Territorial hummingbirds

ctreeteac(Zone 8b; rain-spewing Oregon)October 23, 2010

This year, hummingbirds have been particularly aggressive, to a point I've personally never seen. It was the most so when the Rufus were here in the spring into mid-summer, when they were getting upset about chickadees being out in the trees in the backyard, nowhere near the feeders, and were bothering large birds like jays and even harassing squirrels minding their own business. They're always pushy when it comes to the Anna's that we have year-round now, but this kind of behavior, with attacking regular birds and everybody else, was something new. The Rufus finally left, and now we have our Anna's. While the population has dropped a bit as we're approaching winter, we still have a lot of flowers in bloom, and we're suddenly starting to see Anna's be aggressive toward our little finches and chickadees that eat at our two bird feeders some fifteen feet away from the hummingbird feeders on our deck. It seems to be because we have flower pots with blue salvia in them that are placed some three feet from the bird feeders, and the Anna's don't appear to like that the birds are eating their food so close to where they like to stop by the salvia.

They're nowhere near as bad as the Rufus were when they were here, but every so often I'll see an Anna's come and start to eat at the salvia and then look up and see a little innocent baby finch eating and decide to go over and flare some tail feathers and hover near the poor little thing's face. The birds are normally not bothered enough to leave, and the hummers will get bored of it and stop after several seconds, but I'm just curious... anyone else ever seen this type of behavior? We've never had hummers care one bit about our regular birds in years past.

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bandjzmom(7 NWGeorgia)

I did some reading up, and everything I find labels the Rufous as the "most territorial" "fiestiest" and "most aggressive." One thing that you can do is to move that Black and Blue Salvia far away from your seed feeders. That might help somewhat.

I found this in my reading:
"Rufous hummingbirds are a solitary species and are very defensive and aggressive near feeders, particularly during migration. The birds will chase and pursue other hummingbirds, large insects and songbirds, and they will even exhibit threat displays at other creatures, including humans. Threat displays include diving, tail fanning and other visual demonstrations."
From this site:

    Bookmark   October 24, 2010 at 9:34AM
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ctreeteac(Zone 8b; rain-spewing Oregon)

Yes, the Rufous are known to be the most territorial... however, the bad behavior from Anna's is something new in my neck of the woods!

Yesterday, we moved the flowers completely away from the feeders... and today the Anna's have gone to the flowers and then over to eat and then decided on their way to leave to still go over and attack the regular birds. Hopefully they'll cool down for winter! We expect this stuff from the Rufous, who left our area quite some time ago, but for Anna's, it's definitely new to me.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2010 at 11:03PM
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bandjzmom(7 NWGeorgia)

Well gosh, that is so odd. I wonder why the Anna's are continuing to attack. Could it be that they've just gotten into the habit of doing it now? So odd.
My little RTHB's aren't thrilled about sharing feeding space, but I guess they just adapt because there are so many. Sometimes, one will decide to guard a certain feeder, but it's really impossible to accomplish when so many are trying to feed. It's entertaining to watch though. :o)

    Bookmark   October 25, 2010 at 11:52AM
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