The Most Deadly Hummingbird Predator May Be Living In Your House

Watching all types of birds enjoy your yard can be highly gratifying. Some of the most commonly seen bird varieties range from robins and blue jays to cardinals and mourning doves, and each of them has their own particular flair. Still, hummingbirds are always a favorite, and if you're a bird lover, you may work fervently to attract hummingbirds to your garden. However, your efforts might have to include protecting them from a beloved family member. Believe it or not, cats are the main predators of hummingbirds.

Drawing hummingbirds to your garden isn't terribly difficult. For starters, all you need to do is offer food and a hospitable environment. Since they eat so much, a hummingbird feeder is a must; you'll want to offer sugar water or hummingbird nectar. You can also use color and grow flowers that hummingbirds love or paint bird feeders and birdbaths bright colors. Once they begin to visit regularly, though, take precautions to keep cats away.

Cats are the top predators of hummingbirds

It might sound surprising to think that your sweet feline can be the biggest threat to your backyard friends. After all, big birds like hawks and even snakes might be your first bets. Yet cats pose the greatest danger. Both domestic and feral cats kill hummingbirds on a regular basis. Perhaps even more surprising is the fact that praying mantises and frogs are also hummingbird predators.

Cats will not only kill hummingbirds but will often bring them back to your house to show you what they did. Keep in mind, your cat isn't being evil and should never be punished for killing a hummingbird. Hunting is natural and innate for a cat. Their instinct is to kill for survival and to feed their young. Since cats see you as one of their brood and likely may not have kittens to feed, they bring back their bounty to you. While you aren't their young, you are their family. It's also worth noting that they may not always kill the birds and may bring them to you still alive but likely injured.

How to protect your hummingbirds from cats

Of course, the last thing you want is for your beloved cat to slaughter your hummingbirds, and there are some ways to prevent it from happening. One way is to keep your cat indoors, which is also a wise idea for their own protection, too. However, there will likely be times when they get out despite your best efforts. In addition, that won't help keep neighbors' cats or feral felines away, so it's best to be proactive.

The first thing to do to keep cats away from your bird feeders is to hang them high off the ground. Aim for feeders to be at least 8 feet high. Though a cat can climb, it will take longer to reach the hummingbirds, which may sense the cat climbing and gain a few extra seconds to fly away. You also want to make sure that there are no hiding places around the bird feeder. Eliminate all surfaces big enough for a cat to stake out the birds' activity. Don't add feeders near fences or ledges where cats can perch.