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Q

Your sight is the first one on hummingbirds that I have found on the web with such detail! I was able to identify my little birds, and to eliminate choices that they could not possibly be. Before reaching your sight I was wondering if the constant fighting was normal or not (my 14 yr old calls them the kamikaze hummers). I have bookmarked this sight! thanks!

-- janet

A There is nothing more normal for hummingbirds than fighting. Sometimes it seems that they use up more energy fighting for our flowers and the ports at our feeders than they get from nectar and sugar-water.

They also fight when it isn't necessary. Most hummingbird species are very territorial and try to chase off all intruders, even if there is an abundant food supply for every hummer that could possibly come.

We have found Rufous and Blue-Throats to be among the most aggressive, but all species are fighters. We have seen hummingbirds chase away house finches, staying on their tails until both birds are far out of sight. Just the hummers come back. We have also seen hummingbirds dive-bombing a Cooper's Hawk.

Once we saw two fighting Blue-Throated Hummingbirds lock their bills together in flight and spin to the ground where they whirled in the dust for a few moments. The loser then flew away.

Our most frustrating experience with fighting hummers was a couple of years ago when we were trying to photograph an albino Ruby-Throated Hummingbird. It was, perhaps, the most beautiful bird we had ever seen. Every time it approached the feeder, a young male chased it off. We got no pictures, even though we observed the bird coming back to the feeder all afternoon long!

-- Larry & Terrie

 

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