If you have hummingbird feeders you probably have noticed they have been getting a little crazy lately, zipping around wildly, chasing each other aggressively as try to gain control of the best nectar sources. Why on earth are they doing this! Can’t they just share?
Ruby Throated Hummingbirds migrate to Mexico in the fall, traveling more than 450 miles across the open water of the Gulf of Mexico. To prepare for such a long journey, fraught with all kinds of challenges, they must fatten up. At this time of year they are hyperphagia–eating almost constantly to put on weight, many nearly doubling their mass in preparation. A male weighing 3 grams during the summer may put on 2 -2.5 grams.
Imagine these tiny birds traveling over open water, sometimes with headwinds as hard as 20mph! It might take them 20 hours to make this journey. Certainly it is easy to understand, given this incredible migration, why so many do not make it.
Recently I watched them outside of my office window, counting 6 around my suction-cup feeder at one time! I filmed for a minute, watching as they zipped by at impossible speeds. The photo above shows two drinking while a third one tries to figure out how to get nectar from the feeder! He seemed baffled, and kept tasting the water in the moat before he was run off by one of the other immature males.
Such fun they are to watch! Enjoy the video… at one point there will be two on the feeder and you can count at least 3 or possibly 4 in the background.
Are your hummingbirds this crazy yet??
If you want to read more about hummingbirds, here are 10 things you may not know, a Weekly Puzzler about hummingbirds, and a post about their incredible migration. Also, if you are still filling your hummingbird feeders with RED NECTAR, click HERE to learn why this is a terrible idea! Oh, and here’s one more video–in case you’ve never seen a male with his iridescent red gorget. Happy reading!
If you want to buy this feeder, check it out here!