Do Hummingbirds Ever Attack Humans?
It may seem strange, but it’s not an unreasonable ask; do hummingbirds attack humans? Hummingbirds seem like cute little birds to most people, but don’t let their appearance fool you! We’ll discuss hummingbird aggression and if they attack people now.
Are Hummingbirds Aggressive?
Yes, sometimes hummingbirds are aggressive. However, they’re usually aggressive toward each other. Hummingbirds are solitary creatures with defined territories that they vehemently defend.
Males claim about a quarter of an acre based on food and water availability. Male hummingbirds are so aggressive that they’ll even attack fake male hummingbird decoys. Females center their territories around their nests.
Females are also aggressive toward males in their area. That’s because the males are brightly colored, and this may attract predators that will ruin her nest. However, female hummingbirds benefit from a male’s propensity to chase off other males because it means she only has to deal with one brightly colored bird.
If you like hummingbird feeders, keep multiple around your home so that one hummingbird doesn’t claim the food source and scare other birds off. While hummingbirds will feed from the same feeder at the same time if food is scarce, they don’t like doing it.
Do Hummingbirds Ever Attack Humans?
No, hummingbirds hardly ever attack humans. However, like most things, it’s not possible to say that hummingbirds never attack humans. Even if a hummingbird is attacking a person, they’re too small to do any real damage, and their bills are about as strong as a drinking straw.
Most of the time when a hummingbird seems to attack a person, it’s because they’re demanding food. Hummingbirds can be incredibly brave because they’re so fast. This means that they will get in someone’s face and make a lot of noise if they think it’ll get them a meal.
Hummingbirds are smart, and they remember which humans fill their feeders. This means that they will behave differently toward the owner of their feeder as opposed to a random passerby. They will also return to the same feeder for years if it isn’t moved and kept well stocked.
Hummingbirds are also attracted to the color red and may boldly inspect a person who dons red clothing or jewelry. For example, if you’re hiking with a red hat on, a hummingbird may come within inches of your head and face so it can formulate an opinion about you. Once it realizes you’re neither food nor an enemy, it will continue on its way.
Do Hummingbirds Attack Other Species?
Yes, sometimes hummingbirds will attack other species. They will go after birds of prey with gusto.
Examples of birds of prey that prove threatening to hummingbirds include hawks, owls, bluejays, and crows. They’ll also try and scare off other predators like cats, squirrels, chipmunks, and snakes.
Surprisingly, hummingbirds fall victim to Chinese mantises. That’s because they don’t recognize them as a predator since they’re an invasive species. As a result, it’s easy for a Chinese mantis to ambush a hummingbird and make a meal out of it.
The display a male hummingbird puts on when trying to impress a mate is the same tactic used to attack intruders. A male hummingbird will zip straight into the air about 60 feet then dive bomb their target in an almost perfect linear descent. As they’re doing this, they let out a whistle.
This behavior is noticeable to any bystanders in the area. If you see a hummingbird behaving like this, don’t get in its way.
Which Hummingbird Is the Most Aggressive?
The ruby-throated hummingbird is the most aggressive species of hummingbird. These birds are the only breeding hummingbird species in the northeastern United States. Their delicate pea-sized eggs are usually cradled in a nest made out of spiderwebs, and it is protecting this nest that drives most female ruby-throated hummingbirds into an aggressive rage.
Ruby-throated hummingbirds undergo huge migrations. During the height of the summer, they can be found as far north as North Dakota and Maine. By the height of winter, they’ve traveled back down to southern Mexico through Costa Rica.
Because they travel so far, once they reach their breeding grounds, they’re especially territorial. They want to ensure that they have the proper food supplies they need to stay healthy enough to endure the long travel back south. While traveling, ruby-throated hummingbirds also defend the food they’re using during their migration so that they stay healthy enough to continue migrating.
Male ruby-throated hummingbirds fiercely protect their territories and will resort to physical violence against other males if warnings aren’t a good enough deterrent. While these battles don’t usually result in maiming or death, feathers are often lost. By the end of a breeding season, ruby-throated males sometimes look disheveled from the feathers they lost fighting.
Detailing the Second Most Aggressive Hummingbird
The second most aggressive hummingbird species is the rufous hummingbird. This bird breeds in the northwestern United States in places like Oregon and Washington. It is often spotted causing loud fights at backyard hummingbird feeders.
The rufous hummingbird mostly travels along the West Coast, but it’s the hummingbird that is most likely to veer from its usual path. Sometimes, they’re seen as far away as the Gulf Coast. Some travel from Alaska to Mexico which is a round trip distance of over 4000 miles.
Like the ruby-throated hummingbirds, the rufous hummingbirds are extra aggressive because they undergo monumental migrations. Because accessible sources of food are so vital to a hummingbird that travels so far, they’ll even bully other pollinators like wasps and bees.
Because rufous hummingbirds are more visible than other bird species, they’re often the ones spotted harassing other birds by birdwatchers. This specific species also fans its tail when it’s displaying aggression which makes it seem even more ornery to onlookers.
Female rufous hummingbirds are aggressive for the same reasons as other species of hummingbirds. They can be extra aggressive by hummingbird standards because they only raise a single brood every year. This drives them harder to get it right.