How to Get a Trapped Hummingbird Out of Your Garage
Be very patient with these small creatures if they accidentally end up in your garage.
Hummingbirds are busy during the day as they search for flower nectar, sugar-water or tiny bugs to eat. These little creatures need a lot of food for their high metabolism and that appetite can lead them into precarious situations. In a split second, a hummingbird could find itself flying around in unfamiliar territory. Here’s how to safely get a trapped hummingbird out of your garage.
Learn how to keep a hummingbird from hitting a window.
Why Do Hummingbirds Get Trapped in a Garage?
These busy birds have great eyesight and are attracted to bright colors, particularly red. They can easily mistake a rag or something in your garage with the color of a feeder. When they head toward what they think is a food source, they may end up trapped.
Be extra careful if you have colorful flowers stored in the garage at planting time. What better place to decide to get comfortable and stay a while?
When a hummingbird senses danger, its instinct is to rapidly fly up and away from harm. Unfortunately, one that has flown into an enclosed structure might not be able to find a way out, even though it may appear to have an obvious exit route with a nearby open garage door or window.
While it seems like a garage is a large enough structure for birds to avoid, there are times when they will fly into your garage simply because they think they can pass through it. If you have a garage with lots of windows, or a door with glass window inserts, the bird might think there’s a clear path of flight.
Another reason birds might enter a garage is that they’re looking for a safe place to build a nest. They may try to set up housekeeping on open shelves or in quiet corners.
What Are the Dangers for a Trapped Hummingbird?
“Hummingbirds are some of our most impressive and fragile bird species,” according to Ben Young, a New York City naturalist. “Despite being only 3 to 4 inches tall, they can file distances of 23 miles in a single day! The ruby-throated hummingbird, the most common hummingbird seen in New York, can migrate nearly 1,200 miles in a single season. Hummingbirds’ hearts beat up to 1,200 times per minute and they flap their wings as many as 80 times per second—meaning they need a lot of energy. Young hummingbirds migrate alone, and they can sometimes get caught in some trouble.”
Birds that find their way into unfamiliar places may not be able to find a way out. They can stay in there, unable to escape, even with a wide open garage door that seems like an obvious exit route. The confused bird will begin to search every high corner of the room until it has to rest. This can mean a risky landing on the garage door track.
How to Safely Rescue a Trapped Hummingbird
There are several simple ways to help get a hummingbird out of your garage.
Open Windows and Doors
If you find a hummingbird in your garage, Ben says open as many exterior facing windows and doors as you safely can so the bird has as many options to exit as possible. Remove window screens. However, you should close any doors that provide access to your home.
Never swat at the bird or try to catch it. Ideally, the bird will be able to fly out without you needing to have any direct contact with it.
Remove Red Items
If there is an object that you think may have attracted the hummingbird in the first place, remove it from the garage or cover it up so the bird won’t continue to be interested in it.
Keep Kids and Pets Away
Make sure any kids or pets are out of the area. You don’t want to startle the bird with noises or sudden movement.
Here’s how to keep your yard safe from hummingbird predators.
Use a Feeder to Guide the Bird
Just as the bird likely entered the garage in pursuit of a colorful object it thought may be food, you can attempt to lure the bird to find an exit with a hummingbird feeder. Ben says, “If you’ve got a hummingbird feeder, hang it near the exit you want the hummingbird to use!” Offer a mix of sugar-water (no red dye) with 4 parts water and 1 part sugar.
It might recognize a familiar feeder it has been already using at your house and head toward the source of food. Watch from a safe distance to see if the curious hummingbird makes its escape.
What if you haven’t been feeding hummingbirds and don’t have a feeder? Ben suggests putting sugar-water in small dishes near the exit to help lure the hummingbird to escape safely.
When to Call for Help
“If you find an exhausted hummingbird, do not attempt to handle it. Leave the sugar-water nearby, and give the little hummer some space,” Ben says.
And be patient!
Contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator or local rescue organization if a hummingbird appears to be stunned from a window strike or injured.
Next, find out how hummingbirds find feeders.