ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Nature Notes - the Hummingbird Feeder War

Updated on November 27, 2019
Lilleyth profile image

Suzanne is a former regional magazine publisher, as well as a cooking and gardening writer. She lives in North Carolina.

There's a Fierce War Going On...

My hubby and I have been avid birdwatchers for decades. We keep the binoculars close by and are always on the lookout for a new visitor to our bird-friendly yard which includes every kind of tree, shrub or plant that is attractive to birds, butterflies, moths, bees and even wasps. We believe all things in nature work together. Our little copy of Peterson's Guide to Birds is falling apart from use. It has a life-list inside the back cover where we list the date of each visit. This year we spied a towhee, and we looked up the late date we had seen one which was in 1984. Each spring we put out the hummingbird feeders because hummers are the most fun to watch. It is amazing that they seem to arrive at almost the same day every spring. But hummers are very competitive and fiercely guard what they must believe is "their" personal feeder. Around and around they go all summer long...

There's a fierce war going on, but it's not the one you think. This is the War of the Hummingbirds, an unrelenting battle between four ruby throat hummingbirds who have fought each other at our hummingbird feeder from dawn to dusk since spring.

We think it is two mated pairs. But the males are so greedy they often will not allow the females to drink from two red plastic hummingbird feeders filled with our own homemade hummingbird feeder recipe made from half filtered water and, for the first feeding use half sugar/water because they have been on a long journey north. The next time we fill the feeder it will be with one-quarter sugar to a full bottle. The red plastic hummingbird feeder is the best one for attracting the little guys. We have been feeding hummingbirds this sugar-laden recipe for several years and they can't get enough.

We observe the war within the confines of our screen porch. One hummingbird feeder hangs just on the other side of the screen. The other, in a white pine, a few yards to the south.

Hummingbirds Fighting at Feeder

A Long, Fierce Battle Continues

The war is in it's second year. The battlefield is the air space anywhere in the vicinity of the feeders. One male, flashing his ruby throat, holds vigil in the dogwood, about midway up. He's waiting, turning his head from side to side, watching for the invaders. He warbles to himself. A warrior.

As soon as one of the other three hummers approach the porch feeder, he dives towards them, sometimes actually connecting. They climb skyward in fierce battle, circle the house and return to their stations in the nearby dogwood trees.

Today, September 21st, one lonely female hummingbird continues to visit the porch feeder. Perching in the nearby dogwood where the male usually stood watch, she preens, emitting chirps as she goes about the task.

We're wondering whether her mate was a casualty of the war, or could it be, she won?

We'll know next spring.

Stay tuned.

My Hummingbird Feeder Food Recipe

My recipe for the "nectar" that I put in my feeder is simply half water and half sugar when the hummers first appear in the spring after their long journey. We attract many hummers using this simple recipe. I reduce the sugar to a third after a couple weeks. I don't add any coloring. Just boil the water, add the sugar and stir until dissolved.

Coral Bell is known to attract hummingbirds


How to Grow Coral Bells

Easy to grow, Coral Bell (Heuchera), also known as Alumroot, is a perennial plant that favors the shade and often used in a woodland garden although they can also be grown in pots. Flower colors include white, pink, coral and red. The leaves vary in color bronze to pink and green. Hummingbirds are attracted to the color red, so keep that in mind when shopping for Heuchera. Coral Bell are hardy to USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 3. They do not require any special treatment and are easy to grow.

Other Plants that Attract Hummers

If you want to attract hummingbirds to your yard, keep in mind that hummingbirds are attracted to the color red when you choose to plant the following:

* Hummingbird Mint (Agastache)

* Cardinal Flower (Lobelia Cardinalis)

* Coral Bells (Heuchera)

* Lantana (Lantana Camara)

* Petunia

* Snapdragon

* Weigela


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)