Hummingbird FAQ

Posted March 15, 2021 by Sasha, Wildlife Technician


How do I maintain my hummingbird feeder in freezing weather?

What is torpor?

What is the best way to clean my feeder?

What are signs of distress in hummingbirds?


How do I maintain my hummingbird feeder in freezing weather?

  • Hang the feeder in a protected place. A covered porch/windbreak will prevent the feeder from getting covered with snow and keep it from freezing longer. Keeping it close to your home will provide protection & a great view!
  • Bring it in, or switch them out! Bring your feeder in at night to prevent freezing.
    Hummingbirds will feed heavily at dusk and then go into thick bushes, like cedar hedges or junipers, to sleep. Keep feeders out until the sun goes down and then rehang a fresh, warm feeder first thing in the morning.
    If you can’t wake up in time, simply have two feeders, and switch them out as they freeze. This technique will also help you keep your feeders nice & clean as you can wash them out as you swap them!
  • Invest in a Hummingbird Feeder Heaters. There are products on the market made specifically to keep feeders from freezing. For example, Hummingbird Hearth Heater (CSA approved)
  • Get creative!
    • Use a wool sock for insulation
    • Wrap non-LED lights around the feeder
    • Point a spotlight or heat lamp at the feeder

What is torpor?

Hummingbirds don’t hibernate in the traditional sense, but they can go into an energy-saving mode called “torpor” on cold winter nights.
During this state, hummingbirds are vulnerable to predator attacks. Please supervise any pets outside to prevent injuries.

What is the best way to clean my feeder?

Feeders should be cleaned every 3-5 days. Wash out with hot water and a bottle brush, make sure to scrub the flower feeders as well! Re-fill with fresh sugar water. Clean feeders once a month with a 10% bleach solution, rinse copiously and let dry fully before use.

What are signs of distress in hummingbirds?

Hummingbirds found grounded need help. Other signs of distress include: weakness, soiled feathers, tongue hanging out and obvious injuries. Call Wildlife Rescue at 604-526-7275 if you find a hummingbird displaying one or more of these signs.

Need more help?

Call your local wildlife rehabilitator for assistance.

Please share with friends and family.

You can download a PDF of this FAQ here to print out and share.




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