As a passionate bird watcher, there is always a sense of fulfillment and joy in seeing hummingbirds in your backyard. Apart from their agile and erratic movements, their ability to fly backwards and sideways is a sight to behold. But what is unique about this bird is we do not see them at night, which is quite different from other birds.
So, where do hummingbirds go at night? There are two possible answers to this question. First is the hummingbird’s probability of resting and sleeping in their preferred location, which humans do not generally see. Second, the hummingbirds usually fly and transfer to their preferred location at night during migration.
Hummingbirds Go to Trees at Night for Deep Sleeping
At night, hummingbirds usually disappear from the human view, making them unique and fascinating. Most bird enthusiasts and bird watchers often wonder where these birds go at night. However, this bird is actually not going anywhere when darkness is approaching.
Hummingbirds will go to a place where they can peacefully rest and sleep undisturbed throughout the night. They will likely spend in tree cavities which are sheltered, warm, and protected.
These birds like to go into a deep sleep which means finding a sheltered spot on a tree is essential so that they will remain protected from the wind, cold, and even the rain. Hummingbirds’ sleeping habits are different from those of other birds as they go into a state of hibernation while they are sleeping.
Understand Hummingbird’s Sleeping Habit
During the day, hummingbirds spend so much energy because they are constantly flying. They are always in flight; they are still hovering even when eating. With this constant activity during the day, these tiny little birds will need a peaceful sleep during the night to recover and preserve their energy.
Before they sleep, the hummingbirds will try to find a protected area in tree branches for them to sleep at night. The sleeping habit of hummingbirds is not a usual sleeping habit as they usually go into deep sleep or hibernation.
This sleeping state is called torpor, in which the birds go into a very deep sleep where sometimes they appear to be dead already. Some hummingbirds even hang upside down while they are sleeping at night. This sleeping state of this bird species is unique, but there are reasons behind this sleeping habit.
When the hummingbirds are in a state of torpor, their metabolism decreases while their body temperature also drops. This situation allows the body to preserve more energy while trying to tolerate the cold during the night.
Please note that a hummingbird’s heart may beat up to 1200 times per minute during the day. But when the birds are sleeping, they will only beat about 50 beats per minute which means they will certainly conserve their energy when they are sleeping.
When the hummingbird sleeps upside down, similar to a bat, there is actually no issue with this sleeping habit. The bird’s feet are designed so that they can lock around a tree branch preventing the bird from falling down to the ground.
But why do the hummingbirds do it? When a hummingbird does not want to use energy to stay upright, the birds tend to change their position by hanging upside down. This change of position comes naturally because they will continue with their deep sleep while changing their sleeping position.
How long Do Hummingbirds Sleep?
To be able to understand how long birds sleep during the night, it is essential for you to know that these birds usually start settling down about half an hour before sunset. Then, they will go into torpor from dusk until dawn.
But how long will depend on several factors such as the season, the location, the weather, and the food supply. But all in all, expect the hummingbirds to sleep between 8 to 16 hours overnight. Hummingbirds are also early risers and expect them to forage for food the moment they wake up.
Hummingbirds Fly at Night During Migration
During migration, hummingbirds usually fly during the day while sleeping during the night. But this situation is sometimes not the case because there are sightings of a few hummingbird species flying at night during migration.
This situation usually happens during the fall and spring migration when there is no place to rest or sleep at night time. Those ruby-throated hummingbirds are expected to fly over the Gulf of Mexico by taking a 500-mile flight over the ocean.
With no place to rest or sleep, it is expected that these birds will fly non-stop until they reach their destination. So, it is expected that these hummingbirds will be flying even at night. This flight will make them fly for 20 hours, including flying in the dark.
Apart from flying at night during migrations, there are also instances that you will see hummingbirds flying at night. In some locations, especially those places with so much artificial lighting, you will probably see some hummingbirds looking for food.
When a particular location comes with so much security or porch lights, it is likely that you will see hummingbirds may feed well at night, especially during the summer season. Similar to other birds, they rely on the lighting of the environment around them, which means that these artificial lights can influence them to wake up prematurely during their sleep.
Where do hummingbirds go at night? Most of the time, hummingbirds will just find a suitable place for them to sleep well during the night. This place may be on a branch of a tree that is secure and safe enough for their sleeping habit. You will also probably see some hummingbirds flying at night, but this usually happens during migration.