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Are hummingbirds aggressive with humans?

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Old Tuesday 10th July 2018, 13:30   #1
Fraulein ash
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Are hummingbirds aggressive with humans?

We get ruby throated hummingbirds at our house, mostly females but I've definitely seen a male (he does appear to be female unless the light hits it in a certain way, then you can see that he has red on his throat).

One day, my bf and I were standing out on our porch, maybe 6-7 ft away from one of the hummingbird feeders we have... and a hummer zipped in front of my face, danced around briefly whilst chirping, then zipped in front of my bf's face and did the same dance/chirp before he flew off.

Then yesterday, my bf was standing out on the porch in the same area, maybe 7 ft away from the closest feeder, it was probably empty (or close to it), but there was a full one about 15 feet away down in the garden. The bird was perched near the closest (empty) feeder, then he zipped around my bf's head a few times, then flew to the full feeder to get a drink, then zipped back in front of my bf's face and hovered there for a few seconds chirping/dancing, then flew off!


Is this an aggressive move? Is he angry that we're standing close to 'his' feeder? Does he somehow know that we fill the feeders and is 'requesting' that we fill it?? What is going on here??
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Old Tuesday 10th July 2018, 18:10   #2
Lisa W
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I have never heard of hummingbirds being aggressive to humans. The hummer was letting you know that the feeder needed attention. And the best way was to come and tell you. I’ve had it happen to me a number of times, feeder needed filling or something else going on - once ants had taken over and the other a praying mantis was on the feeder.
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Old Tuesday 10th July 2018, 19:29   #3
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Ha! I've had a hummer come to the feeder I was holding in my hand and hadn't hung up yet so no, they aren't aggressive towards us humans
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Old Tuesday 10th July 2018, 19:44   #4
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Hummers live about 20x faster than people, based on heart rate and life span.
I think they are smart enough to recognize that it is pointless to be aggressive towards anything that slow.
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Old Tuesday 10th July 2018, 20:29   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa W View Post
I have never heard of hummingbirds being aggressive to humans. The hummer was letting you know that the feeder needed attention. And the best way was to come and tell you. I’ve had it happen to me a number of times, feeder needed filling or something else going on - once ants had taken over and the other a praying mantis was on the feeder.


That is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!! Wow, I never thought they were smart enough to know that we are in charge of filling the feeders! I'm still learning about birds and I know that a lot of birds are ridiculously smart, but I guess I thought that since their brains were so small they couldn't make the connection. They've probably watched other humans putting the feeders out.


That story about the hummingbird notifying you about the praying mantis on his feeder is absolutely *adorable*. I just love that they trusted you enough to help them with that!! That would take an extra level of thought process/problem solving that I never knew they were capable of. Thanks so much for sharing your story with me :)
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Old Tuesday 10th July 2018, 20:33   #6
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Ha! I've had a hummer come to the feeder I was holding in my hand and hadn't hung up yet so no, they aren't aggressive towards us humans

WOAH!! That's so awesome!! I have several ruby throated hummers that visit, but they always visit the feeder furthest away from us, so I do think they are afraid of us, even though I have read that a lot of hummers are fearless. I'm wondering if certain species are more daring than others? What type of hummer was it that came right to the feeder you were holding??
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Old Tuesday 10th July 2018, 22:01   #7
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I finally found the image
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Old Wednesday 11th July 2018, 17:04   #8
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I finally found the image

He's not just feeding from it before you've placed it, he's sitting ON YOUR HAND!! That's so cool! I wonder why mine are so afraid of us. Maybe they just know you really well?
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Old Wednesday 11th July 2018, 18:01   #9
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It shocked the heck out of me
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Old Thursday 19th July 2018, 17:12   #10
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In your case, sounds like he was trying to signal to your friend the feeder was low. At my parents' place, they know me to be the main caretaker, even though I'm only there on the weekends. They've even gone so far as to "kindly remind" me when I was sitting in the living room or in the kitchen where you can view the backyard and swayed back and forth to try to get my attention. Each time I thought there was enough, only to discover the feeder was indeed practically empty (seriously, they are so smart).

Now, however, I have personally experienced hostility (borderline aggression) from my current Allen's hummingbird at my place. (Somehow I got stuck with the psychotic hummer at my place—go figure.) Practically from the word "go," he's commandeered the feeder. In the beginning, I tried to shoo him away, just like he did with the other hummers, and then any time I'd go onto the patio, he'd buzz me, like he would the other hummers (feeder was full). Yes, aggressive indeed. After nearly two years together, he's still super unfriendly, but at least I don't get buzzed anymore for walking out onto my own patio. And, earlier this year, I found a dead Anna's female in the planter I attach the feeder to. So, yeah, I have an especially aggressive, uber-territorial Allen's. Lucky me.
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Old Saturday 21st July 2018, 18:27   #11
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I almost wondering if something like the Fifth Wave is going on with birds. Remember Birds are Birds. And I don't know if you saw the movie the Fifth Wave. But one phase of the aliens attacking and genociding humanity was the bird flu. Which is spread by birds. And that was actually the scariest part of that movie. Bird Flu in the Fifth Wave was way scarier than HitchCock's Birds. Because the Bird Flu was a silent and uncontrollable killer.

I saw two Cedar Waxwings the other day in a pine tree literally about five feet away from me. So I kept still and quiet. I thought I was getting privy to like Disney Animal Kingdom Show, the Cedar Waxwings were really cool looking (cooler looking than hummingbirds in my opinion) and I just watched them and they were doing some cool stuff, like eating bark or maybe some berry or something on the Pine Tree. And Ruffling their feathers and stuff -- almost parrotlike. I pretty much felt like these were the shyest birds in the world and they were probably just going to take off and doing a houdini disappear flying act in the blink of an eye.

Wrong! I sort of snoozed a little. And the second I decided to unsnooze and watch the birds again they were two inches away from my face! Cedar Waxwings. They basically looked like bullet projectiles coming right at my head! I actually shouted, like AH! And the birds whizzed past me. I was sitting on a park bench under a roof. So I thought that was weird. Even as the birds came at me, I heard them almost say like a "screw you!" like chirp as they went past me. I literally thought these birds tried to attack me. Out of premeditation or spur of the moment malevolence.

Besides that I have seen some bizarre bird behaviour lately. So nothing would surprise me. I saw two robins fighting on the ground like it was Ultimate Fighter championship. Like hey, I'll Break your knee caps! Hey I will put you against the cage and wail on you! What's weird the robins would fight and then periodically look up at me wondering if I was going to break it up! Like I was some recess coach who was obligated to break up a fight. Well I actually did! Then when I did I saw the Robin that got wailed on, on the ground huffing and panting. And the other robin went up to a tree. But then kept bouncing around from tree to tree and constantly watching me.

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Old Tuesday 31st July 2018, 17:21   #12
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Cool Hummies rule the world

We've had hummers buzz just about anyone who walks onto our deck near the feeder. The hummers are aggressive with each other, fighting for dominion over the land, and I think we're just part of the equation. I've never had one actually attack but they seem to come pretty close. They are especially "buzzy" if we're wearing a red shirt or hat. I do believe they know we fill the feeder because both my husband and I have had ones fly right over and eat while we're holding it in our hand!

Now I can't absolutely guarantee it's the same bird, but we've had one large male Annas who has hung around for about 10 years. We call him Big Red or Biggie Smalls. One year I had taken down the feeders in the late fall to clean them and put away for the winter. This one large male kept buzzing my kitchen window (where the feeder had been). He wouldn't go away. I tried to ignore him, but then he actually started tapping on the glass right in front of my face! I couldn't believe it! Definitely letting me know I better get that thing filled and back out again. So bowing to this superior being, I did his bidding. Since that day I have left food out all winter and that bird has just stuck around. Even though it's a pain to keep the feeders filled (and thawed) during the winter months we now have 2 or 3 male Annas who winter over at our place, so there's no going back.

In our area we only have the Annas and Rufous. When the Rufous show up in the spring they are the most aggressive attempting to "take over" the feeders from the larger Annas winter residents. I've had a dozen or more of both kinds flying around like maniacs buzzing and chirping over just one feeder. It's pure crazy! And so fun to watch and enjoy!
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Old Friday 3rd August 2018, 12:59   #13
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Originally Posted by manfred0034 View Post
I almost wondering if something like the Fifth Wave is going on with birds. Remember Birds are Birds. And I don't know if you saw the movie the Fifth Wave. But one phase of the aliens attacking and genociding humanity was the bird flu. Which is spread by birds. And that was actually the scariest part of that movie. Bird Flu in the Fifth Wave was way scarier than HitchCock's Birds. Because the Bird Flu was a silent and uncontrollable killer.

I saw two Cedar Waxwings the other day in a pine tree literally about five feet away from me. So I kept still and quiet. I thought I was getting privy to like Disney Animal Kingdom Show, the Cedar Waxwings were really cool looking (cooler looking than hummingbirds in my opinion) and I just watched them and they were doing some cool stuff, like eating bark or maybe some berry or something on the Pine Tree. And Ruffling their feathers and stuff -- almost parrotlike. I pretty much felt like these were the shyest birds in the world and they were probably just going to take off and doing a houdini disappear flying act in the blink of an eye.

Wrong! I sort of snoozed a little. And the second I decided to unsnooze and watch the birds again they were two inches away from my face! Cedar Waxwings. They basically looked like bullet projectiles coming right at my head! I actually shouted, like AH! And the birds whizzed past me. I was sitting on a park bench under a roof. So I thought that was weird. Even as the birds came at me, I heard them almost say like a "screw you!" like chirp as they went past me. I literally thought these birds tried to attack me. Out of premeditation or spur of the moment malevolence.

Besides that I have seen some bizarre bird behaviour lately. So nothing would surprise me. I saw two robins fighting on the ground like it was Ultimate Fighter championship. Like hey, I'll Break your knee caps! Hey I will put you against the cage and wail on you! What's weird the robins would fight and then periodically look up at me wondering if I was going to break it up! Like I was some recess coach who was obligated to break up a fight. Well I actually did! Then when I did I saw the Robin that got wailed on, on the ground huffing and panting. And the other robin went up to a tree. But then kept bouncing around from tree to tree and constantly watching me.


This was by FAR the funniest post I have ever read on this entire site!!! I seriously laughed until I had legit tears strolling down my face, just picturing how all this went down! Waxwings are some of my favorite birds of all time, and they DO seem so peaceful, which is why this is so hilarious, I think. And thanks to you, from now on whenever I see birds fighting, I will probably hear the UFC music in my head while they're going at it. At least now I know that I will be *expected* to referee, LOL! Thanks for sharing your stories, they really made my day!
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Old Wednesday 15th August 2018, 20:20   #14
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I've actually been attacked by Swallows too lately. As if they thought I was a hawk. I am sure this has happened to other people right? I don't understand birds and bird psychology that is why I don't really want one for a pet. I almost think the larger the bird is the more that they probably think of humans as prey, kind of the way hawks and eagles in jungles eat primates, monkeys.

I am really bad at identifying birds. I thought that a Western Kingbird was a Cuckoo, someone on here corrected me. But I could have sworn I saw a hummingbird yesterday in my state, North Dakota. But the bird was all brown. It could have been a moth. I don't know. I couldn't get any pictures of it. I don't know of any all brown hummingbirds. So I don't know what this could have been that I saw. However seen I have read your post and since I have seen the fifth wave and other incidents, I keep a hard binder with me at all times any time I am within close range of a bird. So I can put the binder over my face. To block a potential bird flyby.
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