What to do when a hummingbird runs into a window

We were having dinner outside on the back patio tonight when we heard a small 'thump'. Something fluttered to the ground behind us and I jumped up to take a look. The dogs jumped up too, so seeing it was a small bird I instantly scooped it up in my hands before they got a chance to investigate further. No need to cause it more stress with big dog noses being shoved into its face!

It was the most delicate little thing I have ever seen. 

A ruby-throated hummingbird in hand after flying into a window.

A hummingbird ran into the window!


A Ruby-Throated Hummingbird had flown into one of the picture windows and fallen to the patio below. It's body was no longer then my pinky finger and it was the most vibrant living creature I have ever seen. 

Clearly dazed, it didn't fight as I held it...it just sort of perched there on my hand. At first it sat with its wings outstretched. After about a minute, it folded its wings in and still just sat there with its eyes closed. 

I couldn't believe how beautiful it was! The red and green iridescent feathers glistened in the sun. That tiny bill was thinner than a toothpick. It's wing feathers were almost sheer when it's wings were opened. I moved over to the rock garden where it was quieter and just sat there with it on my hand.

I sat there for several minutes as he slowly came around. First his delicate little feet started to grip my hand. Then his eyes opened slowly, but still he just sat. I wasn't sure how aware he was to me holding him, or how scared of me he would be if he suddenly realised he was in a giant beings hand.

Since he seemed to be balancing fine I decided to move him to the perch on the hummingbird feeder. I lifted him all the way up to the perch and nudged his feet with it. He stepped onto it and I simply backed away. 

He sat there for another minute and hubby got up to look at him. I asked "do you think he's going to be ok?" Chris was just replying that 'no, he's probably not gonna make it', when the little guy zoomed away from the feeder into the trees! 

Seconds later he zoomed back and landed back on the perch and got a drink of the hummingbird nectar then zoomed back off. 

We didn't see him after that and I hope that he makes it. He probably has a huge headache today from his impact with the window. Thankfully his bill or wings didn't seem broke. 


Why birds hit windows


Unfortunately this happens occasionally with big windows. The birds can see the reflection of trees and such in the windows. They simply think it's real and fly right into the window. They can see sky, trees, plants etc and they're aiming for that but end up hitting a window at full speed instead. Ouch!

It doesn't have to do with cleanliness. I don't clean my windows on the outside very much because they are 20 feet off the ground, and we still get several birds a year running into them. Screens on the outside of the windows seem to help by cutting the reflection. 

Unfortunately my windows don't open so they don't have screens. There are anti-collision window clings you can buy to make them more obvious to all types of birds. Here's another victim of the windows:

The dogs were in this time so I just watched her from inside to make sure she could fly. There's no need to do anything if they are uninjured. Kind of like when you bump your head and sit there for a minute like "Wow, that hurt!" but the pain starts to lessen and you get on with your day...like that, but bird sized!

What to do for injured hummingbirds


If the bird is obviously injured with bleeding or a wing that won't fold in, you'll want to google 'Hummingbird rescues near me' and take him/her in for professional care. You should also try searching for Wildlife rehabilitation centers. That might pull up more results. 

Put the bird in a small box with a soft cloth so she doesn't slide around. Make some air holes and put on the lid! Because they need to eat so very often, you'll need to take him to a professional right away. A few hours without food and a hummingbird will die.

If there are no obvious injuries the bird is probably just stunned. You simply need to leave him alone for a few minutes to give him time to get his bearings. 

If you have animals or children that might disturb him, take them inside the house. I would not have been so quick to pick up the original injured hummer, except for the fact that all the dogs were there and he was in front of the door to the house.

Make sure the hummingbird feeder has fresh nectar in it, as hummingbirds need to eat often because of their fast metabolism. He'll need to eat as soon as he can. Once he gets over the initial impact he will probably fly away to a tree then come back to eat like mine did.

Check on him shortly and make sure he flies away. If he sits there for more than about 20 minutes, he might be too injured to move and will need a rehabber. Don't try to keep a hummingbird in the house because they need a diet of nectar and insects and the wrong insects (or lack of them) will kill the bird.

I love watching the hummingbirds at the feeder and even make them fresh nectar every week, but have never had the opportunity to study one close up for so long. I'm currently playing with the location of our feeders to try to keep them away from the windows more, so maybe they'll run into them less. 

Wish me luck!

~L  

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12 comments:

  1. What a fantastic photo! I too hope the poor thing is ok.

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    1. Thanks, you don't often get a photo op that like that...I had to take full advantage! Thanks for stopping by!


      ~L

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  2. Wow,it's not everyday that you can hold a hummingbird in your hand :). What a beautiful photo. I love them although I heard they could be bomb attack you if threatened. I caught some on photos once :)

    http://www.pret-a-vivre.com/2013/04/oh-how-we-love-hummingbirds.html?q=hummingbird

    Have a great week!

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    1. Hmmm, never heard they can attack...although someone did tell me yesterday that normally if you catch them they will fall over and play dead. Not sure if it's true....lol

      Going to check out your photos now...thanks for sharing them with me!


      ~L

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  3. Wow! What a cool experience, except for the poor little guy's mishap! I'd say since he was able to fly, he's good. :) Awesome photo op!

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    1. He rested for quite awhile but seemed ok as he flew around afterwards. Ever since this happened I have seen a hummingbird just sitting on the top of the crook that holds the feeder from time to time. He sits there for a few minutes then drinks and fly's off....I'm sure it could be another one, but what an odd coincidence.

      ~L

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  4. Sweet little birdie! We have them here in Dallas, even though we're right in the city! I have always been amazed at how tame they seem and how they will still come to the feeder if I sit quietly in the chair close by. I bet your little guy can tell that you care for him :) Thanks so much for sharing this sweet story at the Creative HomeAcre Hop! Love love love your blog, Lisa.
    xo, Andrea

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    1. Hummingbirds amaze me! They migrate for thousands of miles every year....what a huge trip for a tiny bird! Thanks so much...Love your hop and I'll be back next week!

      ~L

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  5. I've had the pleasure of holding one a couple times when they have crashed as yours did.
    A few years ago in the spring we were outside and I told my husband it was about time to get the feeder out. Just then a male came down right in front of my face and chattered at me. I went right in and got his feeder out for him.

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    1. That's so cute! Hummingbirds will yell at you if their feeder isn't full. Funny little things, aren't they?

      Lisa

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  6. As my son and self were in the rear garden under the gazebo, we heard a thud, luckily my son jumped up and fund a sweet little hummingbird knocked out cold( large windows) , my husband out and gave us a small box with a soft cloth. We did not think it would make it but after 10 /12 minutes, the little cutey just took t the trees
    We have cats and luckily ours were unaware with all this saga!

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    1. So glad the little guy was ok. Isn't it crazy how they go from out cold to flying around in just a few minutes?

      Thanks for sharing your hummingbird encounter!
      Lisa

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