Are Hummingbirds Territorial Around Feeders? You Bet!

are hummingbirds territorial around feeders

Hummingbirds are very protective of their territory. In the wild their territory can range over a quarter of an acre so it’s no surprise that you may find that they do not live well together in your yard.

They will show aggression towards other birds particularly around their nests and feeders.

Hummingbirds In Your Yard

You cannot stop hummingbirds from showing aggression towards one another. They are naturally solitary birds who do not live well together as part of a group. Even after mating has taken place the male will not hang around and will leave the female to do all the work. Understanding their need for isolation can help you control any territorial behavior in your yard. If you have a smaller yard you may experience problems if you have a large number of hummingbird visitors, but there are always things you can try.

Most aggressive behavior by hummingbirds is designed to simply scare the other bird away. This involves making loud noises and potentially swooping down onto them. As a last resort they will fight and this can sometimes result in one bird being injured or even killed.

So just how can you stop hummingbirds from being territorial around feeders?

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Why Layout Is Key

Hummingbirds like space and the more space you give them the less territorial they will become. Obviously it helps to have a large yard but if you want to prevent any territorial behavior you need to be realistic about how many hummingbirds will live happily in your yard.

Many people like to have more than one feeder out at a time. This is great because when the hummingbirds all come down to feed it really is an amazing and enjoyable sight to see. If the feeders are too close together, however, the birds may not like it.

If one hummingbird feels that another is stealing the food in their territory they are likely to attack. If they do, never try to interfere as you could scare all the birds away and potentially harm them too.

Hummingbirds will normally come to your yard to breed as well as to feed. If you prepare your yard well in advance you can at best control their territorial nature.


The female hummingbird will always protect the nest and her young. You cannot control where they set up their nests so try to have plenty of areas around your yard which are suitable for them to choose as their nesting area. In doing this you can try to keep the nests apart so they do not continually attack one another.


One of the reasons that a hummingbird will decide where to build its nest is the close proximity of food. If several nests are all in the same area and they have to share one feeder this could cause a problem.

When you first set up your yard you will obviously not know where hummingbirds will build their nests so try to be prepared so that you can act when they arrive.

  • If you have just one feeder you may experience issues so try to have more than one. It’s best to have several small feeders dotted around the yard than one large feeder which may lead to problems.
  • Once the hummingbirds have built their nests, if you notice any form of aggression when feeding, move one of your feeders closer to their nesting area. If you have more than one nest in your yard try if you can have one feeder per nest. You can even use windbreaks, fences and hedges to separate your yard and hide feeders from other birds.
  • Another tip is to simply place all your feeders in the same place. This makes it very difficult for one hummingbird to protect one feeder and you may find they all share. If you do this make sure that all feeders are well topped up with nectar at all times. If one feeder is empty there is more likely to be hummingbird arguments over the ones which are full.
  • When you prepare your yard add plenty of flowers which are high in nectar. This means there are other places for the birds to feed and less need for them all to use your feeder.

What hummingbirds lack in size they certainly make up for in personality. When they come to visit you, you want to be able to sit back and enjoy your time with them and not feel that you are constantly witnessing fights. Watching the birds and their behavior will help you identify which of the birds appears to be the most territorial and which feeder or feeders he is trying to protect.

Once you have worked this out you can adjust the layout of your yard so that he can happily protect the feeder in his own area and the other birds can all feed in peace.

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