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Q

My mom found a dead blue jay in her backyard near a hummingbird nest. We think the hummer was protecting her nest because we have seen her chase after the blue jays before, but never found any dead. I wanted to know if they could kill a blue jay.

My dad said it probably scared it by sneaking up behind it and making a humming sound that gave it a heart attack!? I don't agree with that "logic". How do you think it killed it? Another question I hope that you could answer is Why would a praying mantis want to hang around on my feeder and jump on a hummingbird? This probably sounds crazy, but it happened. Have you ever heard of such a thing? Thank you for any information you are able to give me.

Shannon

A Dear Shannon,

Hummingbirds can and do arttack birds as large as Blue Jays, sometimes actually chasing them away. We doubt, however, that a hummingbird could kill a Blue Jay. In addition to a lack of physical strength, there would be too much risk of damaging that precious beak the hummingbird needs for feeding.

Undoubtedly the jay wanted to eat the young hummingbirds. This would not be unusual.

You might be surprised to learn that there are a couple of published records of preying mantises catching and killing hummingbirds.

Though no North American animal or bird is specialized for catching hummingbirds, there are many casual predators.  These include roadrunners, small hawks, orioles, flycatchers, lizards, snakes, and frogs. Hummingbirds can also perish after being trapped in a spider web.

Larry & Terrie

 

 

 

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