I Found a Hummingbird: Now What?

What to do if you find a hummingbird

You found a hummingbird… on the ground, in a fallen nest, in your garage. Now what? The short answer is… it all depends on the circumstances. Sometimes the best course of action is inaction, and other times, you might help a hummingbird live for another day. Here’s what to do in each situation.

I Found a Hummingbird Trapped in my Garage

If you keep your garage door open, there’s a good chance that a bird will eventually fly in. Hummingbirds, in particular, can be attracted by red objects, especially the red emergency release handles that hang from the automatic garage door openers. Once inside, instead of flying horizontally toward the sunshine, the birds’ natural instinct is to fly up, which is how they get stuck in there.

If a hummingbird is in your garage, you should…

  • Remove pets and kids from the area.
  • Hang a feeder in the open doorway. If that doesn’t work within 10 minutes…
  • Close the overhead door and turn on the interior light. When the bird flies over an open part of the floor, turn off the light and hopefully the bird will stop flying and flutter to the ground. Search out the bird with a flashlight, scoop it up gently, open the door, offer it a drink from the feeder, and set it free.

An exhausted, trapped hummingbird can starve in an hour, so don’t just leave it in an open garage and assume it can escape.

I Found a Baby Hummingbird on the Ground

Hummingbird nests are tiny, and sometimes fully-feathered nestlings get dumped out by windstorms or jostled out by their siblings; orphaned nestlings will sometimes jump out on purpose. If you find a baby hummingbird on the ground, it could have fallen, or it could have left intentionally and is still learning to fly.

If a non fully-feathered baby hummingbird is on the ground, you should… 

  • Try to locate the nest and return the helpless baby.

If a fully-feathered baby hummingbird is on the ground, you should…

  • Put a flightless bird back in the nest if you can.
  • If the bird can perch, place it on an interior branch of a shrub or low hanging tree limb.

In all these scenarios, protect the grounded nestling from curious kids, dogs, cats, and other predators while you try to find the nest. Mama Bird may be close by and looking for her young. Baby birds are rarely abandoned, but if the mother doesn’t return in 30 minutes, she is probably dead, and you will need to call a wildlife rehabilitator.

I Found a Hummingbird Nest on the Ground

It’s not uncommon for storms to knock down bird nests. If it’s springtime, the nest might contain eggs, live chicks, or a combination of the two.

If a nest with baby hummingbirds or eggs is on the ground, you should…

  • Place the nest in a box (if necessary) and attach it to a nearby tree. Leave the top open and walk away. The mother bird will find it even if it’s not in exactly the same location.

I Found an Injured Hummingbird

Caring for an injured hummingbird (or any wild animal) is not easy and requires extensive training.

If you want to help an injured bird, you should…

  • Protect it from predators.
  • Find a local wildlife rehabilitator or bird rescue organization in your area.

Some Final Thoughts

It’s also okay to let nature take its course. While it’s often a tough pill to swallow, hummingbirds are not endangered and they cannot all be saved, nor should they be. Many are sick or deformed, and natural selection will ensure that the rest of the birds survive and thrive without our intervention.