How To Help A Dying Hummingbird? How To Comfort And Revive Them ( Care Guide )

It is not uncommon to find a stunned hummingbird by your window or a baby squeaking loudly when it falls out of the nest. Sometimes, you find the hummer in time while others lose their lives. 

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Intro Video - Backtobirds

Hummingbirds are beautiful and distinct creatures that fly at a speed you can only imagine. They flutter their wings fast, and when in trouble, they need help fast. 

So, if you find an injured hummingbird, a baby, or a suffering hummer counting the last minutes of its life, here is what you should do. 

This guide is an exclusive one to guide you on how to help a dying hummingbird, how to help a hummingbird with a broken wing, how to feed a dying hummingbird, etc. So, read on. 

How to Know If A Hummingbird Is Suffering From Sickness & Pain? ( Sick Hummingbird Behavior )

With birds, this is a major problem. They are tiny, and it’s hard to tell if they are in pain or injured. Also, if a predator injures a bird, it won’t allow you to come near it due to fear and try to fly away, which can cause further damage. 

While you may think that hummingbirds are so fast and small, who will injure them? These little creatures are also prone to accidents. They are known for their speedy wings and tiny body, which floats in the air. 

So, if you see a hummingbird sitting silently on the ground, there might be a problem. First, observe them from a distance and see if you see any abnormality in any of the wings. It might be possible that their wings are broken. 

A predator may cause bleeding. Move toward the bird slowly and see if there is any blood. If you see blood, immediately contact the nearest vet or wildlife authorities because many vets are not experienced in treating these wild birds. 

If there is no blood and the bird is laying still, take both of your hands near it and cup it in them on both sides. It is possible that the bird is only stunned. 

Related Read: What Birds lay Blue Eggs? | Identify Blue Egg Species of Birds

When hummingbirds can’t see windows or glasses, they hit them accidentally and hurt themselves. 

When you get the bird safely in your hands, the next step is to feed it and keep it in the dark box where it can recover. 

How to Improve The Health of A Sick Hummingbird?

Here are a few things you must know about a hummingbird if you want to save it. 

First, they feed continuously during the day. They are great fliers and need lots of energy for their wings. They keep feeding on nectar throughout the day. 

Also, they sleep at night like other birds and go into a mini hibernation, called torpor. They do it to save energy before they wake up and find some food first thing in the morning. 

So, if you find a hummer lying on the ground early in the morning, it is possible that it is still sleeping and fell off during the torpor. 

In such a case, locate the nest and place it back in it. 

Other than this, if you find a lying hummer in your backyard, follow the steps below.

  • Approach the bird slowly.
  • Cup them up in both your hands, so it doesn’t try to fly away at the last moment. 
  • See if it is still alive. Look for any signs of injuries. 
  • If you see disheveled feathers or a broken wing, contact a vet.
  • Till then, keep the bird in a soft towel or cloth. It should be free of lint, so the bird’s toes are safe. 
  • Sometimes, hummers look wild and exhausted when they are out of food. So, try to feed it.
  • If you have a bird feeder, insert the bird’s bill in the feeder and repeat it several times. You will see if the bird is eating or not. 
  • If you don’t have a bird feeder or nectar, make it. Add one spoon of sugar with four spoons of water. Use a syringe to feed the bird.
  • Take a box and lay a towel or cloth in it. Place the bird in it and cover it. Make sure it’s dark. Feed the bird four-five times an hour. Once the bird starts feeding, you will see it recovering.  

Related Read: How Do Birds Find Bird Feeders? | Will Birds Come To A Bird Feeder?

Remember, the first few hours are crucial for a bird’s health. Especially the first 4 hours if it is injured. 

How to Deal With An Exhausted Hummingbird?

An exhausted hummingbird is one that didn’t get enough nectar to help it fly. It is a situation which is often faced by hummers in winters when there isn’t enough food. If you see an exhausted hummer sitting silently, pick it up carefully. 

Always cup your hands around the bird so it doesn’t try to take a flight at the last moment, as it can injure itself by falling on the ground. 

To revive an exhausted hummingbird, feed him the nectar a few times every hour. You will see the bird reviving. After it has gained enough energy, you can set it free.

Lifespan of Hummingbirds

You may wonder if the bird is injured or it’s time for it to say goodbye to the world. 

Hummingbirds have a life of 3-5 years which can be shortened to 3-5 hours if they don’t get food on time. They can digest their food in 20 minutes. 

They are very efficient in this department. So, their life is cut short if they don’t get food in time. 

Causes of Hummingbird Death

No matter how fast they fly, they are still prone to predators, which may cause untimely death for these flying miracles. Some of these are discussed here-

Cats

While a hummer is fast, a cat is fragile and can easily launch itself on a feeding hummingbird. They are also agile and wait in bushes to quickly catch these birds. Thus, place the feeders at a height so cats can’t reach them. Also, place them at a safe distance from the bushes and tree branches.

Physical Transparent Objects

It is not uncommon where the hummingbirds collide against a window, a passing car, glasses, fences, etc., and get stunned. 

They shake their heads and fly away most of the time, but unfortunately, if the wounds are serious, or they break a wing or neck, they suffer death in a few hours.

Bees and Wasps

Yes, the hummingbird is bigger than a bee or a wasp, but it is not big enough to deal with the venom. A hummingbird feeder is full of nectar, and bees and wasps can’t resist it. 

They surround the bird’s feeder, and in fighting them off, a bee or wasp may attack the bird. A hummingbird may not survive the sting.  

Related Read: Do Hummingbirds Eat Bees And Wasps | Do They Eat Insects And Bugs?

Feeder

Yes, a feeder can also cause a hummingbird’s death. If several hummers feed in your backyard, it is prone to infections if an infected bird visited it recently. 

Also, if you don’t clean the feeder regularly, it can become the playing field for germs and can cause infections and diseases, which have serious repercussions for the bird.

Spiders

Spiders are smaller than hummingbirds, but they can also cause death for the hummers. The little bird can entangle itself in the spider’s web and die there due to starvation. Or worse, the spider can feed on it. 

Bad Weather

Winters are hazardous for hummingbirds as they find it hard to find food. They feed on insects for their protein diet and need lots of nectar as food several times a day. It is hard. 

In summers, they can suffer from dehydration as they are very tiny and don’t have much blood in their bodies. 

Apart from these, a mantis, snake, frogs, pesticides can also kill a hummingbird.

Related Read: Do Hummingbirds Have Predators? What Threats and Dangers Can Kill Hummingbirds?

How Do You Know When A Hummingbird Is Dying?   

It is indeed very sad to see a bird or animal go, but when it’s time, you can’t stop it. 

Sometimes, they are badly injured, and before you can help them, they leave the world. So, here are a few signs that indicate a bird’s arriving death.

  • They refuse to eat anything.
  • No matter if you try to warm them up or keep them away from any disturbing warmth, they will open up their bill and close it, repeatedly, maybe due to pain. 
  • They don’t try to fly even when they are out in the open. 
  • If they have a broken bill, they can’t eat, and a hummingbird can’t survive without food. 
  • You can feel their slow breath and open eyes, but they don’t make any move. 

How to Help A Hummingbird With A Broken Wing?

A broken wing can cause death for a hummingbird as the bird won’t fly to flowers and feeders and would die of starvation. It needs medical assistance immediately and a constant supply of food for energy. 

If you spot a hummingbird with a broken wing, follow the steps below-

  • Ready a small cardboard box with a soft cloth in it. 
  • Hold the bird gently and place it in the show box. Don’t scare the bird.
  • Make holes in the lid and cover the box.
  • Try to feed the bird with nectar, small insects, fruits, etc.
  • Contact the nearest wildlife rehabilitator and ask for instructions. 
  • Let the rehabilitator collect the bird, and it will survive.

Remember, bones may mend themselves on their own within 24 hours, but it’s better to seek medical assistance and hand the bird to responsible authorities.

Can I Keep A Hummingbird If It Is Injured?

Remember, a hummingbird is a protected wild bird, and keeping it, captivating it, breeding it, selling it, eating it, or using it in any way is illegal in several countries including, the USA and Canada. 

So, no, you cannot keep the bird to yourself. If you help it and it flies away after feeding on the nectar, pat your back. 

There are several rehabilitators who can pick up the bird in no time and help it recover if only you contact them in time.  

If it looks serious and you didn’t contact a rehabilitator in time, and the bird is killed or dies, you are to blame. 

Related Read: What Not To Feed Wild Birds? ( Harmful Foods For Wild Birds )

How to Comfort A Dying Hummingbird?

When the time has come, there is no way to save a bird, but you can make their last moments less painful. Here is how you can comfort a dying hummingbird.

  • Make soft bedding. Use a cardboard box and lay down a soft cloth or paper cutting to make it warm. 
  • Try to feed him nectar. If the bird refuses, don’t force it.
  • Place them in a warm place like a closet.     
  • Make it dark for them and place the box away from your cat, children or any noisy place. Birds prefer solitude when it’s their last time, so ensure it.

Can Hummingbirds Die in Solitude?

You can witness several birds in your backyard, but dead hummingbirds are a less common sight unless your cat proudly comes home with a dead bird in its mouth. Why? 

Why don’t you see more dead hummingbirds?

  • They are a part of the food chain, and most of the time, they are eaten by predators.
  • Birds like to spend their last moments in peace. If they are ill, they isolate themselves. If a hummingbird is ill, it will spend the day hidden in the tree or won’t come out of its torpor. Many times, they recover from their illness, but when they don’t, they decompose wherever they hide. 
  • The insects and other scavengers make them their food, and thus, you don’t see them. 

So, hummingbirds also die in solitude, and most of the time, you don’t even know that the little hole in your tree has a dead hummingbird in it.  

Conclusion

Hummingbirds are beautiful when they are happy, flying, and eating. 

It’s unfortunate to see them stunned, injured, or dying. But if these unwanted situations arise, refer to this guide, and you can help the little creatures. 

Please feel free to make this guide even better if you have something to add.