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.
Hummingbirds can become very ill if they are not fed every four hours during the day. Offer adult 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, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO FEED IT! 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.
- Identified by their small size, elongated beaks, hovering flight, and extendable tongues
- Only found in the Americas; most are tropical or sub-tropical
- As long as there are many nectar-producing flowers in the area, hummingbirds can feed and nest there. This includes areas 5000 meters above sea level
- 90% of diet comes from nectar while the other 10% is from insects such as flies and wasps
- Predators include snakes, falcons, and owls. Nest predators include jays and some bats
- Able to live up to 10 years
- Males breed with multiple females and then leave the task of nest building and caring for offspring to them
- Breeding occurs when conditions permit, and can happen up to two times in one year
- Females lay 2 eggs during breeding season
- Valuable for pollination of a wide variety of plants
- Smaller hummingbirds can flap their wings up to 70-80 times per second
- Heartbeats range from 500-600 beats per minute when the hummingbird is resting and can skyrocket past 1000 beats per minute when in motion
- At night goes into torpor, a state of suspended animation, to conserve energy
- Unlike most other vertebrates, hummingbirds can see ultraviolet light, which may help them find flowers with ultraviolet patterns
- Do not place hummingbird feeders near a window. Although beautiful to watch, hummingbirds may fly to the feeder reflected in the window and injure themselves on the glass.
- Never use honey to make hummingbird food; always make the food with clean water and pure white sugar; 4 parts water to one part sugar. Change the feeder every few days to avoid bacterial growth.
- Keep your pet cat indoors if you have hummingbirds in your yard. Due to their tiny size, hummingbirds are easy prey to an agile cat.
Wildlife Care Center
San Diego, CA 92110
Directions & Map
Open 7 days a week
(except Thanksgiving, Christmas, & New Year's Day)
Staff/Volunteer hours: 8:30a.m. - 5:00p.m.
Drop-off area is open 24/7.
Outside of San Diego County?
If you are outside of our geographical area, please visit the emergency page of Wildlife International or contact your local Department of Animal Control or state Fish and Game office.
Resources for the media to learn more about the good work Project Wildlife provides San Diego County.