Search of the Week: “it is september why am i only getting female hummingbirds at my feeders…”

In juvenile plumage, young male hummingbirds like this Ruby-throated usually look a lot like their mothers. They also seem to leave the nest with chips on their shoulders.

In juvenile plumage, young male hummingbirds like this Ruby-throated usually look a lot like their mothers. They also seem to leave the nest with chips on their shoulders.

The full search was: “it is september why am i only getting female hummingbirds at my feeders and she is very aggressive”

By September, most of the migratory hummingbirds remaining at northern latitudes will be young birds of both sexes, which look like adult females except for variable amounts of pale fringing on the iridescent feathers of their backs and heads (plus a few other subtle differences, depending on species). Young males often show lines of dark spots on the throat, a pattern hummingbirders call “five-o’clock shadow.” Some young males will show bright flashes of color in their gorgets as adult feathers replace drab juvenile ones.

Though females of any age can be very aggressive and territorial, especially in migration, it’s the young males that seem to be the biggest troublemakers (as though they think they have something to prove). As long as there are still good numbers of hummingbirds around, expect the screeching, chasing, grappling, and chest-bumping to continue.

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One thought on “Search of the Week: “it is september why am i only getting female hummingbirds at my feeders…”

  1. Hi Sheri…

    Your post certainly confirms the overall theme of my last three posts on hummingbirds. I have a particular female who holds her own against all comers, male or female but she actually shows no aggression at all when not taunted.

    As you also mentioned, I have had for sometime an extremely aggressive adolescent male who has pretty much ruled the feeder except for the fore mentioned female who is allowed to come and go as she pleases. Oddly enough, this past week when I did a post on the young male believe it or not the next morning he was gone and an even more aggressive adult male had taken over. The young male has never returned so he adult male must have really given him the once over.

    I don’t have but a few visitors at my feeder and love spending time photographing them from time to time but the aggressive behavior from the dominant hummer can spoil the best laid of photographic plans. :)

    Here’s a link to my last post regarding the adolescent male preceded by a post on the female and another on her feeder standoff against an aggressive adult male.

    The Adolescent Male – You Da’ Man

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