So sad - Found one of my Hummers dead

ladyamityFebruary 17, 2007

Well, actually I didn't find him. My husband did.

I can't believe I'm so bummed about this and even my husband has been quiet since the find.

This morning while filling the blue bird feeders for me, my husband spotted something dark green and brown next to the house on the cement walkway and he thought it was a couple old leaves stuck together.

The closer he got, he knew.

The little guy was in perfect shape. Not even ruffled feathers.

The Hummers have been fighting a lot more than usually the last few days so near as we can figure is that two Hummers went at each other and the one hummer darted left when he should have darted right and hit head-on into the stucco of the side of the house.

Wow, I didn't realize I'd take it so bad. I know, I know. It's part of life, just a hummer. But still...

Probably out of guilt, just in case I might have done something wrong, as soon as my husband buried our hummer I took down all the feeders, sanitized them, filled them with fresh-made necture (I had just done this Thursday) and washed down the whole back yard---plants, dwarf citrus trees (where the feeders are hung) and the side of the house and garage.

Is there anything else I can do to insure that Hummer's death is not something I might have caused?

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penny1947(z6 WNY)

Unfortunately this happens and it could have been from any number of causes. Many times window or patio doors are the culprit because birds tend to try and fly through them or they see their reflection in the glass and try to attack the 'other bird' Or it may even have been an older hummer or a sick hummer. One thing I would suggest is not to use pesticides or herbicides. Overspray can reach the flowers that they nectar on or possibly even get into feeders. You can only control what is in your yard. You have no control over what your neighbors do.


    Bookmark   February 17, 2007 at 8:05PM
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Oh Penny,

Thank you for responding. I can't believe me and my husband are sitting in the family room going through all the pictures I've taken so far of my Hummer Friends. It's as though we lost a family member. I know, I know, I'll get over it, but still...

You're so right--I hadn't thought about the window!
There is a laundry room window about a foot away from the dead hummer. He was one of the most aggressive of the hummers, even slamming into my head a few times so maybe he attacked the window thinking it was another hummer?
I'd rather hope that was the case than thinking it was something I did wrong with their feeders or their surrounding area.

Noooo, not even ant spray gets sprayed around our home.
I have used an oil/soapy detergent mixture spray for those dang scale things that invade my Nandina domestica (faux bamboo) but the hummers don't go near that area and I was told that the mixture wouldn't harm the hummers. I hope that's correct?
Other than that, everything gets sprayed with natural or a hard water spray to remove aphids, etc.

Thank you again for responding, and for bringing up the window---we never would have thought of that!

Hugs to you,

    Bookmark   February 17, 2007 at 8:54PM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

It is common practice among birders of all types to put little window clings on windows t help keep them from hitting windows especially if there are no screens on the window. I use snowflake window clings on my french doors. They don't distract much b/c they aren't all that noticable on the inside but it has helped to keep the birds from flying into them.


    Bookmark   February 18, 2007 at 6:49AM
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You're Brilliant-Thank you so very much!

As soon as I read your post yesterday early evening I headed out to Target. Then Walmart then Rite-Aid.
They all had window clings but I didn't really want Sponge Bob Squarepants, Superman or Hello Kitty.

I came home and fixed dinner and spent the rest of the time at Ebay and I bought these, several sets. I'll cut them apart because I don't need the clings on the corners of the window but I think they will work out perfectly!

What a great idea, thank you again!

Here is a link that might be useful: Leaves Window Clings

    Bookmark   February 19, 2007 at 7:28AM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

Great find Amity! That should be just enough to do the trick.


    Bookmark   February 19, 2007 at 8:19AM
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I am a newbie to this website, just curious what state you are from. We feed the hummers from about May 15 till early September depending on the weather. I found a hummer clinging to the seat of my boat [ under the winter cover ] that had been stored all winter last spring, and I know that feeling. Such a shame for any little critter like that to die. We look so much for the hummer return here, we are the only year round residents in this cottage area, and mostly see the chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers, junkoes, the winter tribe.... Please respond, let me know where you guys are, we always wonder where our summer hummers go... Jim

    Bookmark   February 19, 2007 at 10:14PM
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Hello Jim and Welcome to this great board with the most knowledgable people! I've been reading here now for quite awhile, and I see that there is always someone here to answer a question for us new hummer lovers.

I am in S. Ca. about 45 minutes from the beach and my hummers stick around all year.
I have hummer plants and nectar feeders but the hummers tend to hang around and eat from the feeders 90 percent of the time.

As I told Penny in another post, I can set my watch to the time the hummers come first thing in the morning and their last feeding in the evening but they don't roost in my yard. I have no idea where they roost for the night but we are across the road from a large country club golf course so I'm assuming that's where they go when the sun goes down.

So sorry to hear about your hummer loss. I've lost sparrows, bluejays and even helped heal a wounded woodpecker and a red-tail hawk but never did I feel the way I felt this past weekend with the loss of my hummer.

Now that the weather is moving into Spring I hope to see even more hummers now that I have feeders.

Very nice meeting you Jim!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2007 at 12:34PM
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Sorry to hear about your hummer , I know how sad that could be and how close you can get to them, I too know that they arrive early and say good morning as I sit at my pc and I also know the last visit at evening just before dark. At the beginning of winter my sister found a dead hummer on her feeder on one of our first cold nights and we thought it might be torpor but it never revived. I have horizontal blinds on my window and they have never crashed into it that I know of. Mine never perched in my yard either but there is a huge field across the street from me.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 11:52PM
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I'm so sorry for not responding to your post earlier. Between vacation, unexpected trip out of state and getting my gardens ready, I've just been popping online for a few minutes here and there when there is a dull moment. And around my house, there doesn't seem to be many of those lately. *smile*

Thank you for understanding about my poor little hummer - my neighbor thought it was time for me to have the white coat the day I told her. She doesn't 'get' it.

The other day the same neighbor and her sister stopped by while I was sanitizing the hummer feeders in the kitchen sink. She went on and on how there would be no way she'd go through all that trouble for a little bird.
Like I said, she just doesn't "get it".

Well, Saturday it was worth all that trouble because at dawn while sipping my first cuppa in the sunroom I was treated to the most spectacular sight--10 hummers, each with different colors and markings, coming in for their first drink of the morning!

I am going out in about an hour to buy a new feeder. My little guys and gals are just fighting way too much with only the 3 feeders ( 1 window suction and 2 hanging from dwarf lemon tree branches).
I am going to look for the 32 oz. feeder you suggested in another post. That should help ease the territorial issues some of my hummers have.

I am so loving the time change as I can watch my hummers come for their drinks until a little after 7 p.m.

Thank you again for your response -- means a lot.


    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 3:34PM
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cathys1951(z8 GA)

Amity, I had a similar experience last summer. I had the door to my sunroom open, airing and cleaning. When I came back to the room after being gone for 10 min there was a hummingibrd in the room trying desperately to get out. I tried to gently coax him out but was only scaring him. Didn't know what else to do so I left the door open, opened all windows and left. Didn't see him leave but when I came back to check he was gone. I thought thankfully he escaped. But a few weeks later as I was moving my fish tank and stand. I found him, he can flown behind the stand and died. Me and my grandson (7 yrs) both were upset, he coudn't stand to bury another little animal so he holds a place of honor in a curio cabinet. I know sounds a little morbid, but my grandson had lost several of his liitle pet and wanted to keep the hummingbird.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 10:03AM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

Cathy and all,
If a hummer becomes trapped in a sun room, garage or other enclosure, hang a feeder with nectar at an opening to the outside. They will go to the feeder and find their way out. Trying to chase them in the direction of a door or window will onlly stress them further. They are best left to do it on their own.

Hummingbirds that migrate to North America are protected by the Migratory Bird Act and it is in violation of the Migratory Bird Act and illegal to keep a hummingbird or any part thereof including a nest, a feather or even an egg regardless how it happened to die. You really need to explain to your grandson that the bird should be buried and not put on display.


    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 10:21AM
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Hi there...I just found this site while googling since I was trying to look up information on how a hummingbird dies.
Please go to the link below to see what I found. This little ruby-throated female hanging upside down in a tree right in front of my living room window. :( It's been 2 days. She is dead. :( ~Cheryl

Here is a link that might be useful: The Death of a Hummingbird

    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 8:33AM
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yardenman(z7 MD)

I've never found a dead hummer around my yard, but I understand the feeling. When I was young, we lived in a house that had large glass windows at opposite ends of a hallway. It looked like a nice straight bird-path through the house, but it was a bird-killer! We buried the first few that hit the windows, but even we kids gave up on that soon. Those windows killed a lot more birds than all the cats I have ever had.

My current house has opposite windows, and I placed sheers in the front one to diminish the apparent clear path. I still get a couple of birds each year that hit the back window, but you can't prevent all bird confusion. I think even window decals won't stop all of it (there appears to be lots of room to fly "around" them).

I've sorry to hear of the hummers that had hot the windows, of course. I love my hummers. too. But accidents will happen. Sometimes, all we can do is to provide out wildlife friends with food and water to help them increase in numbers. If we help 4 become 8 and one hits a window, well, there are still more than there would have been otherwise.

Mourn the accidents, but remember the extra living ones... :)

    Bookmark   June 9, 2007 at 2:53PM
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My hummer died due to the cold temperatures we had, that mixed with the fact he was a smaller size..and couldn't pull out of the torpor state.
Check out the info in the link below. Fascinating stuff!

Here is a link that might be useful: New Information on the dead hummingbird.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 6:43AM
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duckychickenlady, that is some good info that you provided. I was not aware that hummers went into a stupor like that. I learn something new about hummers everyday. I am sorry that the hummers mentioned here did not make it. I live in the forrest and my deck and patio where I have my feeders are both facing the forrest. I try not to look too hard in my flowers or yard for dead hummers. I am not good with that as I take it way too hard and will start worrying if I did something wrong...out of sight-out of mind, works for me.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 9:53AM
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It's my pleasure to share the info I learned. I just happened to think of phoning a local bird watching pro..and he linked me to the right sources.
I too, live on the edge of the woods..and I try not to find dead critters...but this one was hanging outside my, I had to take notice. And I am thrilled to have learned so much! :)

    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 11:25AM
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knottyceltic(S/W Ontario 5b)

Sorry to hear of the death of one of your hummers but don't feel badly. These things happen and if you aren't using anything unsafe on your flowers then you have nothing to worry about. I just wanted to chime in about an alternative to the window clings like Spongebob and Hello Kitty. Home Depot carries rolls of cling that looks like stained glass windows. You just cut the piece the size of your window and cling it on just like you do the little clings. It's attractive from inside as well as outside and should keep the birds from thinking the window is a black hole to safety.

Good luck with whatever type of clings you decide to use. We don't have clings but our white, large slatted blinds seem to keep them from banging into windows. The only window we've had a bird bang into was our one patio door but no injury as it has vinyl screen over it so the bird more or less just "bounced" off. It's blinds are usually open to let the dog in and out, while the other side's blinds remain closed all the time to keep it cool in the family room.

southern Ontario, CANADA

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 7:58AM
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I found a hummer stuck in my screen today. At first i had no idea what it was till i got closer. I took it out and it was not alive.. I tried to somehow give it sugar water in hopes i could revive the poor little thing. To no avail. it was lifeless. I wrapped it in a cloth thinking maybe the warmth would do it. I now will bury it in my yard. I feel so bad and i am not a person who knew much about hummers. I got on line to see what i could do, but i was to late. Poor little thing.. May your wings fly in heaven.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 1:24AM
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One morning I was making my bed, I happened to see a hummer in our garage flying back and forth in front of a window, I went to the garage, tried to get it to go out with everything opened up, it didn't go out and it seemed to be so distressed I finally went and grabbed it in my hand, it gave out a tiny scream, I quickly went to the door and let it go, it was so so tiny, it felt so so light and little, it flew away high up into a tree, I'll never forget holding that tiny tiny little bird in my hand.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 1:08AM
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If the hummer slammed into your head a few times, then he had navigational problems. I've fed thousands of hummers and had plenty whiz by my head, but never had one hit me. I might have saved a few hummers by helping them up or taking to a rehabber, but not by feeding them sugar water. I'm just doing that so that I can watch them up close.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 12:39AM
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So glad to have this blog....before going out this evening, I noticed a hummer sitting on the feeder...yet he was not bothered when another hummer came to eat, nor by the finches, who have a feeder near by, and were flying to and fro with much enthusiasm. I went out to take photographs of the hummer and found him to not mind my presence at all. He moved a bit...but not like normal. I knew something was very wrong. When I came home, after dark, he was still there. It was raining and I couldn't stand to see him sit in the rain. I took the feeder down and he did not budge. When I tried to remove his little feet from the feeder, I did find that he was still alive....just barely. I have him resting in my garage, with some greenery to help comfort him in his final moments. He brought such joy to me...I am humbled that he selected my feeder to be his final landing pad. They are such amazing creatures!

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 9:57PM
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I have never discovered a dead hummer here and hope I never do but today I heard several birds hit my pc window. I usually dont think too much of it as it happens a lot lately and I had my blinds down too so they had a target but it didnt seem to make much difference. I just hope I dont go out there and find a dead one tomorrow.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2011 at 1:41AM
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I just found this forum thread and notice it's a few years old. I'm new to the Las Vegas area and was surprised to see hummingbirds in our yard during the winter. I made sure my feeder is full and defrosted all the time knowing it's one of their only reliable food sources. I was amazed at how close my territorial hummer would let me get to him. He was super territorial with the feeder, chasing away any other hummers that came in for a drink. I was so fascinated! We had daily meetings and I took many pictures of him. I found out he was an Anna's Hummingbird. They apparently don't migrate in the winter. Unfortunealty, with the recent freezing temperatures, I found him on the feeder upside down. I hoped and prayed he was in torpor but he never woke up. His death was and still is very hard to accept. I totally understand all the posts I see from you other hummingbird lovers that take the death of one as badly as I do. It's just been a few days and we have a few more hummers fighting for the territory but they're not as friendly as my little friend. As someone posted earlier, it warms my heart to know that our feeder was his last landing spot. A place he felt safe. Such an amazing little creature and I look forward to getting to know our new residents.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 12:12PM
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Speaking of hummers meeting with death I'm always concerned with folks that don't realize how often they need to change and clean the feeders. I have read at least every 3 days also read a week.

I'm down here in south America I mean Texas and even with the feeders in the shade the juice can begin getting cloudy in as little as 2 days. These little guys can get sick pretty easy and I hope most will change and clean more often rather than less often. That is if we want them to come back again and again.

You know it only makes sense that you should have to clean and change juice more often in warm or hot weather. I would think a weeks time might work when you live in cooler areas.

I also like making small amounts and not filling the feeders. Better to have feeders about empty come that third or so day.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 1:31AM
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I realize this death took place 7 years ago, but this evening I brought in my feeders due to frost in the forecast and was heartbroken to find my little "Sunrise" dead on the top of the front feeder. He greets me each morning when I open the blinds. He has a perch on the same shepherds hook as the feeder and he is always sitting there and then leaves at dark. I brought him in and tried a warm cloth, message, and nothing worked. I am so sad. I talked to him each morning and he was so tame. No sign of trauma at all. Could the cold have caused his death? It's mid 20's. I will bury him tomorrow.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2014 at 12:58AM
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