Hummingbird Sitting on Feeder for Hours (11 Possible Reasons)

Why does a hummingbird spend a long time on the feeder? There can be multiple reasons behind it.

A hummingbird sitting on a feeder for hours might be resting, guarding its territory, nearby predators, sick, or conserving energy. It’s a normal behavior for them.

Ornithologists suggest leaving the bird alone as sitting for hours. Read on to discover the secrets of why hummingbirds sit on feeders for hours.

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 habits. 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.

Hummingbird Feeder
Hummingbird Feeder

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 properly eat. 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.

They can even 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 a hazard for the hummers named “Perch Hypothermia” in 1986.

If you feed the bird on a cold feeder or give it 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.

If the bird is injured and too weak to fly.

8. Cold Weather

Hummingbirds need to eat a lot of food to stay warm, so they may be sitting on the feeder for longer periods of time in cold weather.

9. Bird is pregnant

Hummingbirds need to eat even more food when they are pregnant or raising young, so they may be sitting on the feeder more often.

10. Guarding its territory

Hummingbirds are very territorial and often defend their feeding areas from other hummingbirds. If a hummingbird is sitting on a feeder, it may be guarding its territory from other hummingbirds that are trying to get to the food.

11. Conserving energy

Hummingbirds are very small birds, and they have a high metabolism. They need to eat a lot of food to stay alive, and they can only fly for short periods before they need to rest. If a hummingbird is sitting on a feeder, it may be conserving energy so that it can fly longer and find more food.

What to do if a Hummingbird Sitting on a Feeder for Hours

What to do if a Hummingbird Sitting on a Feeder for Hours

If you are concerned about a hummingbird that is sitting on your feeder for hours, you can try the following:

Observe the hummingbird closely to see if it is acting normally. Is it feeding, perching, and flying away as usual? If not, there may be something wrong.

Bring the feeder inside to a warm place and make sure they can find the feeder easily. This will help the hummingbird conserve its energy.

Offer the hummingbird a sugar-water solution. You can make a sugar-water solution by mixing 1 part sugar with 4 parts water. Do not use artificial sweeteners, as these can be harmful to hummingbirds.

Keep your feeder clean and filled with fresh sugar-water solution. This will help to prevent the spread of disease.

Place your feeder in a shady spot. This will help to keep the sugar water from spoiling.

Plant flowers that attract hummingbirds. This will give them a natural source of food.


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.


Can hummingbirds overheat?

Yes, hummingbirds can overheat. Their high metabolism and rapid wingbeats generate a lot of heat, and they have a small surface area to dissipate that heat. To stay cool, they will seek out shade, perch on cool surfaces, and pants. If they overheat, they can become lethargic, dehydrated, and even die.

Why do you never see baby hummingbirds?

Baby hummingbirds are very small and well-camouflaged, so they are difficult to see. They are also born without feathers and their eyes are closed, so they are even more difficult to spot. They stay in the nest for about 18-21 days, and then they are ready to fledge and leave the nest.

Can you touch a hummingbird?

Yes, you can touch a hummingbird, but it is not recommended. Hummingbirds are very delicate creatures, and their feathers are easily damaged. If you touch a hummingbird, you could injure it or cause it to become stressed. It is best to observe hummingbirds from a distance and let them come to you.

4 thoughts on “Hummingbird Sitting on Feeder for Hours (11 Possible Reasons)”

  1. 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.

    1. 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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