Every year the same types of inquisitive hummingbirds find themselves in precarious situations by flying into indoor spaces such as garages, kitchens or skylights in search for food and becoming trapped without finding a way out.
A friend of mine called me one day saying she had a hummingbird that flew into her garage and wanted to know what to do? Knowing that I love hummingbirds, I researched online how to remove a trapped hummingbird safely and drove over to assist her.
How do you safely remove an indoor trapped hummingbird?
Act quickly, don’t panic, carefully remove the hummingbird safely by scooping them up with your hands or letting them find their own way out. Do not use a towel to remove the hummingbird, this will injure or cause damage to their delicate bodies and wings.
A hummingbird can go into its survival mode very quickly once it feels that it is in danger. Their first instinct when in danger is to fly upwards towards a potential exit to get out of harm’s way.
Unfortunately this cognitive innate wired thought process can cause further problems for them instead of aiding in a quick solution.
Hummingbirds can feel a sense of overwhelmed panic and will continue to exhaustingly use up all of their energy in order to try to escape an unknown location.
In between being in an unfamiliar territory, while frantically trying to locate an exit strategy, they can potentially injure themselves along the way. Hummingbirds have the dangers of injuring their beaks, wings or any other body part. They can run into glass windows, doors, curtains or screen doors in order to flee from a traumatic experience.
Remember, hummingbirds have to eat 8 to 10 times per hour and without having a chance to refuel their bodies it can be life threatening.
The sooner they are released and unharmed the better chances they have to survive.
There are a few easy steps on how to remove a trapped hummingbird safely and how to prevent these encounters from recurring.
Aiding a Hummingbirds Escape
If you have a trapped hummingbird in your house or garage here are a few steps to aide in their escape.
- Remove any extra added potential objects that could stress out the hummingbird such as little children or pets.
- Turn off extra threats that can make noise such as televisions, radios and ceiling fans. Any moving objects can pose a risk for the hummingbird and limit its ability to escape.
- If there are any bystanders that are not able to remain quiet and calm they should be removed from the situation.
- Keep the hummingbird contained in one location and close off other doors to adjacent rooms.
- Remove any red colored items in the room to limit any confusion the hummingbird might have of finding food.
- Unlock and open all windows and doors. Remove screens if necessary. Provide more possible outlets to ensure a higher success rate for the hummingbird to escape.
- Turn off all lights and cover all shades and curtain to discourage the hummingbird from scouting out false exits. This will direct the hummingbird to one bright light source out of a room full of darkness to exit and escape safely.
- Attract the hummingbirds attention by placing a red hummingbird feeder right outside the best possible escape route to entice them to freedom. A child’s red toy, red flowers or red clothing are alternate methods to be used instead of a hummingbird feeder.
As a last resort, some people have used a long handled broom or a garden rake to gently direct the hummingbird to the correct exit without physically touching the hummingbird.
I use the term gently because a broom or a garden rack seems invasive and dangerous around a hummingbird. If they are tired enough they will diligently comply and rest on the individual fingers of a garden rack to perch and gently be removed to safety.
Once they see more blue sky than a ceiling in a trapped space their natural instincts will kick in and they will fly away.
The best success rate is when the hummingbird can follow a path and finds it own way outside.
Be patient and don’t get discouraged if the hummingbird gets disoriented and backtracks from its progress and risks becoming entrapped again.
Once you have reached success, quickly close all the potential entrances and exits to prevent a returning house guest.
How to Safely Pick Up a Hummingbird
As the last option, if a hummingbird can not escape on its own sometimes it is necessary to pick up the hummingbird in order to assist its chances of finding freedom.
Due to their size do not use a net or a towel to capture them or else this could damage their bodies and wing feathers. Use your hands and gently scoop them up without applying too much pressure or suffocating them and release them into the wild.
An exhausted hummingbird will eventually decide to perch and rest. This can be a perfect opportunity to pick them up and take them outside. This can be tricky due to their natural instincts of fleeing if a predator such as yourself blocks their pathway to escape.
If the opportunity is missed they will quickly fly around the room in hopes to find the correct exit or rest again.
This might take a few tries; be patient and persistent. Do not give up hope.
When you are successful in helping the hummingbird to safety and they still feel tired and need to rest once outside be patient and give them their space. The numerous exhausting attempts to escape can make a hummingbird weak and tired.
Release them, if you can, near a nectar source so they can refill their depleted energy and regain their strength. If they are too weak you may have to manually feed them or get them close to a feeder and try to coach them to drink.
Thoroughly wash your hands after touching a wild outdoor animal.
Tips to Prevent Regularly Trapped Hummingbirds
If you regularly have a trapped hummingbird in your house or garage, here are a few steps to reduce that problem.
- Add screens to any open doors or windows. Keep screen doors closed to minimize the chance of hummingbirds or other unwanted guests in to your house or area.
- Hummingbirds are attracted to the color red whether artificial or not in search for food. They could be enticed by something red inside your space.
- Remove red attracting objects such as red paint cans, red labels, red handled tools, the red emergency release handle in a garage, the red cord for the garage door, red flowers, red blankets and spare red hummingbirds feeders.
Typical situations happen when a garage door is open and the emergency release handle is in view. This can be mistaken as looking like a Trumpet Vine and create the perfect opportunity for a hummingbird to investigate and become trapped.
Within 10-15 minutes, if you are unsuccessful, turn off all the lights and close the garage door or open doorways within your house where the hummingbird is stuck.
Hummingbirds do not like to fly in the dark and their vision at night is poor. This will calm them down and they will usually rest on the ground. Once you locate the hummingbird with a flashlight carefully scoop them up and release them outside.
If you see a hummingbird in distress act quickly and professionally to ensure the health and safety of these hummingbirds back into the wild.
If you still are concerned for a hummingbird’s overall health and well being and feel they need medical or emergency care check your local animal hospital, shelters or local bird organization for assistance.
Hummingbirds are a protected species covered by the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act. People are not allowed to capture or keep a hummingbird in captivity.
These curious creatures have only one thing on the brain and that is to find food and replenish their energy.
When a hummingbird is in distress and trapped in an indoor space the best thing to do is to be patient, don’t panic and act quickly.
Let the hummingbirds find their own way out and if they are not successful you can assist and scoop them up safely with your hands and release them outside near a food source.
Keep any screen doors closed to limit the chance of any unwanted guests into your house.
Remove any potential red objects that would entice a hummingbird to come back to the same space.
Happy Hummingbird Watching!
What is the lifespan of a hummingbird?
The lifespan of a hummingbird is between 3-5 years. The first year of life poses the most dangers and they are more susceptible to death during the winter. The longest living hummingbird recorded was a Broad-tailed female who was banded in Colorado 12 years earlier.