One of the first feeders I hung was a Hummingbird feeder.
I made plenty of sugar water so I was excited to see these tiny little creatures feed. Little did I know how territorial Hummingbirds were.
The first thing I realized after hanging the feeder is that wasps are the taste-testers, if they can reach the sugar water. I was afraid that they would keep the Hummingbirds away, but not for the most part. Don’t get me wrong, I have seen the wasps temporarily chase away a Hummingbird just as they have chased me away when I try to refill the feeder, but the Hummingbird always comes back.
Once the Hummingbirds started using the feeder, I realized that there are SO MANY around. It’s like they come out of the woodwork (well, I guess woods, in general) to get at that sugar water.
But that is when I was taught the most important lesson: Hummingbirds do not know how to share. As soon as they found the feeder, the Hummingbird Wars began.
The winner of each battle would take his/her place on the top of the shepherd’s hook just over the feeder. When I first hung it, there seemed to be a new winner about every week or so.
It took about a month for a stocky little guy with a bright red neck to make an appearance at the top of the hook.
This guy was so tough he would even chase away the Chickadees from the seed feeder next to it. While I am not absolutely positive, it seems like he’s been able to maintain control of the feeder ever since, aside from an occasional switch-out in which case I imagine that the Godfather Hummingbird went on a brief vacation.
Winner by Knock-Out
I swear the only way this guy has been able to keep control of the feeder is because he has learned how to run the other Hummingbirds into my windows. Once I heard the heartbreaking *thud* every couple of days, I KNEW I had to come up with a plan.
I had read that half of birds that hit windows die, so I did NOT want to see that happen. Fortunately, each time I went out to bring the Hummingbirds sugar water and give them a little cover, they saw me as the Abominable Snowman and took off in a terrified fright, proving to me that they’d be okay.
I researched many ideas and finally decided on buying some window film because I thought these birds were hitting my high windows. However, one morning I walk into the living room just in time to see a poor little Hummingbird slam straight into the top of one of the lower windows.
As I watched him sitting stunned on the patio, I realized the solution may be much simpler: pull the shades during the day. Once I began pulling the shades in the morning when those windows were most reflective, I have not yet seen another Hummingbird hit the window. (Side note: I have since seen the first fatality from a female Goldfinch hitting my window. Sad day, but different story.)
More recently, I have moved the Hummingbird feeder in the back yard closer to the house so that the windows are much more obvious to the Hummingbirds.
This is a recent development, but they don’t fly at the windows anymore, so I am hopeful.
Funny fact: The relocation of the feeder 5-10 feet away was not so obvious to the Red Wasp who was helping to guard it. Once I moved it and put a seed feeder in its place, the wasp kept hanging around the seed feeder looking confused until the Finches eventually ran him off.
Not long after I hung the feeder in the back yard, I was sitting on my front porch and a hummingbird flew right up to my face and started chirping at me. It seemed to me he was complaining vehemently about the hostage situation with the other feeder. Then he seemed to proceed to ask me where his feeder was located. It was cute! And I took note.
I did eventually get another Hummingbird feeder for the front yard. It only seemed to increase the number of Hummingbirds I see.
The front yard Hummingbird Wars are even more exciting than the backyard battles. These guys will buzz each other straight into the grass! And since there are no large windows to be easily run into, it seems that these battles last longer and rarely have a consistent winner.
Next year, I will have even more Hummingbird feeders. They are so entertaining!
While I was reading about Hummingbirds, I found that they migrate to Mexico every year by flying STRAIGHT ACROSS the Gulf of Mexico. Can you believe those tiny little birds can fly so far in one stretch?
I have also been told that I will need to remove the feeders so that the Hummingbirds will complete their migration. Otherwise, there is a chance that they may stay and then freeze to death during the winter. That concerned me, but further research indicates that it is a myth. The desire to migrate is inborn so should a Hummingbird stick around, there may be other factors.
I will still take down the feeders once they pass through so that I can clean and store them for next year. Stay tuned!