If you find an injured or orphaned hummingbird on the ground, lift it along with the material it is sitting on, and place it on crumpled tissue in a small box with holes in the lid. Always use tissue or paper towels, NOT cloth. The bird’s feet may become entangled in the cloth. Provide the bird with a low heat source, but be careful not to overheat the bird. If it starts open-mouth breathing or its neck is outstretched, it is too hot.
Food & Water
Hummingbirds can become very ill if they are not fed every hour during the day. Offer hummingbirds a sugar water mixture of 1 part sugar to four parts water. Hummingbirds have very high metabolisms and should be transferred to a rehabber as soon as possible so that they can be started on a properly balanced diet. Hummingbirds cannot survive purely on sugar water or commercial nectar.
IF YOU FIND A BABY HUMMINGBIRD, GET HELP IMMEDIATELY!
- Try to keep the baby in the nest if possible.
- If not, line a plastic margarine cup with tissue and keep the baby warm (this is essential) by placing it under a gooseneck lamp about 5 inches away from the bulb.
- Do not overheat the bird. If it starts open-mouth breathing or its neck is outstretched, it is too hot.
- Overheating can kill the bird.
- Keep the baby warmed to an outside temperature—between 85—90 degrees.
- Offer a sugar water mixture of 1 part sugar to 4 parts water every 30 minutes with an eyedropper throughout daylight hours until you can get the baby to a licensed rehabilitator. Be extra careful that you do not get the sugar solution on the baby or any feathers that it may have.
- If you find a healthy-looking, fully feathered hummingbird on the ground and it opens its mouth at you for food, it is likely a fledgling. Fledglings are still being cared for by the mother and often learn to fly from the ground. It is normal for them to be down there. You can either leave the bird on the ground and check on it in a couple hours or you can place it in a makeshift nest and hang it from any tree nearby. A makeshift nest for a hummingbird is any very small open container (Tupperware, basket) lined with tissue. The mom will find the baby in its new nest and continue to feed it. It is not necessary for you to feed a fledgling unless it is injured or lethargic.