Why do I only get females?

deanie1July 10, 2010

I've been putting up various kinds of hummingbird feeders now for two years in two different yards. We live in an area where the only kind we get are ruby-throated. But I have never, ever seen a male. Has anyone else experienced this and do you have to do anything special to attract males?

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Watch your feeders during the final few minutes of their feeding at dusk. At my feeders, the visitors during the last 5-10 minutes are mostly male. I had about 30 this evening...

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 10:48PM
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I too only get ruby-throated and its still mostly males , watch between 9-9:30 pm or the last half hour before dark.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 12:08AM
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That's funny as all day our feeders are active, but I only see males. Last year all we had were females. I put it down to females watching the nest but who knows. We had a horrible couple of wind storms with 80mph straight line winds and the favorite hummer hangout in our yard was blown down. Since then I haven't seen any females. Not sure why?

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 7:53AM
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Tiffany Marshall

Every year I see a male or 2 as the first to arrive, they may stay a month at the most, but then all summer long it's just females only.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 8:28PM
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OK How do I know if they are males for females? I've been getting hummers for 4 years now, and didn't know we could tell males from females.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 9:18PM
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For adult ruby throats, it's easy if you catch them beak forward: males have the ruby throat (called a gorget), and females do not (just a white throat). Juvenile males will have little spots of red poking out of the white (it takes about a year for he full red gorget to fill in).

For other species out west and farther south, it can be more complicated. And I only get RTs, so I have no idea! =)

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 10:29PM
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Adult male Ruby-throated

Female Ruby-throated

Juvenile male Ruby-throated

    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 2:04AM
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Wow, great close-ups. Have you upgraded your camera, ctnchpr?

    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 4:47PM
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Ctnchpr, your hummers are so civilized. Mine have had rolling fights in the air that travelled to the ground. Why are some ruby hummers like mine, and others like yours? I know that in upper Wisconsin, others have witnessed this civility, but in my part of Wisconsin, (near Milwaukee)they are like people on Jerry Springer!!!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 6:56PM
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Thanks, mb! Nope - no upgrade. Still using the almost 3-year old Canon S5.

elbows, My hummers fight too, like...well...like hummers! When the group gets to be about 10 in number, one can't dominate all the others, so it becomes a free-for-all with no clear boss.

One more photo of the 1st gorget feathers. It reminds me of a teenage boy getting a "peach fuzz" mustache...

    Bookmark   July 14, 2010 at 10:05AM
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Cool pics! I just had a sort of black hummer with white and the red stripe around his throat at my feeder. I asssume that was a male then. Correct? What kind? I do see green ones too though.

I only ever see ONE hummer at a time. Not sure why. Anyone know? I have three feeders and I have not seen them as much as in previous years.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2010 at 7:26PM
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Depending on the light an adult male ruby-throated could look like this to you.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 12:50PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Great pics! Thank you for making it very clear between the ruby-throat sexes. Those juveniles look cute with their little tufts of ruby feathers.

It looks like I get mostly females here too. They come to the hummingbird garden, because I don't put out a feeder. The most hummers I've seen at one time is three, and they fight a lot over the choice hummingbird plant du jour. Yesterday there were 3 females fighting over the Monarda didyma and 'Raspberry wine'. There must be more than 1 female breeding around here?

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 3:47PM
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Here out west, the sexes you get in your yard could depend on where you live. Many hummingbirds that breed here in the northwest breed in the mountainous areas (Cascades, Rockies, etc). The males leave on fall migration considerably earlier than the females and juveniles and follow the blooming plants at high altitudes as they migrate south while juveniles and some females migrate later and tend to move to lower elevations to migrate. Thus, for me, living in a low valley east of the Cascades at 1200 feet, I get female and immature Calliope and Rufous hummingbirds during fall migration (starting now) but never see a male! I only see males very briefly as they stop during spring migration...which you guessed it, occurs at lower elevations because the higher elevations in the mountains have snow in spring. So, if I miss their brief visits in spring, I may never see a male in my yard for the entire year.

Black-chinned Hummingbirds, which nest at lower elevations in the intermoutain northwest, are different. We get males and females here in the valley areas as breeders.


    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 2:33PM
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instar8(Z 5 N.IN)

Like everyone says, timing is important, but also the girls chase the boys away since they do not help in raising the young...so they're just competition for food as far as the females are concerned...unless they're in the mood for love ! ;~)

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 10:53AM
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we seem to have 3-4 females and 1 male. there is 1 female that will perch on a nearby wire and wait until another goes to the feeder and at times there is a rolling, peeping fight going on. Then there could 2 feeding in utter peace. we're thinking of getting another feeder as we want to make sure everyone has access to the water to beef them up for migratin.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 9:56PM
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I have both Black Chinned and Ruby Throated. And always have many times more females than males. I had not seen a male of either species in three weeks until this morning. A juvie with a spot of black on his neck. Other characteristics makes me think he is a Black Chinned. He is trying to dominate the feeders already. Hope I can get a picture of him this weekend

    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 5:02PM
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we get mostly females as well. Rather than the males, there is one female who rules the feeder!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 11:53PM
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