Hummingbirds are known for delight and joy, however, hummingbirds are very territorial. Also, they do not have a problem with being violent to defend their territory.
Hummingbirds use aggression as a survival strategy. However, this behaviour has evolved over the years to define the success of various species of hummingbirds in Central, North, and South America.
So, Why are my hummingbirds so territorial?
The reason behind this is that they cannot afford to share their food when there is a scarcity of food and blossoms are not readily available. This territorial behaviour is so ingrained that they cannot find out that feeders are distinct.
What Does It Mean For Birds To Be Territorial?
A bird being territorial means it will defend the areas that it needs for activities like mating, sleeping, and feeding. Usually, male birds protect these areas or territories.
This is why males are more aggressive than female birds. They establish these areas or territories before entering the mating season. However, in birds like eagles, female birds are more protective.
The common birds in nature usually share their areas while other birds that are less social will defend their areas from intruders. Birds usually claim their territories with things like singing, dancing, nesting, and chasing out enemies.
Are Hummingbirds Territorial?
Hummingbirds are very territorial and this can benefit them in various ways. Most importantly, this territorial behaviour provides them with food security and improves the chance of mating and passing the genes successfully. Usually, male hummingbirds are more aggressive, however, females also defend their nest in the breeding season.
If you feed hummingbirds, you must have seen this behaviour around you as well. You need to understand this territorial behaviour and how to minimise the conflict between them. This will create a peaceful environment in your backyard.
All types of hummingbirds are very territorial. In the Spring season, the males arrive at the breeding areas and make their territories. They defend these territories from the intruders
Why Are Hummingbirds So Territorial?
Hummingbirds are territorial because the things they need are limited or not easily found in the surrounding. Nectar is a very essential part of their diet and it is very seasonal and may be limited to a small area.
These birds will try to protect areas with a lot of food resources and make sure other birds or intruders do not enter this vicinity. These areas can be small but can be full of food resources. Therefore, usually, a male will try to protect it.
This territorial behaviour has another essential function in the case of breeding. Male birds form their territories where they show themselves to female hummingbirds.
The territory quality is an essential signal for females about the male’s fitness. The number of food resources in the territory, and the accessibility of the territory to the female bird’s nesting area are very important factors.
When Do Hummingbirds Get Territorial?
According to Researchgate, these birds usually get territorial during the mating season. However, they can also get territorial throughout the year for their food sources.
The time of breeding season differs from species to species. For instance, Anna’s hummingbirds from the American west coast usually breed from December to July.
On the other hand, ruby-throated hummingbirds from the American east coast usually breed from April to September.
An interesting fact here is that some hummingbird species are much more aggressively territorial than other species. Moreover, this is not size-dependent. For instance, rufous hummingbirds usually dominate the bigger species around natural and feeder food sources.
How Do Hummingbirds Mark Their Territory?
There are different ways in which hummingbirds mark their territory. The female hummingbirds make territory by building nests around them. In the case of male hummingbirds, it is quite different. Here is a list of behaviours that a male hummingbird uses to make his territory.
- Aggressive sounds: This is typically carried out once an outsider is noticed. Male hummingbirds do this to alert outsiders to tell that the territory has been taken
- Aggressive Dives: An irritated hummingbird can also make moves in an attempt to scare off visitors on their territory. Aggressive dives, for instance, maybe a feature of their territorial display. This includes soaring in front of an outsider, then soaring excessively above before diving directly down, almost immediately at them. An auditory caution is generally given.
- Body Language: Changes in their body language include puffed-out feathers and chests, flared tails and raised wings to warn off outsiders.
- Chasing and Fighting: If the alternative warnings do not deter the outsiders, the protecting bird will chase them or interact with them in an excessive physical fight. They will use talons for attacking outsiders.
These birds mark their territory when they have found and established territories for feeding and mating. Hummings are very antisocial and love to be in their territory. Both females and males have definite territories and males can easily defend their territories.
Tips To Help The Hummingbird Protect Its Territory
Keep alternative food sources
Planting flowers that make a lot of nectar near the feeders will allow the hummingbird to know that there is a lot of food available. This can reduce the amount of territorial behaviour and unnecessary fights for food that you witness.
However, there are a lot of territories that every hummingbird can protect. Therefore, if you have an aggressive male hummingbird protecting 1 of the feeders, he may not find another hummingbird who is feeding from a nearby flower.
Keep multiple feeders
If you have only one feeder, you will see your hummingbirds constantly fighting for food. Therefore, instead of having one large feeder, it is better to keep multiple smaller feeders.
Also, ensure that you hang those feeders out of sight of one another. In this way, one male hummingbird can claim one feeder as his territory.
Check your feeders frequently and if you still find some birds fighting, try to move the feeders apart. Even if you have one dominant hummingbird, he will not be able to defend more than one feeder effectively.
Remove the territorial pole
If you find a particularly territorial and aggressive hummingbird near the feeder, keep an eye on him carefully to understand where he constantly shows his aggression. Male hummingbirds can sit for hours on their favourite pole to take care of their territory.
Once you have found that particular pole, remove that pole. This will force the hummingbird to change his mind and aggression.
How to Prevent Fights Over Hummingbird Feeders?
Hummingbirds fighting over feeders can set up territory and prevent different hummingbirds from feeding there.
So in case you want to assist hummingbirds where you live, it is essential to try and make certain that one hummingbird does not dominate others.
The best approach is to make certain you diversify the food sources available – developing abundance by planting local flora that blooms all year round, in particular during key periods. Creating wealthy habitats for these birds in specific parts of your lawn permits you to provide for all.
It is likewise a good concept to place feeders. You need to place feeders in multiple places on your lawn – preferably not near each other.
Do not place a single feeder with a couple of ports, however rather more than one single port feeder. Spread those out throughout your area and a single hummingbird will conflict to protect the complete territory. They will commonly then surrender and expend much less energy on competitive territorial behaviour.
In conclusion, I would say that hummingbirds would possibly look like sweet sensitive balls of fur to people but they’re severely competitive and territorial in nature. Hummingbirds will protect territories along with food sources fiercely from different birds of their species.
This can cause trouble for individuals who placed out feeders as 1 bird can decide to dominate the other. The best way to lessen fights on the feeders is to increase the number of feeders and place them around your yard.
I hope you enjoyed the article. I will be back soon with more interesting and informative pieces of writing. Till then, stay connected. Thank you.
Frequently Asked Questions
By placing the feeders in clusters, you can stop the hummingbirds from being territorial. This way, their interaction will become less and ultimately there will be less conflict. This can have an impact on the hummingbirds’ territorial behaviour.
No, this is not true. Hummingbirds aren’t territorial for humans. They may become tamer and bolder through dependency on the lawn. However, they do not see humans as any kind of competition for food sources.