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Birds--General/Hummingbirds divebombing puppy

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Hello!

We have a bizarre little shrub in the backyard that has tons of bright red, tubular-type flowers every summer. Needless to say, it's a big hummingbird attractant.

Our puppy started using that bush as his potty-spot, marking the tree over the course of the winter (we got him in the late fall). Now, he's getting dive-bombed by hummingbirds every time he tries to go out, and I'm not sure how to handle this. Is it that he's near "their" bush, or could it be his red county dog license tag? (I'm highly doubting that, but figure it's worth mentioning.) I've tried encouraging him to potty elsewhere, but he's adamant about using that bush, to the point he'll creep over and yelp as they're buzzing him, and book it back to me, but will -continue- to use it. I'm at a loss... do I need to worry about them hurting him? (I know it didn't feel great when they'd buzz my red bandanas!)

Answer
Two possibilities: During breeding season (spring/summer) hummingbirds get very defensive of a food source. As you suggested, it could be this bush 'belongs' to this hummingbird and he is driving away anything that gets near it (I'm assuming it's a male bird).  Or some hummingbirds use aerial dive-bombing motions as displays to attract a female.  Whichever it is, I predict it will stop once breeding season is over, which, depending on where you live, may be very short...several weeks.  I see no way they could hurt the puppy in the meantime!  

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Robin Keister

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I can answer questions about bird identification, avian physiology, avian conservation, avian genetics, bird song and music, and injured/ill/orphaned bird rehabilitation. I am not trained as a veterinarian and therefore can NOT answer questions about companion/pet bird injuries or diseases.

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