hummingbird fighting

proudmamato4(7)August 24, 2011

Hi, everyone. My name is Nancy, and I've been on Gardenweb for years. First in the Kitchen and Appliances forums, then in primarily the Cooking forum. Dropped out for a while, lurked, real life got in the way...

Anyway, I've developed a strong interest in hummingbirds. I have a tubal feeder with the four flowers and yellow center, and I have the Droll Yankees one that is shaped like a saucer. Recently bought the 2nd b/c we've noticed at least five hummingbirds in the past month. No doubt fledglings, some of them.

A few hours ago, I was sitting out watching two of them fighting. We've seen plenty of fights, but this once seemed particularly intense. It had lasted about 3 minutes, so finally I took my phone out to videotape, and video'd over a minute. Finally stopped, but the fight was still going on. They were fighting over the former feeder. So I changed the nectar in the latter feeder, thinking maybe the nectar was bad.

My question is, is it normal for a fight to go on this long, especially when there is an alternate source of food? Is there something I should possibly change in my setup? Both feeders are about 18 feet apart.

Thanks for any input.


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Hummers want their own feeder. That's why I have 20 feeders up. Sometimes I have 30+ birds and sometimes I have 10. These feeders are in a 40 foot line on my patio in the shade and I also have one by the kitchen window. If there isn't a great enough food source, then a hummers will either be killed are go elsewhere. This is why I believe some people have few birds. At another residence, I had on more than one occasion a hummer being taken to the ground and had to intervine to keep the more aggressive hummer from attacking while the one on the ground was dazed. It is not normal for 6 birds to be sitting on one feeder. This is a learned experience. With 3-4 birds, it is almost impossible to get the bully (most aggressive) to stop chasing. Just have to add more feeders. Females are more tollerant and at yet another residence during the southward migration, I had 10-11 females on several feeders at the same time just sitting and drinking.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 6:36PM
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Paul, thanks for the response. It sounds like it could get very expensive and time-consuming. Of course, I am selfish and only want to put the feeders where I can see them. It becomes a challenge, it appears, to find lots of places to set so many of them up and keep up with them. However, I think I may expand next Spring and see how it goes. It is so therapeutic to watch them. Sad that they actually will kill each other.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 7:00PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I think that if you place one of the feeders in a location that is farther away you'll have fewer problems. Surely there are other locations for you to enjoy watching the birds, even from a distance.

That way, you'll be able to keep your two feeders but with fewer battles.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 4:07PM
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Rhizo, in a way, you're correct. But I keep up with the feeders the closer they are to my house, and the more obvious they are when I look out. So we'll see what I do next year. It is such a pleasurable past-time.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 2:00PM
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