Why Are Hummers So Mean To Each Other?

As I try to heal from a torn meniscus or two from my birding mishap, I have had a lot of time to sit and quietly observe the many birds at our feeders. We have dozens of young Purple Finches along with more sparrows than I’ve seen before — chipping, white-throated, song — many little brown jobs.


Let’s try this before Mr. Macho chases me off.

The woodpeckers and nuthatches hit the suet, as do the chickadees. Mourning Doves clean up the deck while Common Yellow-throats and an occasional warbler also hang out in the nearby crabapple tree. Sitting and just observing is much better than TV, and there is the undertone that most of these guys and gals are trying to add weight for the journey ahead.

Many are in molt and some come looking pretty ratty. This is  particularly noticeable after some of the many rains we’ve had.  It makes the ones with new outfits, some of the male American Goldfinches and Purple Finches, really stand out.

But why can’t the hummers get along? All day long, they seem to be chasing one another off a feeder. Sitting there reading, you get one buzzing by pretty close, with another right behind. We have two feeders and usually no more than three hummers at a time, but it is bothersome. The males seem to be the harrassers but I’m not sure the gals don’t reciprocate. Mating season is long gone and it seems like they all need to tank up and get ready to head southward before two long.

I hope she left some for me.

I hope she left some for me.

I guess, as I get my knee back in shape, I’ll have plenty of time to do some reading on this subject – right now it just makes me want ask them. “You’re acting like seventh-graders. Why can’t we all just get along.”

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