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Carol Perkins: Hummingbirds at the feeder

Previous Column: May I help you?

By Carol Perkins

Two hummingbirds live in our forest and they do not get along. I hear that is the nature of the hummingbird, but I didn't believe it until I saw them in action.

Having taken on a new personality, evidently, bird watching has become my new early morning hobby. I'm not interested in studying them; I am only interested in observing their habits and enjoying their beauty. On second thought, I suppose that is a study.

When I noticed a couple of hummingbirds drawing from my flowers, I decided to buy a feeder. In preparing to be a hummingbird mother, I thought I knew how to prepare it and followed the directions. How much information does one need to put water and sugar in a container, shake it, and wait? Obviously, I did something wrong because the birds circled and flew away.

A friend took a look at the feeder and repeated what I thought I had done; she was successful, and they ate to their little heart's content... one at a time.

My mother gave me a second feeder that she had not used, so now I was going to feed both birds (they could have their own feeder). Again, I did the water routine and again, they flew around and left. My friend took over again, and they ate-one at a time. Then the fighting began. I thought one was going to kill the other. One of the little fellows ( I assumed it was the female because she stood her ground) decided to run the other off if he (I decided it was a male because he knew he was fighting a losing battle) even thought about stopping at either of the feeders. As soon as the starving one got near the feeders, the well-fed one launched into a soaring attack and pushed him into the trees. I could see this happening clearing with my twenty-twenty vision.

I have never known of a hummingbird to roost, but the Alpha one did. She sat on top of the double hook pole (like a solar light stuck in the ground) and watched. She guarded her domain, and when the other bird tried to get near, she chased him away with such violence I was sure one was going to die. They circled through the air as if airplanes were after each other. How selfish!

The truth is that the male hummingbird is very aggressive and allows no other male hummingbird near his territory. These birds are not social and never "run" in packs like other birds might do. They are loners and don't share well. The female hummingbird isn't social either, but she depends on the one male in the area to keep off unwanted attention from another hummingbird. Nature's creatures have their own set of rules, and man does not have power over their decision making. So, when the little fellow taps on my window for help, I have none to give.

Follow Susan and Carol-Unscripted on 99.1 the Hoss in Edmonton on Tuesdays from 10amCT to 11amCT and replay on Sundays from 4pmCT to 5pmCT. Listen to Carol's podcast at for entertaining stories and a replay of Susan and Carol-Unscripted.

This story was posted on 2019-09-12 12:02:46
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