Do Hummingbirds Attack Humans?


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When most of us think of hummingbirds, we tend to think of them as very sweet, harmless – even a little strange! However, for some of us, hummingbirds can be quite the intimidating little animal. They tend to get very close to us, be it flying around us, or getting right up to our faces. So, is that a sign of aggression? Is the hummingbird trying to tell you to keep it as a pet? Are hummingbirds attacking us? 

No, hummingbirds won’t attack humans. However, there are plenty of reasons for hummingbirds to get close to our faces. It can be seen as a means of aggression in some rare circumstances, but there really is nothing to worry about as long as you know how to handle the situation. 

Why do hummingbirds get so close to humans? 

Hummingbirds are naturally very inquisitive – they want to know who you are, and if you’re edible. Hummingbirds are always on the hunt for food thanks to their incredible caloric deficit. If you notice a hummingbird flying up close to you, it could be that you are wearing bright colors, or are simply ‘new’ to them – it may also be that a hummingbird is coming close to you because it recognizes you. 

Hummingbirds have fantastic memories and can quickly become accustomed to those who feed them. Therefore, if you are used to seeing hummingbirds in your garden, then the chances are that the hummingbirds recognize you too. 

In some cases, it may be that a hummingbird is expecting food from you. If you’ve not topped up the hummingbird feeder for a while, it could be that they are hungry and are trying to train you!

However, hummingbirds will, in some rare cases, get very close to us if they feel threatened. If you are walking near their nests, or too close to their scarce food source, they may show signs of agitation. That said, they are more often than not just being friendly – hummingbirds mean no harm.

Given their size, they are not much of a threat to us! That being said, you should never try to retaliate against a hummingbird. Remember that – given their size – they have to be somewhat aggressive when they feel threatened. They do not have many other options and it is by no means an insult to you!

Male hummingbirds are, surprisingly, quite aggressive – despite their small stature. However, it’s more likely that male birds will try to fight each other, rather than anything too much larger than themselves. However, if they feel scared enough, a hummingbird will do what it can to ward you away – it’s worth taking the hint.

What should I do if a hummingbird gets close to me? 

The best course of action is to simply avoid causing a scene – carefully walk away – though in some cases, you may be able to gently waft them. However, do not try to grab it, pet it, or hold it as you risk injuring the bird and causing it a lot of panic. 

If hummingbirds are coming towards you frequently, and mostly in the same areas of your yard, then chances are that they are trying to protect their nest. If that is the case, then try to avoid walking in that area if you can. If not, then rest assured that the birds will only be there for a few weeks before moving on. Once the hummingbird has realized that you are not a threat, they will leave you alone. 

On the other hand, if a hummingbird just happens to come across you, then the chances are that it is simply curious and you have piqued its interest. Therefore, you should simply leave it be. You could even try to hold out a hummingbird feeder if you want to see it up close, but remember not to make sudden movements.

Can a hummingbird eat out of my hand?

Yes – in some cases, providing you are patient, you can have hummingbirds happily eating out of your hands. However, you will need to take time to sit in your garden to let the birds get used to your presence. 

You could set up a routine when you sit out with them around the same time each day. You can then slowly progress to holding their hummingbird feeder, gradually earning their trust as you go.

This process will take a lot of time and patience. Therefore, it’s never a good idea to make sudden movements that could be seen as aggression. Provided you are welcoming hummingbirds to your garden with plenty of bright blooms and interesting, tasty treats in a feeder, there are no reasons why these birds will ever want to avoid you.

Do hummingbirds attack other animals?

Yes – oddly enough, the average hummingbird may choose to drive away other birds or animals that it feels are encroaching on its food or its flower feeding. They are amazingly territorial creatures – meaning they will always be willing to put up a fight or show their weaponry if it feels someone (or something) is going to steal theirh food!

You should never have to worry too much about this behavior unless you notice hummingbirds actually driving away other wild visitors to your garden. If this is the case, it may simply be worth trying to avoid feeding your birds directly! 

However, that doesn’t mean you should stop filling your garden with flowers that hummingbirds love! There are plenty of bright, beautiful blooms that will readily welcome a variety of pollinators and curious critters – and they will all learn to adjust to hummingbirds in your yard over time.

You don’t have to worry about hummingbirds eating butterflies in your garden, either. If they feel threatened, they will warn other creatures away and they normally won’t have to do so more than once.

About The Author
Robert has been an avid birdwatcher pretty much his entire life. Living in the suburbs he does his best to bring wild birds into his backyard. He currently has 13+ bird feeders in his yard and also raises and races homing pigeons. Robert writes part-time for Wild Yards, mostly about the subject he cares most about - birds.

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