Why Do Hummingbirds Hover in Your Face?

Summer is the perfect time to enjoy a sunny day with hummingbirds chirping in the garden. Even by just hearing the buzzing sound of their fast-flapping wings, you already know that this bright-beautiful, bird is visiting you just asking for food.

Sometimes, they also like to hover in your faces. But do not worry, they will not bite you, though. Hence, it makes you wonder, “why do hummingbirds get so close to humans?”.

To answer all the questions spinning in your mind regarding this kind of hummingbird behavior, let’s read this article to the end!

Hummingbirds as Inquisitive Avian

What Are Hummingbirds
Source: wildbirdscoop.com

Of the nearly 18000 interesting bird species in the world, hummingbirds are ones that never escape your attention. 

Besides its striking color, their habit of hovering near your face is also quite intriguing to study.

Put aside the reasons, first, know that they are the most inquisitive avian you have ever met. His memory of a pattern, behavior, and color is keen. 

At first, you feel it is impossible because of their tiny bodies. But that is how the world’s smallest bird’s memory is.

Hummingbirds are always curious about their surroundings including humans nothing more because it is an instinctive habit to keep them alert and safe.

So, if you find hummingbirds hovering around you, it is simply because they are investigating you, observing whether you are friendly or dangerous to them.

Moreover, they like the red hues. So, do not be surprised when you wear red clothes then they immediately come to you. 

Approaching you does not mean putting you in danger or they are planning to bite you. It is simply because their favorite color seems to be strolling around the backyard and need to investigate.

How Long Do Hummingbirds Live?

Talking of hummingbirds’ lifespan will lead to many answers as it all depends on each species. However, most species of these tiny birds can live for three to five years on average.

It said so, as long as they successfully acclimate to their habitat in their first year. 

Otherwise, Hummingbirds would have died one year after hatching because they failed to adapt to their new environment.

Usually, the death of hummingbirds in their first years can be caused by erratic climate changes. 

Another reason is the shifts in flora and fauna in each region that cause them to lack food sources and starve. 

Further, massive urbanization ends up destroying the original habitat of hummingbirds.

However, some types of hummingbirds living in the tropics will experience a longer lifespan. Some of them even live ten years or more.

Hummingbirds’ Physical Characteristics

Hummingbirds Physical Characteristics
Source: familyhandyman.com

A physical characteristic that you can recognize quickly in hummingbirds is the striking coloration of the throat. 

You need to know that this bright and attractive hue is not necessarily due to the pigmentation of their feathers.

Instead, it is the luminosity of their feather arrangement. Then this color can appear brighter depending on specific habitats’ light level, angle, and moisture.

Suppose you want to take a closer look and count the feathers. 

Hummingbirds include birds with the most petite feathers than other bird species. They only have roughly 900 feathers on their bodies. 

Obviously, it is very beneficial for them because it can make their bodies lighter and easier to fly.

Additionally, hummingbirds also have smaller feet. They cannot use these legs to walk or hop. They will only use their feet for preening and itching.

How to Differentiate Between Male and Female Hummingbirds?

How to Differentiate Between Male and Female Hummingbirds
Source: tulsaworld.com

As previously mentioned, hummingbirds usually have a striking color. But did you know that it only involves male hummingbirds? While the females have more dull hues.

According to some articles, the plumage of male hummingbirds is brighter because it helps attract the females’ attention during the mating season.

Moreover, female hummingbirds tend to choose males with striking and beautiful colors because it symbolizes the vitality and health of the male.

On the other hand, female hummingbirds have dull feathers because they spend most of their lives in the nest protecting their young.

So, by using those kinds of feathers, they can minimize the possibility of predators coming to attack and protect their eggs by camouflaging with their surroundings.

Hummingbird Species

Hummingbird Species
Source: factcity.com

Of the nearly 350 hummingbird species in the US, these four are the most common you will encounter.

1. Magnificent Bird

Magnificent Bird
Source: redhillbirding.com

Magnificent hummingbirds are included in the males that have a bright color. The throat is green with a jet-black chest and purple crown.

In poor lighting, all the magnificent hues on their feather will look dark. This species is also classified as the giant hummingbird, with a body length of about 5 inches.

Meanwhile, the female version tends to have dull gray hues with a dark-long tail.

2. Blue or Ruby-Throat Hummingbirds

Blue or Ruby-Throat Hummingbirds
Source: familyhandyman.com

Just as the name suggests, they have a blue or red throat.

Unlike the male blue hummingbirds, with a dark blue tint on their neck, which makes them appear black in low light, the male ruby-throat ones have a glowing-bright red on the neck.

As for the female version, these two species both look slightly colorless. In blue-throat females, you will find a more rounded tail with gray or white at each corner.

Lately reported, Ruby-throat Hummingbirds can live for approximately seven years.

3. Anna’s Hummingbirds

Anna Hummingbirds
Source: familyhandyman.com

Anna’s Hummingbirds are classified as having a medium body. Generally, they have gray or green feathers with a red or pink head for the male and a solid color on the female’s head.

4. Rufous Hummingbirds

Rufous Hummingbirds
Source: perkypet.com

The last one is Rufous Hummingbirds. The body tends to be orange or brown to reddish and green in males. 

At the same time, the throat is red with a bit of orange on the tummy and back.

It is what distinguishes it from the females. Female hummingbirds of this type have green hues on the back with a few orange spots on their throats.

So far, Rufous Hummingbirds can live for eight years and a month.

Hummingbird Behavior

Hummingbirds Behavior
Source: medium.com

Apart from their fantastic color, unique wing-flapping buzz, and cute chirping sound, hummingbirds are precious because of some behaviors below.

Hummingbirds are Anti-Social Creature

Hummingbirds are Anti-Social Creature
Source: birdeden.com

Behind all the joy you feel over the presence of hummingbirds in your backyard, you may not think these birds are anti-social.

Obviously, hummingbirds will not like to fly in flocks, even when they are migrating. Hummingbirds will only come together; only a male and female when the breeding season arrives. 

After that, the male hummingbirds will fly back to hunt for flower nectar, while the female remains in the nest to protect her young.

This antisocialism also makes hummingbirds often fight anyone who gets close to their territory.

You can mark the territory of male hummingbirds with the many food sources. At the same time, the nest is a whole territory for females always to protect.

Indeed, there are times when you will find male hummingbirds swarming in your birdfeeders. However, it is just for getting snacks quicker than others.

The Great Eaters

The Great Eaters
Source: wikipedia.org

This fact is undeniable. Hummingbirds spend most of their lives – especially awake – looking for food. They will move from one flower to another to continue consuming the nectar.

Their strong memory and keen eyesight make it easy to recognize where they usually eat. So the hummingbirds can effortlessly return to that place at another time.

Smart Bird

Smart Bird
Source: birdsandblooms.com

Hummingbirds are classified as intelligent birds. They have a hippocampus five times larger than other bird species.

Through this ability, hummingbirds easily remember the different types of flowers they collect nectar from, identify the paths during their migration, and even know who often feeds them in the backyard.

Therefore, hummingbirds are close to humans, even though they tend to be anti-social. Some studies have found that their learning and memorizing abilities are supported by keen eyesight.

Hummingbirds can distinguish what is harmful to them and which are friendly and often feed them through visual and auditory differentiation.

They Are Aggressive too

Hummingbirds Are Aggressive too
Source: slate.com

Although Hummingbirds are tiny, they are aggressive creatures. It can be seen from its ability to fly sideways, backward, up and down, and hover in mid-air.

Moreover, hummingbirds can become even more aggressive when other males disturb their territory. 

They will fight each other when that happens. But you rarely see them hurt. Instead, Hummingbirds will only lose one or two feathers due to this war.

Besides protecting their territory from other males’ invasion, hummingbirds also show their aggressiveness to attract the attention of females during the breeding season.

Meanwhile, when they have finished mating, female hummingbirds will chase the male to get away from the nest so that no predators come near due to their striking color.

Hummingbirds are Grooming Often

Hummingbirds are Grooming Often
Source: treecareforbirds.com

Another interesting behavior that hummingbirds have is that they like grooming. They can bathe in the water many times and then do sun-bathing. 

Besides, they clean themselves of debris by using their tiny feet and the oil glands they have near the tails.

If you are a hummingbird enthusiast, providing a mini waterfall or birth bath is a powerful way to attract their attention, apart from arranging a few hummingbird feeders.

Note: Giving the bowl of the bird feeder or birdbath a red hue is the best option. Hummingbirds love red.

Why Do They Hover in Your Face?

Why Do They Hover in Your Face
Source: kennedywildbirdfood.co.uk

After identifying some hummingbirds’ behaviors, we now understand why they hover in your face so often. Here are the possibilities you have:

Hummingbirds Are Familiar to Your Coming

Hummingbirds Are Familiar to Your Coming
Source: mongabay.com

Like some of the previous points said, hummingbirds have a powerful memory. 

They can recognize their human friends well, observe your feeding habits, to record your voice so that soon can be familiar with them. 

Those are how hummingbirds remember faces then.

If they hover in your face, they are friendly with your arrival in the backyard. It does not necessarily ask you to interact. 

Instead, it is just a response to wait for what you will do next, whether you will refill the feeder.

After all, hummingbirds will not come close to all humans. They will only come to a few who like to feed them. 

Otherwise, they stay away from the dangerous ones, like their natural predators, as if they had an alarm.

They Tell You to Restock the Feed

They Tell You to Restock the Feed
Source: reddit.com

Most hummingbirds live for food. Besides liking flower nectar, they are enthusiastic about homemade nectar in your bird feeder.

When this food is out of stock, they will fly over to you and tell you the first time that the feeder needs to be restocked.

Some opinions say that the arrival of hummingbirds around you is a good sign. Apart from that, being enthusiastic about feeding hummingbirds is an enjoyable activity.

Reasons Why You See Fewer Hummingbirds at Your Feeder

Reasons Why You See Fewer Hummingbirds at Your Feeder
Source: pennlive.com

There are times when you will find lots of hummingbirds roaming your backyard, and over the next year, there will be fewer.

Don’t worry. It does not mean the hummingbird population is decreasing, though. On the other hand, there may be several things that happen to your bird feeders or else, for example:

  1. You are not making homemade nectar properly. In areas with hot or dry temperatures, the ideal recipe is to mix one-quarter cup of sugar with one cup of water.
  2. Avoid using red food coloring in the sugar mixture. Even though hummingbirds love red, apply it to the container while letting the sugar water take on its natural color.
  3. Avoid replacing sugar with honey. Honey has different content from natural nectar, and hummingbirds do not like that.
  4. Change the sugar mixture every three to five days to avoid fermentation and mold. You can do it more often in scorching temperatures above 90 degrees.
  5. Clean the bird feeder at least once a week to avoid mold sticking to the corners of the bowl. Utilize a brush to clean it. 

The use of a dishwasher is preferable to detergent. After that, dry the container first before restocking food for hummingbirds.

Are Hummingbirds Friendly to Humans, or Are They Dangerous?

Are Hummingbirds Friendly to Humans
Source: scienceofbirds.com

Those are common questions we come across. While hummingbirds tend to fight when near one another, they will not hurt humans at all.

Especially if you are one of their feeders, they seem to be good friends with you. One way they do this is by hovering in your face.

Moreover, the tiny body does not give the incredible power to hurt or even kill humans.

Minimizing Hummingbirds Aggression

Minimizing Hummingbirds Aggression
Source: nytimes.com

Minimizing the aggressiveness of hummingbirds in your backyard is superficial. Here are the two ultimate steps that you can take.

1. Set Up More Hummingbird Feeders

Set Up More Hummingbird Feeders
Source: bobvila.com

Instead of trying to isolate them from fights or drive them out of the yard, it is better to set up more hummingbird feeders.

Skip providing one large feeder container for more than one hummingbird. You are better off dividing it into several containers so that one hummingbird can eat in one container.

That way, they will not fight because they feel their territory is being taken away by other males.

2. Space the Feeder Out

Space the Feeder Out
Source: bobvila.com

After providing many bird feeders, you also need to consider the distance between them. Ensure that they are far from each other to minimize the hummingbirds’ aggressiveness.

Final Thoughts

Hummingbirds are one of the 18,000 most interesting bird species in the world. The name Hummingbird comes from the buzzing sound they make when they flap their wings rapidly.

Hummingbirds are tiny, even included as the smallest bird in the world. Besides, they have a thin beak and a body filled with beautiful colored feathers.

There are more than 300 species of hummingbirds belonging to the family Trochilidae in the US, and they are all native to North and South America.

Based on all the behaviors described above, it is pretty clear that the reason hummingbirds hover in your face is harmless. 

Instead, it signifies that they recognize you as their best feeder.

So, you do not need to worry once there are hummingbirds that fly near and hover in your face. The first thing you have to do is check whether their homemade nectar needs to be refilled or not.

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