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How to Get a Hummingbird Out of the House

A female Brazilian Ruby Hummingbird

A female Brazilian Ruby Hummingbird

What to Do if a Hummingbird Flies into Your Home, Barn, or Other Building

Maybe it sounds a bit far-fetched, but in my experience -- and that includes quite a few "get the hummingbird out of the house!" events (which included the exclamation point) -- it's not as rare as you might think.

The first half-dozen times this happened to me, I was living on a farm in Pennsylvania, where hummingbirds were very active around the flower and vegetable gardens near the house and also around the barns, where the doors, which were often open, were large and the skylights above the rafters attractive to these little avian hummers. So they'd often fly in and get confused and stuck.

My most recent experience with a hummingbird in the house happened at night, when hummingbirds supposedly don't fly. I'll tell you about that "fun" fifteen minutes (which seemed much longer) and how we got the little guy out of the house and on his way, with a sip of hummingbird energy drink for the trip back to the nest.


How to get a hummingbird out of the house

How to get a hummingbird out of the house

Maybe this Hummingbird had a Craving for Pizza?

Our most recent encounter with a hummingbird in the house

It would have been rather funny -- especially Jeremy's reaction -- if it hadn't been for the fact that our uninvited house guest didn't fly right back out the way he'd come in.

It was about 9pm by the time our pizza arrived. This was the first time in years we'd ordered in, and one of the rare occasions the front porch light was on. I'd turned it on for the delivery guy. And I guess that's what attracted the hummingbird, who was probably nesting nearby. Just as Jeremy opened the door to exchange money for pizza, in the little bird flew.

"Deb! Help!" he shouted (Jeremy, not the hummingbird). "There's a hummer in the house!"

Ugh. I knew from experience this wasn't going to be easy. I also knew we needed to act fast, to prevent the bird from hurting itself. I walked into the living room to see poor Jer, looking frantically around the ceiling, then duck as if if a canon had been fired when the hummingbird buzzed through the room. (Okay, so I ducked, too.)

Our clumsy hummingbird rescue effort went something like this:

We rushed around and turned off all lights inside the house, propped the front door open, and hoped the hummer would fly towards light on the porch and out the door.

No such luck. And no buzzing anymore, so we grabbed flashlights and went searching the house. We found the hummingbird perched above the kitchen cabinets.

There's no way to shut off the kitchen from the rest of the house, so we tried to turn lights on, then off, then on, in succession through the house, to try to lead the bird toward a door. That ALMOST worked -- three times -- but then the hummingbird would catch a faint light through a window and fly further back into the house again.

At one point, he flew under the dining room table for some reason. I came into the room to find Jer on his elbows and knees, half under the table with his toosh in the air, talking to our bewildered intruder.

Then the hummer flew again, and Jer smacked his head on the bottom of the table. No time for sympathy, though; I had to save the little bird, who'd been leaving feathers from his own head stuck to the ceiling throughout the house, every time he'd make impact.

Then I remembered how we used to do it on the farm -- to get hummingbirds out of the house and the barns -- and I ran to the closet for a broom.I knew the bird must be getting very tired and found him again perched on a kitchen cabinet.

Luckily, this plan worked right away.

I slowly lifted the bristle end of the broom up toward the hummingbird, placing it in front of him at his feet, and he hopped right on. (Or flitted on, I guess, because hummingbirds can't walk or hop. Their feet can be used to scoot sideways, though, while they're perched.)

Then I sloooooowly lowered the broom, the bristle end with the bird as far from me as possible, and moved it towards the open door. The hummingbird seemed to know where we were going and sat still for the ride.

Once outside, he still sat there, and I moved him over toward the feeder, now illuminated by the back porch light.

Suddenly, the hummingbird lifted off, took a quick drink of nectar from the feeder, and then was gone. Jer and I rushed around to turn off all outside lights and close the door.

Phew!

Hummingbird perched at a feeder

Hummingbird perched at a feeder

A Bit About Hummingbirds

To know and understand them is to help safely remove them from the house

Hummingbirds, the tiniest birds in the world, not only fly forwards (fast!) but also backwards and sideways, and they can hover too.

On average, these little hummers need to eat seven times an hour for about 30 seconds to a minute at each feeding or they become weakened, which is one of many reasons to get them out of the house, barn or other building as quickly as possible, back outside where they can get nourishment.

When hummingbirds sleep at night, they go into a hibernation-like state referred to as "torpor" to conserve energy. During this torpor, hummingbirds might even look like they're dead and once in a while can be seen hanging upside-down. It can take as much as an hour for a hummingbird to fully recover from torpor, which can be fatal to a weak hummingbird. You can read more about hummingbirds and torpor in an interesting Science Blogs post on NationalGeographic.com.

Hummingbirds actually spend most of their lives perched.

Also, a hummingbird's favorite color is red, which is why most hummingbird feeders and commercial nectar is red in color. Keep this fact in mind if you're trying to get a hummingbird out of the house. You may want to put something red just outside the open door or window you're trying to get them to fly out of.

Hummingbirds can also see ultraviolet light.

Hummingbirds of North America

A Hummingbird in the Hand

A Hummingbird in the Hand

How to Get a Hummingbird Out of My House (or Yours)

Without injury to the bird or to you

Now that I've talked to some friends who've had similar experiences and one in particular who really knows her birds, I'll share the proper way to get a hummingbird out of the house and back outside where it belongs.

First things first ... try not to panic. Easier said than done, I know. We may be well aware that's just a cute little bird flying around, but when it's confined within the walls of our home or other building, a hummingbird can seem more like a huge, buzzing bee. I, for one, break out in a cold sweat when there's a tiny bee in the house.

Okay, so you're calm, right? Now, here's what you do....

Find the hummingbird -- hopefully it's in a room with a door or windows you can open to the outside -- and shut any interior doors, so the bird can't get into the rest of the house.

Then, close blinds and curtains so the room is completely dark, leaving open just one window or door that leads to the outside. Open the window or door as wide as possible, so the hummingbird has the best chance of finding its way out.

Turn off any lights in the room and carefully leave, making sure all other people and pets leave the room as well. Close the interior door behind you.

After a half hour or so, check to see if the hummingbird has left through the opening on its own. Don't turn on the light but stand there in the room and wait for a few minutes, remaining still, listening for the bird -- the buzzing of its wings or a little "cheeping" sound.

If you don't hear anything, turn on the light and check the room more thoroughly.

If the bird is still inside, repeat the above.

As an alternative:

If the bird doesn't leave on its own the first time, when left alone to find its way out, get a broom, mop or other long object to use as hummingbird transportation ... not to hurt the little guy (or girl).

Quietly enter the room -- just you and the hummingbird -- and shut the interior door again.

Slowly, approach the bird, holding the broom or other long object out to it. By now, the hummingbird is probably very tired, so, as my experience has been on several occasions, it may move onto the end of the broom (I hold the larger, bristled end out to the bird), and you can calmly move it toward and out the door or window.

If you can walk out the door with it and bring the hummingbird towards your feeder, it may get a quick energy drink before buzzing on its way.

I've actually had a tired hummingbird be willing to ride on my finger -- and then sometimes I could cup my hand over the bird to keep it there -- and carried it outside. If you can easily reach your hand out to a hummingbird that's been stuck inside for a while, this might work.

Hang a Hummingbird Feeder Near the House - But not TOO close to a door

Suspend one or more of these feeders from branches or hooks near the house or in your garden, in a spot where you can easily watch and enjoy the little birds. Try to keep the feeders away from open doors or windows, so the hummingbirds will be less likely to get inside.

This hummingbird feeder has 6 feeding ports and a 30-ounce capacity, with a removable circular perch. The nectar reservoir unscrews easily from feeder base for filling and cleaning.

Fill the Hummingbird Feeder - Just mix with water

Hummingbird Nectar - Mix 1 part nectar concentrate with 3 parts water for your hummingbird feeders.

Easily Keep Ants Away from your Hummingbird Feeders

Ever see a steady march of ants going to and from that sweet nectar in your hummingbird feeder? Yuck! Well, this simple yet effective and inexpensive ant trap, hung above the feeder, will prevent that from happening.

Don't just take my word for it. There are lots of very favorable reviews on Amazon.



Have You Had a Hummingbird in Your House? - If so, what did you do?

Share your "wild critter in the house" story (the short version here, and if you want to give more details, there's a guestbook below).

What kind of wild critter has gotten into your house?

© 2012 Deb Kingsbury

Thank You for Buzzing By - Please leave a comment and let me know you were here....

yvi kosta on August 27, 2019:

Humming bird syrup: heat 4 cups water and dissolve 1 cup sucrose (plain white sugar only) don't use food coloring, the red on the feeder is enough.

Deb Kingsbury (author) from Flagstaff, Arizona on December 17, 2018:

Since I'm just seeing your question, I hope by now your uninvited little guest has left the apartment. If it was nighttime and the hummingbird was still inside, I'd suggest turning off all interior lights and then turn one on outside the front door or the terrace door, and hopefully he (or she) would fly toward the light. Best of luck ... to you and the hummingbird!

Jake on December 16, 2018:

I have one rt now in apt. I have both front door and terrace door open. It ha been flying at ceiling height and keeps going back and forth to ceiling fan and window rt above door. It doesn't seem to change it's path to find either wide open door. 3 hours now. Any suggestions? Tried broom but it kept flying away from it.

5:50 pm pst December 16 , 2018.

Deb Kingsbury (author) from Flagstaff, Arizona on December 10, 2018:

That's good news! I guess you must be in a warm climate if hummingbirds are around at this time of year.

Maura on December 08, 2018:

How amazing to find your blog post as the first result of my “How to get a hummingbird out of the house” google search! The bird eventually landed on our Christmas tree. The broom trick worked like a charm. Thank you!

Deb Kingsbury (author) from Flagstaff, Arizona on August 27, 2018:

That's good news!

Thank you! on August 27, 2018:

Just had a hummingbird fly in our home and use the broom truck. Worked like a charm! Thank you for this helpful post.

Sejal Pawar on September 23, 2017:

We just had a humm in our house like right before I read this and I started to get scared and all because I thought it might hurt itself. But at last we hung the feeder to outdoor and while the humm took a sip from it, we started to close the door and then shut it. It worked but I am scared that it is lost outside because it is like dark right now.

Kathy McGraw from California on August 06, 2014:

I have had the unfortunate experience of having a hummingbird come into the house a few times, as well as the same experience at my daughters. We have a net to use as the birds love to go up into the skylights, even when someone climbs on the roof and covers them it's hard to get the bird out.

Shelly Sellers from Midwest U.S.A. on August 05, 2014:

I only see a few hummingbirds each year. They are so fun to watch...outside though :)

Heidi Vincent from GRENADA on August 05, 2014:

Congratulations on winning LOTD! Lovely story and wonderful lens!

TedWritesStuff on August 05, 2014:

What an unusual topic.. Thanks for the tips and the entertaining story!

jlshernandez on August 05, 2014:

We have not had a hummingbird fly into the house yet. Our patio screen doors are always closed after we leave or enter the house. But anything is possible. Thanks for the tip so I can be prepared/

altkleider on August 05, 2014:

Einfach nur super!!!

Lee Hansen from Vermont on August 05, 2014:

We haven't had to escort a hummer out the door, but I once had to rescue one from my cat's jaws. The kitty snatched the hummer in flight as it was dining from red impatiens planted in low boxes on our porch. I shouted at the cat to DROP IT, which she did immediately, then rushed over to check on the poor little bird. I held it in my palm and thought it was dead, but in about 20 seconds it opened its eyes and turned its head up at me a bit, then made a quick chirp and flew off!

Lee Hansen from Vermont on August 05, 2014:

We haven't had to escort a hummer out the door, but I once had to rescue one from my cat's jaws. The kitty snatched the hummer in flight as it was dining from red impatiens planted in low boxes on our porch. I shouted at the cat to DROP IT, which she did immediately, then rushed over to check on the poor little bird. I held it in my palm and thought it was dead, but in about 20 seconds it opened its eyes and turned its head up at me a bit, then made a quick chirp and flew off!

Fiorenza from UK on August 05, 2014:

We don't have hummingbirds in the UK, but they look lovely on TV. Glad you got that one out unharmed!

Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on August 05, 2014:

We feed hummingbirds outside the kitchen windows. So far no intruders, but I'm really glad I read this just in case. Congratulations on your very helpful (though I hope I never need the help) Lens of the Day today!

shivam2991 on August 05, 2014:

www.happyrakshabandhan2014.com

Maggie42 on August 04, 2014:

We don't have hummingbirds in Australia but of course we have other birds that get in the house. I kept wondering what happened to the pizza! Congratulations on LOD

Peggy Hazelwood from Desert Southwest, U.S.A. on August 04, 2014:

Oh man, this brought back memories of a house I had where bats got in my house from the attic. I hated that. Thanks for the great instructions on getting a bird out.

MJ Martin aka Ruby H Rose from Washington State on May 24, 2013:

what a great lens about chasing hummingbirds, like we can ever keep up with them. Whoa, have I ever needed to learn this lesson in my life. They are my number one totem, always with me, always will be. When the sunshine is really bright in our yard, our house is pretty dark, I use to hate that, not anymore. My little hummingbird friends must forever remain free, or so they die, I have read, and mostly I believe and know it is true. Great, helpful, funny and useful story, thanks.

Trixiesmom2u on August 20, 2012:

Awesome lens. Great info and wonderful humor.

gadgetchecker on August 19, 2012:

wow, here in the uk we're not going to get such an experience, but I'd love it, they're amazing little birds

fullofshoes on August 17, 2012:

Never even thought that would be possible, a hummingbird in the house! We have the little critters flying about our yard on occasion so this lens is bookmarked!! ~blessed~

hntrssthmpsn on August 15, 2012:

Wow... I thought it was just me! I've also had multiple invasions by curious hummingbirds, other birds, and animals. I'm pretty sure they're attracted to my beautiful smile, but my son thinks it's because I like all the windows and doors open. I guess he may be onto something.

pheonix76 from WNY on August 13, 2012:

I enjoyed reading about your experiences. I once had a friend tell me about how a hummingbird got caught in her office building and everyone had a heck of a time getting it out! I can imagine a butterfly net would be a good thing to have around at such a time. I had two comments: if your "guy" hummer was a male, he wasn't nesting. Male hummingbirds perform no parental duties aside from fertilizing the egg. Also, hummingbirds will be active at dusk and they migrate at night. Thanks again for sharing! :)

daedrea lm on August 13, 2012:

Sorry forgot about the link to the picture. Just search Jamaica 50 logo and you'll see it. Great lens again.

daedrea lm on August 13, 2012:

Didn't know about this . Thanks. I'm originally from Jamaica and the hummingbird is actually the country's national bird. It's colours are the same colours on our flag: black, green and gold. It's even on the logo of Jamaica's 50th anniversary of it's independence which was recently on August 6th. Luckily I got to be there to celebrate it. Here's a link to a pic of the logo .

Hummingbirds are truly interesting little creatures. If they ever come in my house when I'm back in JA, now I'll know what to do. Thanks :)

Elaine Chen on August 13, 2012:

I never know there is a method to get a hummingbird out of house; thanks for creating such informative lens

Kirsti A. Dyer from Northern California on August 13, 2012:

Congrats on being a Purple Powerhouse.

Titia Geertman from Waterlandkerkje - The Netherlands on August 13, 2012:

Lovely lens. As I said before, where I live there are no hummingbirds.

LynetteBell from Christchurch, New Zealand on August 13, 2012:

Nice lens

Anthony Altorenna from Connecticut on August 13, 2012:

We have several hummingbirds that gather around the feeder and visit our gardens but so far, none have ventured into the house. I really like your tip on using a broom stick as a mobile perch.

LisaDH on August 13, 2012:

We had a hummer fly into our garage once and get caught in a cobweb. But he let us grab him, pull off the cobweb, and away he flew.

klaird on August 13, 2012:

My neighbor had a hummingbird in her house and she came to get me to help get it out. It was very comical, and finally we got it out of the sliding glass door by coaxing it with a broom.

Ellen Gregory from Connecticut, USA on August 13, 2012:

This is good information to have in case a hummingbird ever does get in.

Stephen Bush from Ohio on August 13, 2012:

SquidAngel blessings.

pawpaw911 on August 13, 2012:

Wow, hope I never have to use your helpful information on how to get a hummingbird out of your house. I sure got a visual though.

jlshernandez on August 13, 2012:

I hope this never happens to me. So far, the hummers just hang out by the back porch. Thanks for sharing the important tips on getting a trapped hummingbird out of the house.

DebMartin on August 13, 2012:

Thanks for the tips. I never thought of the broom idea. A couple of thinks I have found that work in addition to your great suggestions are to put something red in the opening to attract them toward the open door or window. And, I moved my hummingbird feeders farther away from the house which greatly reduced the number of birds getting in by mistake.

BarbaraCasey on August 13, 2012:

We don't get hummingbirds in our house... quite a few lizards, though. Great story and removal technique.

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