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How large are hummingbird territories?

Posted by tempskya Z7B BAMA (My Page) on
Thu, Sep 26, 13 at 17:19

I've only got one small feeder now. It's close to the house. I was wondering if putting several at different spots on my small property would get more nectar to more hummers. I've never seen more than one feeding at a time. If another tries to eat, the one will always chase it away. So, I was wondering how large a hummingbird territory is. Would only one cover my quarter acre back yard? Or would it be divided up into several?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: How large are hummingbird territories?

Tempskya, the books say the size of the territory varies with the aount of food it provides. A richer food source can support more birds, hence smaller territories. I have read that in a really rich food environment, a territory might be one large bush.

If you have more feeders, I'm sure your area could support more birds.

I have two feeders about 10 feet apart on the deck, and in August I got 18-20 visits at each feeder in the hour right before dusk. Sometimes at dusk saw two hummers on one feeder and one on the other. The rest of the day it was one at a time with a lot of chasing each other around. The most I saw at one time was 5, but the feeders only went up in July. I'm expecting more next summer.

Some people here have posted pictures of 8 or 10 large feeders side by side, every port on each one with a hummer on it, and hummers fluttering around waiting their turn.

Others here advocate putting feeders around the yard so they can't all be guarded from one spot.

Do what is easy and pleasing for you. But do try at least one more feeder. I'll bet you'll increase the number of birds you are supporting by more than just one.

RE: How large are hummingbird territories?

One bird can dominate a single feeder. If a second feeder is added, try to keep it in an area where the dominate bird cannot perch and view both feeders at the same time. The tipping point when hummingbirds will share a feeder is mysterious (other than in the evening, for the final feedings of the day). I suspect it has to do with the number of active birds present around the feeder area at the same time, so that the condition is such that they know that they cannot chase any one individual far without several others being allowed to have free feeding time. So it becomes counterproductive to make the attempt.

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