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Discussion in 'Gardening for Backyard Biodiversity in Canada' started by Junglekeeper, Dec 29, 2021.
Cold snap taking a toll on B.C.'s Anna's hummingbirds
Heard that on the radio when driving yesterday :
"A weather station mounted on a tide gauge on the picturesque island of Kodiak, Alaska, recorded an air temperature of 67°F on Dec. 26, which if verified would become the state's record high for the month"
19.4°C !!! Crazy...
Check out the ingenious ways people are freeze-proofing their hummingbird feeders during B.C.'s cold snap
Everyone who has a hummingbird feeder is familiar with the aggressive behaviour of certain male hummers whose sole purpose in life seems to be chasing off other hummers who come to the feeders for a drink. This is bad enough during the warmer months but seems to be escalating with the stress of staying alive during these very cold, snowy days. My daughter witnessed one guy who fought off a another bird and battled it all the way to the ground where he pinned his victim to the snow with his foot. No permanent damage was done.
Today, on a neighbourhood blog, someone wrote this funny story about the anti-social behaviour of her dominant male, Arthur. (I couldn't copy the pictures.)
"This is Arthur. Arthur is a jerk.
To protect 'his' feeder, Arthur body slammed Audrey.
As a result, Audrey dropped into the snow.
Audrey took a few moments to get it together, then flew away, leaving me this little gift.
A Hummingbird Snow Angel.
Arthur is still a jerk."
I thought that sort of aggression only took place during mating season. It doesn't seem fair but I suppose this is survival of the fittest playing out in nature.
There are several postings about hummingbirds protecting their feeder on the Facebook hummingbirds group.
(8) Hummingbirds Group | Facebook
They fight over flowering trees and shrubs during the spring and summer also.
I didn't realize they were so territorial. Found a couple articles on curbing their aggressive hehaviour:
How to Stop Aggressive Hummingbirds
How To Stop A Bully Hummingbird!
I can't help being skeptical of the advice offered in these 2 articles. For one thing, they contradict each other.
In the first article, an expert suggests starting to increase the numbers of hummingbird feeders around July 4th.
“The real answer to hummingbird harmony is to add more hummingbird feeders and place them in clusters.”
However the second article advises locating the feeders so they are well spaced around your garden to help alleviate a lot, if not all, of the bullying.
I read accounts from many homeowners here in the Nanoose Bay area that have tried both strategies without success. Other advice given in both articles such as removing the branch where the bully stands guard may work in some situations but impractical in most. In any case, a bully will simply find another perch to watch over his domain.
(I also thought it was amusing that the first article, which is written for retailers by one of their suppliers, recommends customers buy several more hummingbird feeders to solve the problem of aggressive birds - good for business if nothing else!)
Someone in Bellevue, WA (near Seattle) posted on facebook, with a photo, that he's been getting 100 hummingbirds at a time on his deck with three feeders. A lot of the comments mention the territorial thing, but this guy gets three birds at a time at each feeding station.
So what is his secret to keeping the birds' aggression at bay?
He says it's his personality. :)
He has no idea.
Maybe he spiked the sugar solution with a tranquillizer ;)