This is a big deal.
Hummingbirds -- at least the ruby-throated variety, which is all we have here in the Eastern U.S. (I wonder why that is?) -- are so extremely territorial that they will dive-bomb each other to death before sharing a sip of nectar. Over the years, we've had a few fatalities against the window or side of the house, due to hummingbird fratricide (or sororicide, I guess). I am quite sure these are nestmates, even. I have never been fortunate enough to see a nest up close and personal, but they seem to come from the same general area. Yet, when they see each other out in the wild, they just seem to hate each other.
I have never, ever seen anything like what is depicted in this video. Not even CLOSE!
I wish I could!
And in this video, all the different species! We only have one. I'm jealous.
Every year, there is a dominant one -- a female usually -- who will eat voraciously and then alight on a nearby branch or on the top of the hook on which I hang the feeder, stalking any other hummer who dares to come near it, and she will zoom them away.
This year, the hummers arrived late in my neighborhood, and after several years of putting out five feeders, I have given up and reverted back to my practice of just hanging one on the post of the deck. The other ones I put out were on tree branches or on posts stuck directly in the ground. They were in beautiful shaded and safe spots, and encouraged lots of activity. Unfortunately, despite the fact that they were supposed to be designed to keep ants out of the feeding ports, they became nothing but ant feeders. Big, giant ants that the hummingbirds hated, and that defouled the food and made it impossible for me to keep clean.
So I'm back to the single feeder that is in the direct sun on a hook of the deck post. This is the location I've used for 25 years or so, and it has the advantage of being close to the kitchen window so that I notice it often and am reminded to clean it and refill it with fresh solution often.
I change the solution and clean the feeders at least twice a week. The hummers are not shy about letting me know, via their loud tsk-tsks and twitters, that the solution is not fresh and needs to be changed, THANK.YOU.VERY.MUCH. I love this. So as soon as I hear their complaints, I make new food if I haven't already, and clean the feeder and put it out. Within seconds, the little sweeties come back and eat -- taking their individual turns, of course. I love watching them in these moments. They drink and drink and drink -- long, delicious drinks. They love it when it's clean.
Speaking of feeding solution, if you feed the hummingbirds, I hope you are not using that commercial crap that has red food coloring in it. Making the nectar is so easy and cheap, there is really no reason to use the stuff that has dye in it which could be harmful to the birds.
Here is the super-simple recipe for hummingbird food:
Use one part white sugar to four parts fresh water. Mix it together and bring it to a boil for one to two minutes. Let it cool and pour into a clean hummingbird feeder.
Here are some more tips from Audubon about hummingbird care and feeding, and things to avoid.
And here is a video reminder (sorry, embedding is disabled on this, but it's definitely worth a watch) to give your yard birds some water, in all kinds of depths and all kinds of vessels. A very shallow pool is necessary for weeny little birds like hummingbirds.
And if you haven't had quite enough hummingbird videos for one day, do you know about the Phoebe Hummingbird Nest Cam?
I've been head over heels in love with the hummingbird for four years now.