hummingbirds, why same location in tree?

Asked July 3, 2016, 9:59 AM EDT

For many days I have been seeing RTs descend to the flowers
out of the maple, then return into it
(always at same height in maple)
Sometimes I see one RT, sometimes more.

Perhaps second brood of eggs now (July 3, Central FL) ?

Do juveniles follow mother around for a time,
including when there are new eggs to tend?

Seminole County Florida

9 Responses

Many questions so let's get to them!

Hummingbirds will often develop a favorite perch where they will rest in between feeding forays OR to serve as a perch where they will guard "their" food source from interlopers. I suspect that this is more likely a resting perch - if she had a nest in the tree she'd return to the nest.

In your part of Florida Ruby-throats are double brooded. I would suspect that a female with a second brood would be staying pretty close to the nest at this time OR the 2nd brood could even be fledged (flying) already. After fledging the female (who does all the incubating and care of the young) will continue to feed and tend to the young 'uns for only 4 to 7 days. After about a week of being able to fly, the young are on their own. In fact the females leave the breeding grounds and head south several days to a couple of weeks before the young of the year head south. The young simply "know" where to go in migration, nobody leads them. While the resources don't indicate this, I suspect that a female wouldn't start a second brook until she is through tending the first round of fledglings.

I hope this answers your questions. Please let me know if you have any follow up questions! Chuck

That is great information, thank you for it. .`, .`, "After about a week of being able to fly, the young are on their own." Do they then necessarily distance themselves from the mother? She from them? (Let's think of first brood for that question, to remove factor of migration.) .`, .`, Does the mother migrate as soon as she finishes tending to second brood fledglings?

As long as there is adequate food, the young will probably stay around in the general area, but not necessarily "accompanying" the mother. If food supplies are limited the adult female may drive the young one's off to preserve the food for the next set of fledglings. In northern climates Ruby-throats are generally single brooded so they may well stay together somewhat after the first week of fledging. The exact relationship between the adult female and her offspring post fledging is poorly studied.

The adult female probably does not migrate immediately upon finishing tending the second brood (or even the first brood in northern climates). The urge to migrate is often based on day length, availability of weather conditions (wind) that are conducive to migrating, etc. In southern latitudes, peak migration will occur in early September so an adult female may stay in the area for several weeks after the last brood. During this time the female is molting her body feathers (flight feather molt occurs after migration) and also getting herself into condition to migrate.

Report : today 7/18 again I saw two simultaneously (not from /to maple). ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Unrelated occurrence, months ago : Hummingbird approached passion flower, carpenter bee on it, bird diverted to fleeing bee, I heard a brief crackling from their mutual point of approx two feet from flower, no longer saw bee. As I recall, bird immediately returned to flower. In that scenario, could bird have swallowed carpenter bee?

You may also see more as migration kicks up. It's hard to tell if these are part of a family group or not.

The noise you heard was undoubtedly the hummingbird scolding the bee. Since a carpenter bee is roughly as big around as a hummingbirds's neck, there is no way that a hummingbird (at least a Ruby-throat) could swallow a carpenter bee. The insects hummers eat are much much smaller - gnat size!

Do unrelateds sometimes appear together, not reacting to presence of another? Perhaps hummingbirds usually are unaggressive when young? --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Noise sounded like insect wings. Before I thought of the possibility of eating, I was thinking that it was caused by conftact between the two critters.

Hummingbirds have a very high pitched chatter that they will often vocalize when interacting with each other and other creatures.

It is not at all uncommon for non-related hummingbirds to peacefully coexist in the same area. Females are far less aggressive than males and immature males are often the most aggressive of all when it comes to Ruby-throats. In other species in the western US the adult males can become VERY aggressive towards all other hummers.

October -- a third brood, it seems. Again two young ones pal-ing around together (Oct 19). Daily multiple appearances by one at a time.

At this time of year it may be difficult to separate young of the year from migrants. 3rd broods are not common, but if they are going to happen, it would be in the deep south. Enjoy!!!!