets to be a problem, you know those suet/thistle feeders would be history!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 3:02PM
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eigdeh(z6 NJ)

Thanks Tracey! I am just trying to figure out why I don't have more activity here. :C( Birds were the only thing I could think of. Guess I will leave the bath up since the birds do use it a lot.

Have you seen any hummers since your first visit?

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 3:43PM
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Well Im not Tracey[sorry Tracey] I have had several visits today and one final visit at 9pm by a male, kinda nice to know my place is his first choice for a nightcap.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 9:35PM
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Ive noticed a couple of times today when a hummer was at my window feeder and one of the doves flares up at the wildbird feeder the hummer flies away. There doesnt seem to be a really good spot to move that feeder to as I have hummer plants and feeders all over my yard and a small yard at that. When that food is all gone its goodbye feeder for those guys , sorry this is hummerville.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 2:28PM
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Ken; I'm beyond depressed. It seems my boy & girl flew the coop. I had fresh sugar water; plenty of plants out, despite the cold nights, and I checked all weekend long. No hummers. Nada. On Thursday, I set my little video camera out and got ALOT of footage; my little girl was there for 6 minutes straight! In past years, they'd fly off after a minute or two. The first sitting was the female for 3 minutes. 3 minutes later the male showed up, for one minute. 12 seconds later the female showed back up for 6 minutes. Then Friday came, and nothing. Same the rest of the weekend. I'm sad, so very sad. This is the first time they showed up and dissed me. Wah!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 4:21PM
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eigdeh(z6 NJ)

Hi Tracey,

Sounds like you had a good 5 days of activity so far, you should be happy about that. I am sure some will return soon. I guess your place was attractive enough to keep them from going on with their migration for almost a week!

I have only seen that one back in the end of April. I have had tons of flowers that they like such as lilac, apple blossoms, Bleeding Hearts, coral bells, columbine, etc plus 5 feeders.

If I am remembering correctly you are further north of me. I am directly east of Princeton by about 10 minutes, probably as central as you can get in NJ.

Still hoping for a good hummer year!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 9:45PM
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eigdeh(z6 NJ)

I hear you! I am still thinking of letting the bath dry up, at least for a few days. I cannot imagine a hummer wanting to share a branch with a big bird that is waiting for the bath. Only thing is that the birds have been regulars for a very long time and I hate to let them down for nothing.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 9:50PM
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Okay, I jumped the gun. A new tiny little male showed up last night, and I'm wondering if the female might be nesting. She was rather plump, chubbier than most females I've ever seen. I know they normally take a few minutes off the nest while incubating, so maybe she's feeding elsewhere. I can at least hope that I'll be seeing her again; she's easy to identify with a white patch atop her beak.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 1:58PM
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eigdeh(z6 NJ)

Great news tracey!

I had no idea they are nesting yet. Is this the normal time of the year here in NJ for nesting?

Still wondering why I don't have any. :C(


    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 2:59PM
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I came to this forum in search of this very same topic. I have not fed hummers in the past, I was really just working on getting my gardens established.
Last fall I had a hummer come through my yard and I didn't even have a feeder out (I remember seeing him at one of my perennials but I don't recall which one.)

Anyway, this year I've added more hummer-friendly flowers even though none are blooming right now I did set my feeder out 3 days ago just in case. My neighbor told me she had a Hummer at her feeder last week so I'm guessing I might've missed my window.

I've noticed that the robins (most numerous bird in my yard) are constantly flying around the HB feeder and landing on the shepards hook that the feeder is on. The feeder is Very close to a small lilac shrub (didn't bloom this year - too new I think) and a very mature cherry tree. All the birds in my yard LOVE the cherry tree. I haven't even had to set out a bird feeder this year, I just toss stale bread out once every few weeks and they have a field day between that, the cherries and the worms/grubs/insects in my yard.

I just wonder if it's too much bird activity for hummers?

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 3:42PM
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devilwoman(7a Warr Acres OK)

I've yet to see hummingbirds in my yard during the spring, but I really don't have anything blooming early enough to attract them. I do get them in the summer, though. I have two large seed feeders on a double hook near an apricot tree and added a suet feeder hung in the apricot tree this year. When the hummers show up in summer they seem completely oblivious to the other birds, providing the other birds stay out of the flowering trees the hummers think are theirs. Last summer I watched a tiny hummer chase an adult male cardinal out of my Rose of Sharon. Even though the cardinal wasn't at all interested in the flowers, the hummer was having no one else in HIS tree.

I took video of the "wars" that went on in my yard last year. One little guy picked a perch in a crepe myrtle from which he could see practically all of the yard. He chased off every other hummer that came into the yard but totally ignored all the other birds at the seed feeders. I really think these little guys are fearless.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 5:08PM
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