[Tweeters] Anna's Humming bird altruistic or maternal behavior in cold

dgrainger at birdsbydave.com dgrainger at birdsbydave.com
Tue Dec 28 12:44:02 PST 2021

Reported to me by a friend who is also in Port Townsend, the following

I received five photos and a message via e-mail Dec 28. The photos have
a date in metadata that shows December 28, today. In the first image
there is an adult Anna's hovering but in close contact with a young
adult male who has his beak inserted into a feeding port. My contact
said that bird had not been moving and remained so when the female
landed on him. She apparently stayed, maintaining position by wing
power. The following images are a sequence which started when a third
bird, another male made a territorial "buzz" causing the two on the
feeder to flutter to the ground. When down, the female continued to
press against the younger bird for more than a minute while remaining on
the ground, then both flew, together.

I have never seen such action; here is what I speculate was going on. I
would appreciate any comments; I know there are many on Tweeters that
know a lot more about hummers than I do!

Is it possible that the young male was a late season second-breeding
offspring of the hovering female, and is it possible that there is a
protective motherly instinct operative at least for a short time after
independence of the young birds, which manifested in this case by the
female warming up and encouraging the younger bird?

If anyone would like the images, please email (PM). I will ask
permission from the photog who made them.

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