The Territorial Nature of Hummingbirds
If you have been watching hummingbirds for any length of time, you have probably noticed that hummingbirds will commonly chase other hummingbirds away from plants or feeders. Do you know why they do this? This post will help give you a better understanding of the territorial nature of hummingbirds.
Male hummingbirds are very territorial for several reasons. The male is trying to defend his feeding territory. The male hummingbird does not want his territory to overlap with other male hummingbirds. A male hummingbird will defend his territory aggressively by doing a bluffing charge attack or he will engage the rival in a physical battle.
Another reason a male hummingbird is so fiercely protective of his territory is due to the desire to attract a mate. Before a female hummingbird agrees to mate with the male she is not allow in the territory and will be driven away from there. Once the female agrees to mate, she is given a”free pass” into the territory. This is extremely important to the female hummingbird because when she is sitting on her eggs or chicks she needs easy access to a nearby food source so she is not gone for too long or the offspring may die.
Do you know what size a territory a male hummingbird can defend? The answer may surprise you as it did me. A male hummingbird can defend a territory that is a quarter-acre or so. If the area contains nectar rich plants and plenty of well maintained feeders, a hummingbird will not have to leave his territory to search for food.
A female hummingbird will defend her nesting territory. The female hummingbird will forage for food up to half a mile in any direction from her nest.
If you wish to decrease the territorial battles among male hummingbirds, try these things. Hang multiple feeders so that there are more feeders for all the birds and maybe the birds will not feel the need to defend the feeder as strongly because there is other feeders from which to choose. Also, it may help if you hang your feeders at different heights.
Yes indeed, hummingbirds are extremely territorial in nature, but there are reasons for this. Many people may even think of hummingbirds as being “antisocial” but this is not the case. There are specific reasons why hummingbirds are territorial in nature and it is my hope that this post has helped you understand this better.