Do Hummingbirds Stop Flying?
They Do, But They Don't Die!

Amongst many myths about hummingbirds, one is that hummingbirds die when they stop flying. Learn more about it through this post.

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Iñigo Navarro

May 23, 2021


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What’s This Post About?

Hummingbirds are notorious for their speed. Despite being tiny and delicate, it is incredible how they can fly so fast. In fact, they are able to fly backward, forwards, and even upside down. It is uncommon to observe a hummingbird that is not flying, if that is the case, it is alarming.

Hummingbirds are constantly moving. They almost spend all of their time in the air. However, they do make stops to feed and rest. And no thankfully that does not result in them dying. Because, if that had been the case, they would never be able to rest and sleep.

It is not true that hummingbirds die when they stop flying. They have feet but they are adapted to flying. They tuck their feet back when they are flying in the air. They perch on tiny branches, clotheslines, wires, while they consume food and water from a feeder.

a hummingbird perching

When Do Hummingbirds Stop Flying?

Hummingbirds stop flying when they are either injured or stunned. If they have bumped into a solid and have faced some damage, they will stop flying as they feel dizzy.

One noticeable fact is that hummingbirds are susceptible to injuries. If you observe a hummingbird that has stopped flying, try to figure out whether it is injured or not. It is possible that the hummingbird may also be ill.

The signs of an injury can be quite evident in hummingbirds. A drooped wing is a common sign that the bird has somehow damaged its wings.

hummingbird not flying

Sometimes, hummingbirds accidentally run into doors, walls, and windows and then feel dizzy. A reason this could happen is if the hummingbird is unable to catch sight of a wall or window. It probably hasn’t interacted with that place before which is why it doesn’t remember it as a threat!

If you see a hummingbird sitting on the ground, chances are it is feeling dizzy and has become stunned.

How to Help an Injured Hummingbird?

If you notice a hummingbird that is not flying but rather is injured, make sure to get down with your hands and help the little bird without scaring it away.

hummingbird on ground

  • Hummingbirds feed on nectar, you can use an eyedropper to feed the nectar to these small birds. Look for bubbles in the dropper. It is a sign that the bird is indeed drinking the nectar.

  • For adult hummingbirds, if the wing is broken or damaged, make sure you lift the feeder close to the bird so they can eat through it.

  • For small hummingbirds, you can always stoop and lift them through your hands and place them somewhere safe, and cater to them.

  • Hummingbirds are known to feed on small insects, you can feed them to the injured bird as well.

  • You can always hang a hummingbird swing on your backyard trees, so if any injured or otherwise bird appears there, it can rest on it.

You can consider purchasing the POP’S Original Hummingbird Swing in black.

POP'S Original Hummingbird Swing, Black Humming Bird Perch

Powder coated metal frame with a hand stained wooden dowel. Includes hook for hanging. Available in Black or Brown.

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There are several amusing and astonishing myths when it comes to hummingbirds besides the one I have already discussed that hummingbirds die when they stop flying which is not the case. Read through some common myths related to hummingbirds.

1. They do not have feet

visible hummingbird feet

It is false that hummingbirds do not have feet. The truth is that their feet help them in flying. Their feet are tucked back, so they are not visible when they are flying in the air.

2. They only feed on nectar

It is indeed true that hummingbirds love to feed on nectar, and they need a lot of nectar in their diet. It provides them instant energy which keeps their metabolism running smoothly. However, they do feed on other things like fruits and insects as well.

3. They do not rest

Amongst all the myths, this one is most amusing and false. If they were to die whenever they are not flying, hummingbirds would not be able to get even an ounce of sleep or rest.

4. They only feed through a hummingbird feeder

hummingbird-feeding-on-flower

Although, a feeder will certainly be of great help while attracting these little creatures into your backyards, and they mostly feed on nectar through a feeder. However, it is not true that they exclusively feed through a hummingbird feeder.

5. They are only attracted to red tubular flowers

It is a very common myth, but that is what it is. Yes, they prefer tubular flowers but, that is the case because such flowers allow them to get their beak deeper into the petals and suck nectar. It has nothing to do with petals being red.

6. Hummingbirds cannot stay still or sit down

Hummingbirds flap their wings at a very high speed of up to 70 times per second. However, it is not true that they can’t stay still or sit down. Hummingbirds do have feet, and they can certainly sit down to get some rest.

How Often Do Hummingbirds Stop Flying?

While migrating, hummingbirds will mostly fly during the day and rest at night

The Ruby-Throated hummingbirds fly all over the Gulf of Mexico during spring and fall migrations. Since they do not have a place to make a stop to sleep, it’s understood that these hummingbirds have to spend at least 18 to 20 hours flying without getting any rest.

Did You Know?

There are some other species as well that can travel at least, 1200 miles in the air without stopping or taking a rest. It is fascinating how unique and astounding these small birds are.

Keep Reading!

Hummingbirds are the most fast-moving birds. They are constantly flying but that does not mean that they can not land or sit. Often to feed throughout the day, they perch on small tree branches and get some rest.

More so, hummingbirds do not die when they are not flying. However, if they do not feed constantly, that can result in them being in danger because these are hyperactive birds and travel for long hours. If they do not feed properly and overexert themselves, it can lead to them dying.

They will fly during the day and get some restful sleep at night.

Hopefully, this post was able to provide a better insight into the myth that hummingbirds die when they stop flying, which of course, is not true. If you wish to learn more about these fascinating birds or why they might not be visiting your backyards read our special post.

Why Won't Hummingbirds Come to My Feeder? Read All Important Information Here!

Are you thinking, “Why won’t hummingbirds come to my feeder?”. Well, this happens because of location, the feeder, or perhaps just mother nature!

Iñigo Navarro Picture

By Iñigo Navarro

Bird Watching USA

My name is Inigo and I'm the the founder of Bird Watching USA! I started Bird Watching with My father-in-law many years ago, and I've become an addict to watching these beautiful creatures. I've learnt so much over about bird watching over the years that I want to share with the world everything I know about them!

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Iñigo Navarro Picture

Iñigo Navarro

Bird Watching USA

My name is Inigo and I'm the the founder of Bird Watching USA! I started Bird Watching with My father-in-law many years ago, and I've become an addict to watching these beautiful creatures. I've learnt so much over about bird watching over the years that I want to share with the world everything I know about them!

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