Hummingbirds fight to the death.

Mechanic

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We live in a simi rural area that 10-15 years ago was wild sagebrush and desert. My second wife loves gardening and feeding the birds. I must say the area is still full of predators, owls, falcons, hawks, coyotes and there have been sightings of big cats. We put out feeders for the house finches, doves and jays and occasionally an oriole or 2. I wish the falcon or hawks would take out a few doves. Or hummers on the other hand have a choice of at least 8 feeders in front and out back of the house. Our birds seem to get along with one another. At any given time of the day there’s 2 or 3 hanging around. The hens will come and go as they please. The males are the one who fight. And usually just go over the house to the other feeders. I’ve yet to find a hurt hummer or even one who got stressed out. I love to watch them as I sit on the porches to play a little guitar, drink a little coffee and watch the birds. ✌🏻❤️
 

televillian

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But the thing is, you don't know that it was killed by another hummingbird. Maybe it was attacked by a predator, or maybe it died of natural causes. I enjoy watching them battle, but I've never seen one harm another. I also have had rare moments were five of them were sitting on the feeder at the same time.

On the other hand, I took my regular bird seed feeders down, because all they were doing was tossing it out on the ground, and rats would come around.
whatever critters you`re feeding will attract whatever eats them
 

Stringbanger

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I lived in Las Vegas for a few years in the early 2000s. My wife wanted to feed the poor birds, so she'd have me go out every morning at 7AM and fill a bird feeder. It was spooky, they'd be sitting there on the retaining wall, a hundred or more of 'em, like in a Hitchcock movie, and as soon as I'd walk back in the house it was a shark feeding frenzy. They'd empty it out in five minutes and be gone, often leaving a dead bird or two. For a while, I picked up the dead ones so my wife wouldn't get upset about it, and then I thought to myself, why am I doing this? I started leaving the dead birds on the ground, and pretty soon my wife said to stop feeding 'em. One less aggrevation to deal with.
I came home from work one Saturday afternoon about 10 years ago, and found two hummingbirds lying on the back patio deader than door nails. There was no apparent predator trauma, and they were lying parallel facing each other about three inches apart.

I figured that they had a head on collision in mid air. If I recall correctly these two were females (Ruby-throated). I remember taking a pic, but I’ll be dang if I can find it.

We live in a small town, suburban neighborhood, and I’ve been feeding these little guys for a least 20+ years. I usually hang 3-4 feeders to try to minimize their territoriality.
 

boris bubbanov

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I've seen instances where the two birds are competing for the site, and one or both of them crash into a nearby plate glass window. Happened to us and has happened to family before as well. You find them on the deck, dying or dead.
 

TwoBear

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Yesterday when I came home from hitting a few balls over at the golf course, and running a couple of errands, my wife said I think there is something wrong with one of the hummingbirds. She said that she had seen another hummingbird trying to get the fallen one up from the ground, or that's how she interpreted it. I went out and looked, and the bird was still breathing although laboring to do so. The lawn was wet where the bird had fallen, so my wife went and got a couple of paper towels and nudged the bird onto them. I had to go out again for a short run to pick up a few things, and when I came back the bird was dead, and my wife had buried it.

When I was a kid, my momma had told me a story of how when she was a child a hummingbird had penetrated the skin on her hand with its bill. That always kind of stuck with me, and I began to wonder about the dead bird. After doing a little research I learned that they do fight over food, and that they are capable of killing with that bill of theirs against another hummer.

Now here is where we're at. My wife enjoys putting out the feeders and thought she was doing a good turn for the hummers who live in a large tree in our back yard. We see them coming and going all the time. They flit about and are enjoyable to watch. This is the first incident in several years of feeding them that we've seen anything like the dead bird from having the feeder. Now I'm wondering if we should just get rid of the feeders and be done with the hummers if they are going to fight to death over the darned thing.
I see this is an old post I don’t even know how I got here but I’m reminded of when we lived in Santa Ana California and we had a couple feeders in the front and back of the house. We had a lot of hummingbirds and they were fun to watch and photograph but it was immediately apparent that they are either territorial or just plain piggy! Large ones, probably the dominant alpha would it seem spend all of its time and energy darting back and forth chasing others away, and it was funny to see the tiny ones wait in the trees, close by and dart in for a fast taste, and when they flew off you knew the big one was coming back. Seems that the feeder becomes popular and I had to build a little custom water trap over them to keep the ants out and Bees and wasps seemed to be a foe for the little hummingbirds also. They built the cutest tiny homes in the Darndest places like some custom downspouts we had-they built one on the side of that, and even in a chain-link fence-what are those like an inch and a half or 2 in. Square?
 

Toto'sDad

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I see this is an old post I don’t even know how I got here but I’m reminded of when we lived in Santa Ana California and we had a couple feeders in the front and back of the house. We had a lot of hummingbirds and they were fun to watch and photograph but it was immediately apparent that they are either territorial or just plain piggy! Large ones, probably the dominant alpha would it seem spend all of its time and energy darting back and forth chasing others away, and it was funny to see the tiny ones wait in the trees, close by and dart in for a fast taste, and when they flew off you knew the big one was coming back. Seems that theater becomes popular and I had to build a little custom water trap over them to keep the ants out and Bees and wasps seemed to be a foe for the little hummingbirds also. They built the cutest tiny homes in the Darndest places like some custom downspouts we had-they built one on the side of that, and even in a chain-link fence-what are those like an inch and a half or 2 in. Square?

My wife has been feeding the hummingbirds forever! I always enjoyed watching them, now not so much. I keep seeing the little bird there on the ground. His only offence was being hungry. I guess that's the way it is, my wife is a lot more grounded than I am, she continues feeding them, and enjoying them. It has always been my first thought to defend those who cannot defend themselves. I know though you cannot battle nature, it has an order that we have no control over.
 

String Tree

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Yesterday when I came home from hitting a few balls over at the golf course, and running a couple of errands, my wife said I think there is something wrong with one of the hummingbirds. She said that she had seen another hummingbird trying to get the fallen one up from the ground, or that's how she interpreted it. I went out and looked, and the bird was still breathing although laboring to do so. The lawn was wet where the bird had fallen, so my wife went and got a couple of paper towels and nudged the bird onto them. I had to go out again for a short run to pick up a few things, and when I came back the bird was dead, and my wife had buried it.

When I was a kid, my momma had told me a story of how when she was a child a hummingbird had penetrated the skin on her hand with its bill. That always kind of stuck with me, and I began to wonder about the dead bird. After doing a little research I learned that they do fight over food, and that they are capable of killing with that bill of theirs against another hummer.

Now here is where we're at. My wife enjoys putting out the feeders and thought she was doing a good turn for the hummers who live in a large tree in our back yard. We see them coming and going all the time. They flit about and are enjoyable to watch. This is the first incident in several years of feeding them that we've seen anything like the dead bird from having the feeder. Now I'm wondering if we should just get rid of the feeders and be done with the hummers if they are going to fight to death over the darned thing.
Sadly, they will fight like that anywhere.
They have been doing so for Millions of Years.
If you like seeing them come to the feeder, keep it.
 

Toto'sDad

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Sadly, they will fight like that anywhere.
They have been doing so for Millions of Years.
If you like seeing them come to the feeder, keep it.

Oh, we're keeping the feeder. That falls under: Moma's stuff. TD don't mess with momma's stuff, not if he knows what's good for him. Most likely after a bit, I'll get over Mr. King of the feeder, killing off little Charly and get back to just enjoying watching them.
 

Telekarster

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We only just started with the feeders a year ago. It's fun to watch em! Little buggers are greedy lil things! LOL!!! You get to where you know who the instigators are, too. We'll sit on the deck and watch em buzz bomb each other for hours. My Mom used to have literally 12-15 feeders out, and she tended to em each day. She'd have swarms of hummers! She can't do all that anymore, sadly, but she still talks about em... that and bluebirds ;) Yes.... she was a big bluebirder too :)
 

Toto'sDad

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We only just started with the feeders a year ago. It's fun to watch em! Little buggers are greedy lil things! LOL!!! You get to where you know who the instigators are, too. We'll sit on the deck and watch em buzz bomb each other for hours. My Mom used to have literally 12-15 feeders out, and she tended to em each day. She'd have swarms of hummers! She can't do all that anymore, sadly, but she still talks about em... that and bluebirds ;) Yes.... she was a big bluebirder too :)
It's funny to me, that I was such a hardnosed type of guy when I was a hound hunter, and what a softie I am now. We have rescued just about every kind of bird that lives in the area. Many times, to no avail. A lot of times, after we have rescued something, and nursed it back to life, some other species of bird or animal comes along and kills it anyway. Still, we keep trying. We figure however long it gets to live, is a lot more time on earth than when we found it dying. Maybe there's a purpose in that, and maybe there isn't.
 

Smokin OP

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Several years ago my wife watched 2 hummers battling it out with one taking the other to the ground. When she stood & yelled at the bird to stop, the aggressor flew off, the other survived as well...we think.
 

P Thought

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Also, I am reminded of something I heard on the radio. A caller to a garden talk show wanted to know what to do about hawks/falcons preying on the songbirds at her feeders. The Expert suggested that she just think of it as putting out a feeder for the songbirds, and a feeder for the raptors. That answer didn’t go down well, but he was right.
Same kind of thing operates when you put out rat poison....
 

telleutelleme

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The ones here are migratory, heading for the long flight over the Bay of Campeche into Central America. They pass through in March/April and back through in August/September. We always have a feeder by the front window and back patio door. There is usually what we call a guard bird that stays a few days and dominates until he loads up for the trip down to Rockport. They fight and will dive bomb unwanted intruders, including me. The first pass is usually a warning fly-by with a chase, but sometimes the new bird will challenge the guard bird and drive him off or be driven off. I've only seen them roll around on the ground once and both departed. The females sometimes take the role or just sneak in while the males are chasing each other. Once in a while a male and female will share the feeder. They are fun to watch and amazing acrobats in the air. Had one nose to nose with my dog on opposite sides of the living room window. It was great as they just looked at each other for quite a bit. For over thirty years in this house, never found a dead one.
 

Uncle Butch

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But the thing is, you don't know that it was killed by another hummingbird. Maybe it was attacked by a predator, or maybe it died of natural causes. I enjoy watching them battle, but I've never seen one harm another. I also have had rare moments were five of them were sitting on the feeder at the same time.

On the other hand, I took my regular bird seed feeders down, because all they were doing was tossing it out on the ground, and rats would come around.
You are correct, it might have been killed by another predator, like a praying mantis.
 

TC6969

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Hummingbirds used to be thick as mosquitoes here in Florida, but I haven't seen one since sometime in the 60's
 

Mechanic

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I do remember living in SoCal and putting feeders out. One year I had a nest in the tree by the front door of our house. Me being the softy I am, I put a feeder next to the nest. Momma hummer got used to me changing the feeder every other day. On day Momma met me chattering at the door. Fly to the nest and back to me. 3 tiny eggs in the nest. I kept the cats at bay and pulled my other feeders to kind of giving her some privacy. Couple of days to a week later momma is buzzing me again. I go to see babies in the nest as momma is chattering at me. Kept feeding them as they grew. We’d sit on the porch to watch them. Momma would eventually sit on my finger to tell me all about it, meeting me coming and going. Next year she was a no show and the year I moved from my parents home.
 

tap4154

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I do remember living in SoCal and putting feeders out. One year I had a nest in the tree by the front door of our house. Me being the softy I am, I put a feeder next to the nest. Momma hummer got used to me changing the feeder every other day. On day Momma met me chattering at the door. Fly to the nest and back to me. 3 tiny eggs in the nest. I kept the cats at bay and pulled my other feeders to kind of giving her some privacy. Couple of days to a week later momma is buzzing me again. I go to see babies in the nest as momma is chattering at me. Kept feeding them as they grew. We’d sit on the porch to watch them. Momma would eventually sit on my finger to tell me all about it, meeting me coming and going. Next year she was a no show and the year I moved from my parents home.

They are interesting creatures. I just keep one feeder out, and one day after it had gone dry, I walked out and replaced it with fresh nectar, then sat down at my patio table. A hummer zipped right up to my face, and looked at me in the eye for about 10 seconds. Then it zoomed over to the feeder. I took that as a "thank you".
 

stepvan

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Yesterday when I came home from hitting a few balls over at the golf course, and running a couple of errands, my wife said I think there is something wrong with one of the hummingbirds. She said that she had seen another hummingbird trying to get the fallen one up from the ground, or that's how she interpreted it. I went out and looked, and the bird was still breathing although laboring to do so. The lawn was wet where the bird had fallen, so my wife went and got a couple of paper towels and nudged the bird onto them. I had to go out again for a short run to pick up a few things, and when I came back the bird was dead, and my wife had buried it.

When I was a kid, my momma had told me a story of how when she was a child a hummingbird had penetrated the skin on her hand with its bill. That always kind of stuck with me, and I began to wonder about the dead bird. After doing a little research I learned that they do fight over food, and that they are capable of killing with that bill of theirs against another hummer.

Now here is where we're at. My wife enjoys putting out the feeders and thought she was doing a good turn for the hummers who live in a large tree in our back yard. We see them coming and going all the time. They flit about and are enjoyable to watch. This is the first incident in several years of feeding them that we've seen anything like the dead bird from having the feeder. Now I'm wondering if we should just get rid of the feeders and be done with the hummers if they are going to fight to death over the darned thing.
I don't think it was the feeders that lead to the death of the hummer you found more than likely a hummer not from that territory and got the beak
 

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