Hummingbird Tips

Hummingbirds in the Garden




Pictures are of hummingbird fledlings, mother hummingbird sitting on her nest, hummingbirds at feeders and flowers, and a sample of a beautiful hummingbird nest. If you click twice on the picture of the hummingbird flying you will see its open beak and that it is charging another hummingbird.

Tips for Adult Hummingbirds in Trouble

      Monique F. Rea Copyright 2010


  • Young Hummingbirds on ground generally need to be rescued unless nest is located.  Most often sparrows & finches can be placed away from danger and placed close to where found and the parent will find and care for them.  It’s best to call your local rehabber, wildlife rescue organization or animal shelter for more specific advice for specific circumstances.
  • Adult Hummingbirds trapped in garage or home are very disoriented and it presents a danger to them for lack of food and exhaustion.  Try to attract them with a hummingbird feeder near an exit to outside.  In case of high ceilings use a broom & attach a soft towel.  Reach up to them in order for them to cling to it then bring it down slowly. Take the hummer outside and carefully release from towel.  They don’t fly at night or in the dark.  Call for assistance if you need more advice.
  • Adult Hummingbirds found on the ground are there for a variety of circumstances.  #1.Collision with a window.  Still upright and breathing place in safe area, offer sugar water and watch for its recovery which could take 20, 30 mins. or maybe an hour until they get their composure. If you have brought inside to keep safe from predators release back outside in daylight. Remember if you needed to bring hummer inside be sure to have it in a safe covered quiet location until ready to release back outside.  #2. If one has landed in a puddle of water and soaked, wet feathers prevent it from flying.  Bring in and gently dry off with towel, keep warm & out of drafts.  Offer sugar water.  Keep in a warm safe, quiet place, a box with cover & allow air flow until it has recovered (20-30mins.)  Line the container with clean rag or paper towel.  Run a twig through a box for perching while recovering.  Remember hummingbirds eat frequently. While waiting for recovery from the mishap make sure the sugar water (see recipe) is available at all times through an eye dropper or small plastic bottle cap.  When it recovers release it outside during daylight. If found after dusk and dark wait until early dawn next morning to release.  They do not fly at night. 


  • Sugar water recipe: 1 part white granulated sugar to 4 parts distilled water and simmer 20 minutes then let cool
  • Call your local rehabber or wildlife rescue organization for further assistance.

Be sure to check for additional notes regarding lost hummingbird nestlings or fledglings………under “Tips for Lost Hummingbirds”

See hummingbirds nesting and raising their babies live.  

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These are three live cams streaming one from Irvine, one from Aliso Viejo and one from La Verne, CA.

Hummingbird Notes



DEFINITION:  Fledgling:  is the stage of most bird’s life that is one of the most precarious.  Hasn’t really developed flying skills, prematurely may have left the nest, parent cannot carry back to the nest.  They are on the ground and vulnerable to predators.  They are fully feathered, clumsy and haven’t learned to be afraid.

 IMPORTANT:  When in doubt if the mother appears to not have returned to the nest, follow these instructions before you remove and take it to a rescue facility

Take a seat and make yourself comfortable.  Observe and focus on the nest without leaving the area for a minimum of 40-45 mins.  The average feeding schedule of the female hummingbird is every 15-20 mins. within each hour (sometimes a little longer).  If the mother has not returned after the 45 mins, then take it to a rehab facility.  You can call the rescue facility to prepare them in case it will be necessary to rescue the baby hummingbird.  If you confirm the mother has had a mishap, please get the baby(s) to a rehab center as soon as possible.

Tips for hatchling,nestling or lost fledgling hummingbirds




Tips and suggestions for lost hummingbirds

If a branch has been trimmed with a nest and babies:  Re-attach to another branch in close proximity.  Secure it and be sure it’s under protective cover from weather and predators as best you can.  Keep nest and old branch all together. If you have to relocate nest, be sure that it is relatively close to where it was originally and then you must confirm that the mother hummingbird finds her babies.  Follow the guidelines below.  If you have a gardener that maintains your yard, PLEASE either let them know where the nest site is located or tag the plant asking that it not be disturbed.

IMPORTANT:  Once you have secured baby hummer(s) in nest you must watch for the return of the mother hummer.  That means stay absolutely focused on the nest and baby(ies) using both your eyes and ears. (no walking away) Have a seat for the next 45 mins where you can watch the nest.  The mother’s feeding schedule averages every 15-20-30 mins or 3-4 times in one hour. Have the number of a rescue organization or rehabilitator ready, if she doesn’t return after one hour then call for help and be ready to transport the hummingbird(s). Follow their instructions.


  • Triming:  it’s best not to trim vegetation during nesting season.  Or be very, very careful to observe before cutting. Hummingbirds in some areas of the country begin their nesting in late October, November and on through to June.  They will nest where there is foliage and/or cover. Please be very mindful of these tiny jewel’s habits.  If you have a gardener that maintains your yard, PLEASE either let them know where the nest site is located or tag the plant asking that it not be disturbed.


  •  BABY hummers that have fallen from their nest:  go ahead and put back inside nest, if nest is whole.  Carefully pick up in your hand put back in nest.  If  it doesn’t stay, build another nest with egg carton section or small basket lined with soft tissue then anchor it securely to branch close to original site of the other nest and place the baby inside.  Sometimes it gets crowded and one falls out.  Again follow the IMPORTANT instructions above to confirm the return of the mother hummer. 


  •  A destroyed, broken nest:  you can reconstruct a nest from cardboard egg carton section or strawberry basket lined with shredded soft tissue lining the inside (don’t use cotton balls).  Secure remade nest to the general area found.  Using a plastic strawberry basket can be shaped to fit the area, if there is room to secure in the location.  Line bottom with soft bird nesting material or shredded tissue.  Make from tissue a donut shape to simulate small nest to place baby hummingbird inside. DON’T USE COTTON BALLS, their tiny feet can get caught up & snagged.
  • Again IMPORTANT follow instructions above to confirm return of mother hummer.  Be sure that the babies are nestled down inside below the lip of the newly made nest. 


  • NOTE 1:   The mother hummer will rejoin with her babies & not worry what the nest is made of or whether you have touched them.  She is far more interested in feeding her babies and caring for them. 


  •  NOTE 2:   If the mother hummer does not return in the time frame given (after 45 mins), call your local wildlife rehab organization who could be listed online, with an animal shelter or veterinarian hospital. They may have the contact person or a wildlife center’s number to call for help. 


  •  NOTE 3:  If a hummer fledgling or young hummer is found on walkway away from home and no nest in sight or you find an adult in trouble, CALL immediately for help.  Keep the little creature warm and secure until you can reach someone trained to help.  You may offer sugar water solution for hydration purposes (a 1-4 ratio of one part granulated white sugar to 4 parts water and simmer until dissolved, cool).  Be sure to keep sugar water off feathers.  Wick away immediately with tissue if droplets fall on feathers.  No food coloring necessary.
  • IT’S IMPORTANT TO GET THEM TO THE CORRECT FACILITY ASAP so they can receive the care and food they will need. 
  • DESCRIPTION:  of  a hatchling, nestling and fledgling hummingbird: 1. Hatchling- 1-7 days eyes not open, size of a black coffee bean  2. Nestling – 7-16 days feathering out & eyes open, short beak 1/4″.  Fledgling -16-21-28 days fully feathered, popping out of nest, beak about 1/2″ -3/4″ long.  Close to leaving the nest can sit on edges flapping its wings for 2-3 days before leaving.  Mother hummingbird still continues to feed a week to two after they have fledged.



  •  Hummingbirds  found on ground outside your own yard generally need to be rescued unless nest is located.  Most often sparrows & finches can be placed away from danger and placed close to where found and the parent will find and care for them.  Exception with hummingbirds, it’s best to call your local wildlife rescuer or animal shelter for more advice for specific circumstances. When found in your yard many times the nestling or fledgling can be reunited with the mother hummingbird.  Follow the instructions above or the rescuer can talk you through the steps.


I highly recommend some DVD’s for the hummingbird lover.  The DVD’s highlight hummingbirds beauty, incredible flying abilities and amazing attributes.

“Hooked on Hummingbirds”

“Hummingbirds! Beauty & the Beast”

“Mother Hummingbirds Life”

“First Flight”

“Magic in Flight” (PBS)


 Hummingbird live cam websites