If you’ve ever watched a hummingbird flying at full speed as its wings beat together and its body seems to buzz with excitement, you understand why the little guy probably needs a nap. The tiny creatures never seem to slow down. The truth is that they do sleep every day. They even have a special system perfectly designed for sleeping. In this article we are taking a look at hummingbird sleeping habits, and also answering the question: where do hummingbirds sleep?
The Day Of A Hummingbird
The hummingbird is always using its energy. Just like a human after a long day of hard work, they need a night to recover. The amount of energy they use during the day is overwhelming. They also feed a few times an hour. Hummingbirds love flower nectar. This gives them high energy from natural sugars. They also sometimes consume small insects. These insects are full of fats and proteins. The hummingbird’s metabolism is going at an insane speed, so they need a lot of food for their tiny bodies. They actually have such a big appetite that it rivals a human eating an entire fridge of food in a day. They can eat about three times their body weight in nectar or insects every day.
It’s not possible to get in much of a nap during their exciting day. These little guys flap their wings at a speed of 70 wingbeats per second. Their muscles are so strong they can hover in one place while they eat. These tiny warm-blooded creatures rely on their body heat. Their normal body temperature is 105 degrees Fahrenheit. They have fewer feathers than many other birds. This is because their light weight makes it possible for them to fly forward, backward, and hover in place. This means the insulation they get from their feathers is next to nothing. The birds know as night falls that it is time to find a place to sleep because the temperature is going to drop soon.
Where Do Hummingbirds Sleep?
It’s usually normal to see a cat taking a nap on a porch or watch your dog sprawled on your patio in a deep slumber. Seeing a hummingbird in its slumber isn’t as normal. So, where do hummingbirds sleep? These little creatures may be small, but they are smart. They know how to find the best place to sleep for the night. Their hummingbird’s brain is made up of about four percent of its weight. The human brain is about two percent of our body weight. They can often remember every flower they’ve eaten from or their own migration route. This is how they know where to find the best places to sleep.
They like to find a quiet little area of shelter at night. They often latch to a branch or anywhere they can grab tightly with their tiny feet. They like to be protected from natural elements. they’ll often choose a thick tree or bush for this reason. A female hummingbird with young babies will sleep on her nest. Many times when a bird is perched on something they will loosen the grip allowing them to flip upside down still sleeping on the branch. They’ve been known to sleep hanging from a bird feeder. Sometimes people think a bird in this position is dead when in reality it is just sleeping.
How A Hummingbird Sleeps
Most hummingbirds live in warmer climate areas, but they still must ensure their body can withstand colder temperatures at night. They’re tiny creatures meaning they must adapt to a special way of sleeping. Their body goes into a state of torpor when they go to sleep. Torpor is a simple way of saying hummingbirds can hibernate each night. Their lightning-fast metabolism slows down as they get ready to sleep. The temperature of their body will drop almost to a hypothermic state. This helps them hold on to crucial energy that they’ll need when they wake up. Their heart rate slows from 1200 to 50 beats per minute. Their feathers will fluff and their necks will retract as they sleep.
This is a tricky state for a bird. During torpor, they are in a sort of hibernation so they won’t be able to respond to any outside stimuli. They cannot do anything until their body temperature rises again. This is a risk for their safety, but it saves their energy to live the next day.
Time To Wake Up
Unlike some creatures that hibernate throughout an entire season, the hummingbird wakes up each day. It may take from 20 minutes to an hour for the little creature to entirely wake up. Just like people, they may make funny noises as they begin to take in breathing in more oxygen. Their heart rate starts to rise. As they start to breathe normally, they will appear to shiver. This helps the blood pumping through their body. The first thing they do when they’re fully awake is fly to find some breakfast to boost their energy.
Exceptions To Hummingbird Sleep
These little birds are full of surprises. They don’t always sleep in this perfect state. There are always exceptions to the rules.
Sometimes a hummingbird will find itself in a place with lots of unnatural light even though it is nighttime. This might be on a porch or in a garden area. The birds will decide they should eat late into the night. Think of it as late-night partying for the birds.
The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird will cross the Mexican Gulf during migration. This flight is so long at 20 hours that the birds don’t get a chance to take a rest. They will fly instead of sleep until they reach their destination.
Sometimes a weak hummingbird won’t awaken from a state of torpor. It takes a lot of energy to go in and out of this state of sleep. The tiny birds are much tougher than many people think. They work all day eating and flying. They play hard as they fly through the air at warp speed. It only makes sense that each night they need to replenish this lost energy. If you ever see a sweet hummingbird in a sleeping state, let it chill out. Enjoy the rare occasion to see a sleeping bird. In just a few hours, it will be awake and ready to flap its wings at a wild rate of speed.
- Want to attract more hummingbirds to your backyard? We’ve got your back, check out our article on transforming your backyard into a hummingbird sanctuary.
- Interested in learning more about hummingbirds? Here’s 10 interesting facts and myths about hummingbirds.