Friday, November 26, 2010

Allen's Hummingbirds Staking Territory

Brisk days have ratcheted up the territorial behavior of the Allen's hummingbirds. Each feeder has its own despot determined to possess its liquid energy.

We have had a complete change over in most of our backyard Allen's hummingbird population. "A," who nested in the yard for several years and was hatched here, has either moved on or has vanished (A's nest). Three of the four feeders are now the domains of resident males. That means that females are battling over one feeder. I'm afraid that we may see fewer nests this coming spring, because the females are competing with the males for resources. 

For years we rarely saw males, now they are the dominate characters.

Fik is entering his third winter. He has been the dominant male since 2009. (Fik as father; Rescuing Fik) He is growing older and sometimes I worry about his sons pushing him out of his territory. Fik was so busy breeding this spring that by summer he was nearly worn out.

Bif and Canyon, his two sons were both hatched in 2009. This is Canyon at his feeder.

The weather has been warm then cold, warm and then cold. Already Bif has been performing breeding displays. If the females are convinced to breed this early, they may lose nests to erratic weather and rainstorms. Last year, we documented the first successful nest in North America. (DR's Feb. nest). Unfortunately other early nestings were not successful. I'm hoping that the weather stays consistent so that the females will resist starting their families too early and losing their chicks to an unpredictable climate.

1 comment:

Cindy said...

I'm amazed that you are able to distinguish so many individuals. I know it sounds trite, but to me they all look alike. This year, I have been able to follow a certain particular mockingbird, but only because it has a deformed beak. Other than that, I can't tell one from the other!