Asked on Aug 18, 2013

How far apart should I place my hummingbird feeders?

Donna J
by Donna J

Over the years I have had several hummingbird feeder s in my backyard during the summer months. During the past week I have noticed about 3 different species in my yard. They have been in a constant aerial battle. So constant that I have to leave the area to them in fear of them diving into my face. They are so fast. I have 4 feeders about 20 feet apart. I am thinking of moving one or two of them. There is one bird (a Ruby throat) who sits on a nearby hibiscus branch to protect his feeder. I am afraid that one day I'll find a dead bird on my porch. Any ideas?

  20 answers
  • What a nice problem to have. One would think that 20 feet was good enough but obviously it appears not to be. Why not take 2 of them and put them in compeletely different areas of your yard to keep them from scrapping.
  • Barb Rosen Barb Rosen on Aug 19, 2013
    Many hummingbirds, especially the males, are territorial and become aggressive when they feel their "space" is invaded. Add more feeders in one area or space them on different sides of the house out of sight of each other. Here's some info about it
  • White Oak Studio Designs White Oak Studio Designs on Aug 19, 2013
    Hummingbirds do not want the competition of another hummingbird in their territory. We only put up one feeder. Some people recommend if you do put up more than one, put them on opposite sides of the house to combat this territory thing.
  • Bobby Barbara Smith Bobby Barbara Smith on Aug 19, 2013
    The more feeders you hang, the more hummers you will have. It's their nature to guard the food source. I have six hanging under my carport. They come in droves with a few trying to claim all six. They can't guard all six, so at some point they have to set & eat :) Our Red birds do the same at the sun flower seed feeders. They fight & fuss, it's part of nature, and we are lucky enough to observe it.
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Aug 19, 2013
    The question of hummingbird feeder spacing came up in a question to the National Zoo's Migratory Bird Center. Their response was, "There are two schools of thought on this, one is to space your feeders around your yard/house so that they are out of sight of each other, this allows hummers to feed without being harassed. Others say that clustering the feeders together breaks down the territoriality of the hummers and groups of them feed in peace, more or less."
    • Brenda Barton Brenda Barton on Aug 20, 2013
      @Douglas Hunt I found this to be true a few years ago myself. I enjoyed so much sitting a few feet away from one on my back patio. When I saw a couple of other ones trying to feed the first fought them off so I bought a second feeder that I hung on the other side and he still fought them. I finelly moved the other to the front porch and all was well.
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Aug 19, 2013
    I have two feeders about 4 feet apart. In an average day I will go through 4 to 6 cups of nectar. I too have "dog fights" with some birds. Here we mostly have Broadtails (which look a lot like ruby throats) we also get a few rufous. Despite the occasional squabbles they all seem to be getting to the I fill them once or twice a day. We hang out on the deck and have never had any birds bump into us despite them fly by a full speed within inches of us. They will also fly full speed through the deck railing...which is only about 4 " worth of gaps.
    • See 3 previous
    • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Aug 25, 2013
      @TJ just plain ol sugar...I buy it in 25 pound bags during the summer.
  • Donna J Donna J on Aug 19, 2013
    Thanks for the great ideas and links to the wonderful websites. I am happy to supplement the hummingbird diet by putting out the feeders. The excessive rain we have had in Georgia has not been kind to the flowering annuals so I am happy to provide a little extra food for the birds. I've taken your advice @Douglas Hunt and placed two feeders to the front of the house. I've seen no action there as yet but the fights in the backyard continues. It's all in nature and I just have to enjoy watching them.
  • Terri Jones Terri Jones on Aug 20, 2013
    Douglas had the best answer. I cluster mine. I have 12 feeders out and each one has 4 flowers for them to feed. I have so many hummingbirds that there will be one on each flower and still a bunch swarming above. They will chase each other all the time. You can't stop that. In 30 years I have never seen a hummingbird get killed or knocked out of the air. We call it the hummingbird wars when they get started. We love our hummingbirds. They are so tame they start eating out of the feeder before I get it hung up after cleaning and refreshing it. So if you love hummers like we do, hang a bunch of feeders up and enjoy the show and the buzz :-)
    • TJ TJ on Aug 25, 2013
      @Terri Jones We call them hummingbird aerial combat. One of our feeders is next to several clusters of tall prairie plants through which they dive and chase each other. Never seen one hurt and its amazing to watch.
  • Cheri Dittler Cheri Dittler on Aug 20, 2013
    ideally you should place them out of sight from each other. I do that but also have more a few feet apart for the males to battle over. the babies and females need some hidden away from the masses.
    • Judy Judy on Aug 20, 2013
      @Cheri Dittler Here it's a female who jealously guards the feeder. She perches on a nearby branch & gets really ornery if another hummer tries to feed.
  • Jill Jill on Aug 20, 2013
    Besides the two feeders I have placed on opposite sides of my home I also have many plants that bloom year round for them. I don't see too many out front where one feeder is, but in the back yard it is constant coming and going of several of them. Never a war, or a fight, they just seem to come in when the other is leaving. Most of them are females and their young.
  • Suzie Suzie on Aug 20, 2013
    since they are such dominatng lil things I found that I would save the fighting issues by putting one at each corner of the yard and then one up close in the garden by the house...they say if you have one hummer you probably have five feeders keep them happy and me totally entertained!
  • Marilyn Marilyn on Aug 20, 2013
    I have them in the front, back and sides of the house, so if they get harassed too much, they just fly over the house and feed.
  • Dogmomma Dogmomma on Aug 24, 2013
    I do the same as the other comment (front, back and sides of house) but more important in a small yard, place the feeders so the birds cannot see other feeders. Trees and hanging planters can help screen one from another.
  • Donna J Donna J on Aug 24, 2013
    Thanks everyone for your comments. Over the past week I have moved the feeders to different locations in the yard. I even placed one in the front garden. I don't spend much time in the front porch but that's ok. Once the birds are happy. Today I spent quite a lot of time on the back patio observing the birds. There are so many of them. I counted a total of three varieties. They seem to be getting along a little better since I placed three more feeders out. I'll be sad when they begin to leave in a few weeks. Enjoy the rest of the summer.
  • Marilyn Marilyn on Aug 25, 2013
    My hummys have disappeared. Do you think they have migrated already or are nesting?
    • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Aug 26, 2013
      @Marilyn They may have started their southward are about 500 miles further north than me. We normally see a taper off in the first week of sept, and then by the 3 week only a bird or two per day.
  • Donna J Donna J on Aug 25, 2013
    Not sure Marilyn. In my area it is too late for little hummers. They are still around here fighting for space in my yard. I think they have another two weeks or so before they migrate. Check your local bird watching websites. They should have more information. I'll be so sad when they leave.
  • Sugarbunny49 Sugarbunny49 on Aug 30, 2013
    I have about a dozen hummers who visit my feeders from barely dawn until after dark. Due to 3 black bears who live behind my house, I cannot place my feeders in the backyard, so I suspend 3 of them at varying heights off the gutters in the front of the house, with 2-3 feet between them. Although hummers are very territorial and known to get into arguments, I often see them in pairs, eating and then flying up to the telephone lines for a break. When they are really hungry and I'm not moving fast enough for their liking, some of the hummers dive-bomb me to speed up the action. LOL
  • Gyp9410904 Gyp9410904 on May 10, 2017

    Where are the best places to hang a feeder? Sunny? Shaded?

  • HappyinOregon HappyinOregon on Nov 08, 2022

    I live in coastal Oregon. And we have hummingbirds all winter long. In the winter I have three feeders on my back deck approximately 6 feet apart. I think because of the cold and the lack of natural food sources they tolerate the shorter distances. First thing in the morning and just before dusk we'll have 8 to 10 birds at each feeder. There is much less territorial behavior than in the spring and summer. The two feeders furthest from the house have to refilled every day because of their voracious appetites.

  • Mogie Mogie on Nov 09, 2022

    My dad had his in groups of three on each side of his house. But between each feeder about 10 feet.