Hummingbirds face many dangers in their everyday lives while eating, flying, or perching. When you are setting up your yard landscape to be “hummingbird friendly”, always keep thinking of ways to protect them. Danger can come in many forms. One may be from one of their own kind who feels his territory has been invaded.
Extreme weather is always a concern; a heavy frost is as potentially fatal as severe heat and drought (due to dehydration).
Strong winds can blow hummingbirds into hard, blunt or sharp objects, so it's a good idea to provide wind protection by the types of trees and shrubs you plant in your lawn. A heavy downpour can also cause problems, as it can force a hummingbird into water and drown them.
Physical objects can pose a danger. Hummingbirds sometimes accidentally fly into any number of things: windows, trees, cars, etc. Often they're just stunned and will get up and fly away. Other times they may need first-aid.
Predators impose grave dangers too. Domestic cats are a huge problem. Because hummingbirds zip and dart around, cats enjoy the game of stalking, catching and killing them. Even frogs, fish, snakes and lizards can snag a low-flying hummingbird.
Other dangers include larger, aggressive birds who will kill and eat smaller birds, squirrels who raid the bird feeders or insects who invade hummingbird feeders. Squirrels, chipmunks, blue jays and crows will eat hummingbird eggs and babies.
Lastly, do not use chemical pesticides in your yard. Hummingbirds feed on insects for protein, and can accidentally ingest poisoned ones. Best to let hummingbirds control the bug problem. And do not spray your flowers with pesticides; hummingbirds will be certain to ingest it when they gather nectar from the blossoms.
Here are some ways of protecting hummingbirds to resolve these problematic situations, making your bird feeders one of the most popular and most frequented in the neighborhood – resulting in hours of bird watching fun for you and your family.
Deterring Aggressive Birds
Some hummingbirds can be especially territorial. A dominant male can overpower a single feeder to defend his food supply. Try using a feeder that has large plastic flowers disguising each feeding port.
These may block the dominant hummingbird's view of other birds. Another solution for aggressive hummingbirds is to place several feeders close together. The aggressive hummingbird will then not be able to defend all of the feeders, in turn, allowing other fellow hummingbirds to come and drink as well!
Sometimes hummingbirds are not territorial at all. If yours aren't, consider yourself lucky; someone has obviously taught them to share. In some instances you may see as many as 10 or more hummingbirds feeding from a single feeder at the same time.
Predatory birds such as hawks, on the other hand, are unwelcomed guests who threaten to harm your hummingbirds. It's important to understand that this is part of nature. One solution, however, is to take down your hummingbird feeders for a few days. The predatory bird should realize there is no longer a food source available, and move on.
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