Hummingbirds vs. Swallows

by Linette
(Battle Creek, MI)

Would Swallows scare hummingbirds off? We've had Hummingbirds at our feeder for weeks and ever since last Friday or Saturday we haven't seen any. Last Saturday there were a bunch of swallows flying around going nuts. Swooping around and sitting on the feeder hanger. I asked my neighbor if they still had Hummingbirds at their feeder and they do. How can I get my Hummingbirds back. I changed the sugar water yesterday but that hasn't helped.

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Aug 19, 2018
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Hummingbird chasing Barn Swallow NEW
by: Anonymous

(Eastern WV) Has anyone ever seen a hummingbird chasing a barn swallow in the air? That is what I observed in my yard during late July. Both the barn swallow and the hummingbird were flying at a height of about 15 to 20 feet. After some Internet research, I discovered that barn swallows often chase hummingbirds, but I could not find an instance of a hummingbird chasing a barn swallow.

I just found out this evening that hummingbirds prey upon wasps, gnats, and flies, at least according to a quiz I took on the Birdwatchers' Digest website. Perhaps the hummingbird was chasing the barn swallow in competition for food because barn swallows also prey upon flying insects. There are a considerable number of wasps' nests on the building where I live, and the wasp population always becomes diminished while the barn swallows are here.

For the last several years, barn swallows have also been nesting on the side of the building. During both this summer and last, they raised two broods in the same nest. If the hummingbird was not chasing the barn swallow in competition for flying insect prey, perhaps the motivation was purely territorial. On the other hand, perhaps the hummingbird was seeking revenge against the barn swallow for previously chasing it!

As for now, the barn swallows have departed for their migration, having been gone since early August. In the meantime, the hummingbirds are happily sipping nectar from the mimosa trees in my yard.

If barn swallows and hummingbirds do indeed compete for flying insects, perhaps this revelation solves the mystery of why I rarely see hummingbirds on the mimosas during July, yet I see quite a few in August after the barn swallows have left for their migration. Perhaps the barn swallows tend to chase the hummingbirds from the mimosas during July.

Jul 30, 2018
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AGRESSIVE BARN SWALLOWS NEW
by: Anonymous

I have just started with a small hummingbird feeder. One came next day, then 2 smaller ones. I have another feeder coming today. Yesterday, I walked out my back door and was almost hit by a hawk & 2 barn swallows!!! This morning the swallows were buzzing around my hummers, so I hung their feeder lower, closer to my building and fenced yard. Swallows will not be able to dive bomb there without getting hurt. The hummers like my little fenced area, so I think I will hang the new feeder inside there. I don't really want to see the swallows get hurt, but they need to go back to the barn & stay back there. There are 5 acres for us all to just get along.

Jun 07, 2018
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Nasty mean birds! NEW
by: Anonymous

Swallows are aggressive mean birds. They attack the hummers and any person coming anywhere near their nesting area. As soon as the baby swallows are gone, the nest will be gone, too.
I don't care if the swallows do eat mosquitos, I want my hummers back.

Jun 03, 2018
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swallows vs hummers NEW
by: Anonymous

That is the same for me. when the Swallows are near the house, the hummers mostly stay away. I have "banned" my swallows from the front of the house, where my hummers feed to the back. Seems to be a good compromise so far.

Jun 13, 2017
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Less hummingbirds due to barn swallows
by: Anonymous

We too have come to that conclusion! A group of barn swallows began to hang out on our roof trying to build a nest in the peaks of our front door roof! Even swooping atvout guests! We managed to stop the nest building, but the hummingbirds has been less and less to our feeders! We are sad because we love to see them feed! Was glad to see this post so I could figure out what was going on!

May 30, 2015
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Hummers vs swallows
by: Anonymous

My hummingbirds started to come back like they do each year, but this year I have swallows close in the area and my hummingbird are gone. I too think it's the swallows. Does anyone know for sure??

Aug 13, 2013
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hummers versus swallows
by: Anonymous

I think the same thing that they do scare them off we have one of the orange vines that always has lots of hummingbirds
this year we also had some swallows that built a nest not far from this vine Other years we have always knocked the swallows nest down but didnt this year and I havent seen any humming birds at this vine.. Last year even when it was very hot the birds were there
I still have a few visit my feeder in another part of the yard but the only difference I can see is the swallows


Jul 02, 2011
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Other suggestions
by: Susan

There is a lot we still don't know about hummingbirds. This time of year, they likely have babies to feed, so are hunting insects to feed them.

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