Hummingbird thoughts ? answer by Bob Sargent


I have read that it is not desirable to feed hummingbirds, as they become habituated to the easy food source, and they don't forage as much on plants in the wild.  This was suggested as both a potential nutritional concern for the birds and a potential pollination issue for wild plants that depend on hummers and other animals to aid in pollination.


Any thoughts on this?




This item you read is likely by someone who opposes feeding birds of all species.


My OPINION is that the author has not a clue about the lives of hummingbirds.  While hummingbirds surely do some pollination in their lives, this plays a very minor role in the grand scheme of natural pollination.  I might respectfully suggest that the primary food for hummingbirds is likely soft-bodied insects.  Like most birds, it is my opinion that hummingbirds are opportunist and will feed on nectar when available and when they desire to do so.


I hope you will believe me when I tell you that if we took down all the hummer feeders in the Americas today, it would not make one whit of difference in the lives of these tiny birds.  It would surprise some to learn that most of the hummers in their yard today will likely be gone tomorrow and replaced by a new set of birds.  This we can easily prove from daily banding at dozens of sites in many states.  Migration is well underway, so what we witness in our yards is a river of tiny winged beasts headed southward.  Look closely and you will find they all look alike.


The  basic message is that hummingbirds do not need us to do anything but protect their habitat.  We as humans assume we play a major role as nutritionist for hummingbirds.  The real truth is that other than being destroyers of habitat, we are mostly a non-factor in their lives.  My opinion (again that word opinion) is that we should understand we feed hummers because we love watching the little flycatchers when they choose to visit our yards and feeders.  Makes you wonder how they survived for uncountable generations before man first set foot in the Americas.


Have fun, keep your feeders clean, stay off of tall ladders and just enjoy the hummingbirds.


Bob Sargent

Clay, Alabama