Why does a hummingbird spend a long time on the feeder? There can be multiple reasons behind it. Some reasons are: empty feeder, feeding holes clogged, predators nearby, or the bird is sick or old. But some ornithologists suggest leaving the bird alone as sitting for hours is a part of its usual behavior.
When we think of the world’s tiniest bird, we can blindly recall the name “hummingbird.” This small bird has a wide fanbase for its cuteness, constant motion, and tweets.
Consequently, many of us love to keep it as a pet bird. If you are one of them, you should know its nature, feeding style, and each movement.
But sometimes, the feathered friend faces difficulties which we need to understand after noticing them well.
Sitting on the feeder for a long time is noteworthy among these difficulties. So, it should be wise to inspect the reason first and take steps after knowing the reasons. In this article, you will learn every possible reason for this issue.
A Little Info about Hummingbirds
Often, the hummingbird is called “hummers.” It is famous for its tiny size and constant waving of wings. They belong to a biological family called Trochilidae.
Again, they are native to the Americas. There are around 360 species available of this bird from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. But most of them are found in the Tropics.
The size and weight may sound very cute as most species are 7.5–13 cm (3–5 in) in length. Even the smallest species, “bee hummingbird,” measures 55 cm (2.0 in) and weighs 2.0 g (0.07 oz).
On the other hand, a giant hummingbird is about 23 cm (9.1 in) with 18–24 grams (0.63–0.85 oz).
This bird feeds on mostly flower nectar. But, all species have one thing in common. They eat or consume flying insects or spiders.
Surprisingly, these birds have the maximum mass-specific metabolic rate among homeothermic animals. Even they can slow down their metabolic rate to 1/15 of their regular rate.
When they have no or least food, they can go into a torpor state. It is almost like hibernation.
Reasons for Hummingbird Sitting on Feeder for Hours
There are versatile reasons why you can see your favorite bird sitting on the feeder for a long duration. Some reasons may keep you worry-free, while others may need necessary attention.
However, you should know how long a hummingbird can sit on a feeder.
Hummers have less tendency to sit still. It always flies unless it gets tired. But there is a myth about it. When it stops flying, it meets death though it is wrong.
It’s true that it consistently moves its wings more than other birds. But it too needs rest which can be a reason to see the bird sitting on a feeder.
This little birdie can stay a long time on the feeders. It depends mostly on its food habit. If we think of volume, a hummingbird can consume up to 8 times compared to its body weight per day.
Also, it may starve to death within just two hours. It means it will fly to the feeder, have nectar, and sit frequently or at a stretch.
Here are the possible reasons why the bird sits on the feeder more than usual:
1. Empty or Half-full Feeder
Have you checked the feeder you are using to feed the hummers?
As the birdie requires frequent feeding, you must fill the feeder with sufficient nectar. If the feeder is empty or half, you should load it as soon as possible.
2. Tasteless Food
You cannot provide regular bird foods to the hummingbird. Instead, you should give it nectar. It is a simple sugar and water solution made with the right proportions.
If the ratio is not appropriate, the food may taste bad or become tasteless. If the feeder is full of watery nectar, the bird may wait for you to change the food.
3. Clogged Feeding Holes
A feeder for hummers has lots of feeding holes to flow the nectar. Often, these holes get clogged with dirt, dust, or other debris.
So, the regular flow of nectar changes, and the birdie cannot have its meal properly. Maybe your pet friend is looking for food and sitting on the feeder.
4. Bird is Resting
It can be a positive reason for hummers sitting on the feeder for long hours. One hummer species, the Giant hummingbird, can flap its wings 10-15 times each second.
Another species, Amethyst Woodstar, can flap up to 80 times per second. So, these stats show there is a good chance of getting tired. You have nothing to worry about.
5. A Predator is Nearby
Predators like cats, bats, snakes, etc., are waiting and keeping an eye on the bird. They are very dangerous to this little pet as they can injure it badly.
Even they can kill or eat it after catching or fighting with it. Here, a feeder works as the shelter or shield for the hummingbird against those predators.
You will see the bird sitting still for a long time till the predator leaves the spot.
6. Perch Hypothermia (PH)
According to Judy Hoy, a Montana Wildlife rehabilitator names a hazard for the hummers named “Perch Hypothermia” in 1986.
If you feed the bird on a cold feeder or give very cold nectar, it may get this health issue. The bird faces a temporary state of impairment; possibly, it will sit still throughout the day.
So, stay careful about what you are feeding the hummingbird.
7. Sick Birdie
Birds cannot speak as we humans do. But they can be ill like all other creatures. It may have the illness when you see a hummer couching on the feeder without unusual movement.
Also, it may have lost the strength to beat its wings. Contact the ornithologists or any pet care professional serving locally when you see this or fear the bird is ill.
The hummingbird is indeed a beloved creature. But it may often sit on the feeder for short to long. You should not worry first till you inspect the reasons.
After inspecting well, you can decide why the hummingbird sits on the feeder for hours. Then, you should take the necessary steps like I have suggested here to keep it active.
As a bird enthusiast, I write to inspire and educate others about the beauty and importance of avian species in our ecosystem. Find me in Twitter
4 thoughts on “Hummingbird Sitting on Feeder for Hours (7 Possible Reasons)”
Loved the article. Very informative. Thank you!
Major thanks for the article. in reality Cool.
I have a hummer that sits for hours (almost all day) on the same feeder and uses the same hole to drink out of. I first noticed him about 3 weeks ago and I thought he was sick but he’s still around every single day 3 weeks later. He’s all puffed out while sitting there and his feathers look somewhat rough. He mostly doesn’t bother other hummingbirds that come to the feeder but once in a while he chases them off. He lets me get very close to him-almost touching him before he flies off. I don’t know what to think. Is he sick? Is he old? Is he hypothermic as it has been very cold here in WA? I just feel so sad seeing him sit there hour after hour and hoping he’s not sick. I clean the feeders really well every few day and I have probably 50-60 hummers on my feeders.
It’s possible that a bird that is sick or otherwise not feeling well may spend more time at a feeder than a healthy bird, but this is not always the case. There could be a number of reasons why a bird is spending a long time at a feeder. It could be that the bird is particularly fond of the food that is being offered, or it could be that the bird is trying to build up its energy reserves for some reason. It’s always a good idea to monitor the behavior of your birds and contact a veterinarian if you have any concerns about their health.
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