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How to Get a Hummingbird Out of the House

Updated on September 15, 2016
A female Brazilian Ruby Hummingbird
A female Brazilian Ruby Hummingbird | Source

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

Source

And this is how you SHOULD get a hummingbird out of the house or barn or other building....

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

Audubon Park 1661 Hummingbird Food Nectar Powder, 9-Ounce
Audubon Park 1661 Hummingbird Food Nectar Powder, 9-Ounce

This is all-natural hummingbird sucrose food, including three 3-ounce packets. Each packet makes 15 ounces of nectar.

 

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

First Nature 3054 Red Hummingbird Nectar, 32-ounce Concentrate
First Nature 3054 Red Hummingbird Nectar, 32-ounce Concentrate

Some people prefer to use liquid concentrate rather than dry mixes. With concentrate, there's no boiling water and no sticky cleanup.

This 32 oz. bottle makes a full gallon of nectar when mixed with three parts water.

Or you can make your own hummingbird nectar with this easy recipe using regular, white sugar.

 

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?

A bird (hummingbird or other bird) got into the house....

A bird (hummingbird or other bird) got into the house....

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    • Deb Kingsbury 4 months ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      It really can be quite an ordeal, can't it? I'm just glad your "little visitor" finally got out. Hopefully, after a rest it went on its happy, healthy way.

    • anonymous 4 months ago

      I tried all of these ways, putting red items, and flowers near the exists, and covering other windows, and even attempted to pick it up, having it fly at me and freak me out. I was very distressed, having read that they can basicly stress themselves to death. And this poor little guy had been through quite the ordeal, having been brought in by my cat, then wizzing around and hitting the slidding glass door many times. It does not help much to have a house that is completley in a red color scheme either, it would freak out every couple minutes, fly around, wack someting then hunker next to a new red item. I felt terrible, and had tried all the ticks to coaxing it out nothing seemed to work, but I desperatly wanted this little fella to live, so kept trying. This went on for like 40 min, and tho it kept hidding under the table, finnaly it flew around and wacking the glass door once more, flew around again, perched on a painting, then on some high shelves, it fluttered twords the glass doors, right at the edge where one was glass, and the other open, and finally flew out! yay! I hope it lives and is okay. My cat will definetly get told off for this ha.

    • MJ Martin aka Ruby H Rose 4 years ago from Washington State

      chickadees are usually the ones who fly into our house from the feeders. In an old house we use to live in, I use to chase bats out of it with a broom. Hummingbirds do hoover all over my porch, where their feeders and flowers are. I will be careful of the lighting inside while the doors are open, so these wonderful little birds aren't trapped inside.

      When we didn't have a dog, raccoons use to think they could come right in.

      And mice, still try sometimes, thankfully we still have a cat who will come around, reminding them, achem, stay outta the house.....

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      I lived in an apartment building and a hummingbird got caught in the laundry room. The apartment manager somehow got it out. The poor thing (the hummingbird) kept running into the glass window trying to escape.

    • OMENA777 4 years ago

      I will know what to do should hummingbird come visit me. They are amazing birds. I've had a bat come into the house. We got him out safely. Thanks for your lovely lens

    • LynetteBell 4 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      A dove flew into the house while I was in the office. I was told it most likely a white pigeon but it sure looked like a dove. I was worried the dog would go for him.

      When we had the September 2010 earthquake a sparrow appeared in our gas chimney. We eventually managed to open the front of the fireplace but it hid in the vent that obviously had been it's entrance. We put some water and water soaked breadcrumbs in front of the fireplace. Eventually he ventured out and I placed a tea-towel over him. Picked him up and took out to the outdoors. He probably had to search out some mates as all the birds disappeared for some time after the quakes.

    • DebMartin 4 years ago

      Birds for sure. Hummingbirds yes. Also mice, squirrels, chipmunks, and yes, even a bear.

    A wild animal (squirrel, deer, bear, etc. etc.) got into the house....

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      • Yoyoonthego@gmail.com 16 months ago

        I have a hummingbird in my house and the only red drink is a smashed strawberry in a bit of water and some sugar.

        Will this do, is it safe for the bird

      • OJC 2 years ago

        Cute little guy/girl came fluttering in. Didn't scare me as I love these little birds but don't know much about their feeding habits. That said, I didn't worry that he/she was just 'chilling' in my living room with me, occasionally going from potted plant branch to other high places where they could perch. Posted to Facebook the pix/videos which got tons of comments. The little guy/girl hung around for like 3 hours. That was fine with me as I had ALL windows open and figured it'd leave on its own when they were ready. Well, a friend informed me of the eating schedules of these birds. I quickly jumped into action as I got scared the little thing might starve!!! It took me about 30 minutes but it finally landed on the end of the broom and I sloooooowly walked it over to the window and off they went! I hope they are getting their grub on right now and doing ok! =)

      • Deb Kingsbury 2 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

        Yay! Glad to hear it worked for you too!

      • bob 2 years ago

        Awesome, the broom worked! We had a hummingbird trapped under a big umbrella we have out back, poor little guy seemed confused and it was getting dark, took the broom out and just kept slowly, gently moving it under where he was (he moved around a bit) and finally hopped on the umbrella until we were clear and away he went, thanks for the tip!

      • Trixiesmom2u 4 years ago

        Raccoons, ugh. Mice, a long time at, double ugh.

      • hntrssthmpsn 4 years ago

        Birds and other animals love to invade my house. Our most recent and unfortunate invading critter was a skunk. The results were spectacularly horrible. I contemplated just moving.

      • pheonix76 4 years ago from WNY

        Aside from insects and arachnids, we have been fortunate to not have any critters get inside the house! My grandparents have had several woodpeckers fly into their house and a hawk!

      • Titia Geertman 4 years ago from Waterlandkerkje - The Netherlands

        Lots of critters in the house, but hummingbirds don't live here.

      • anonymous 4 years ago

        No birds, but squirrels and lizards!

      © 2012 Deb Kingsbury

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

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        • profile image

          BarbaraCasey 4 years ago

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

        • profile image

          DebMartin 4 years ago

          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.

        • jlshernandez profile image

          jlshernandez 4 years ago

          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.

        • profile image

          pawpaw911 4 years ago

          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.

        • bushaex profile image

          Stephen Bush 4 years ago from Ohio

          SquidAngel blessings.

        • LiteraryMind profile image

          Ellen Gregory 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

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

        • profile image

          klaird 4 years ago

          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.

        • LisaDH profile image

          LisaDH 4 years ago

          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.

        • Anthony Altorenna profile image

          Anthony Altorenna 4 years ago from Connecticut

          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.

        • LynetteBell profile image

          LynetteBell 4 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

          Nice lens

        • HealthfulMD profile image

          Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

          Congrats on being a Purple Powerhouse.

        • Elaine Chen profile image

          Elaine Chen 4 years ago

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

        • daedrea lm profile image

          daedrea lm 4 years ago

          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 :)

        • daedrea lm profile image

          daedrea lm 4 years ago

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

        • pheonix76 profile image

          pheonix76 4 years ago from WNY

          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! :)

        • hntrssthmpsn profile image

          hntrssthmpsn 4 years ago

          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.

        • profile image

          fullofshoes 4 years ago

          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~

        • profile image

          gadgetchecker 4 years ago

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

        • Trixiesmom2u profile image

          Trixiesmom2u 4 years ago

          Awesome lens. Great info and wonderful humor.

        • Scarlettohairy profile image

          Peggy Hazelwood 2 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

          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.

        • Maggie42 profile image

          Maggie42 2 years ago

          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

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          shivam2991 2 years ago

          www.happyrakshabandhan2014.com

        • SusanDeppner profile image

          Susan Deppner 2 years ago from Arkansas USA

          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!

        • Fiorenza profile image

          Fiorenza 2 years ago from UK

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

        • Lee Hansen profile image

          Lee Hansen 2 years ago from Vermont

          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 profile image

          Lee Hansen 2 years ago from Vermont

          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!

        • altkleider profile image

          altkleider 2 years ago

          Einfach nur super!!!

        • jlshernandez profile image

          jlshernandez 2 years ago

          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/

        • tedwritesstuff24 profile image

          TedWritesStuff 2 years ago

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

        • Heidi Vincent profile image

          Heidi Vincent 2 years ago from GRENADA

          Congratulations on winning LOTD! Lovely story and wonderful lens!

        • shellys-space profile image

          Shelly Sellers 2 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

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

        • KathyMcGraw2 profile image

          Kathy McGraw 2 years ago from California

          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.

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