How to Heal a Broken Hummingbird Wing

Marilla Mulwane

Hummingbirds fly fast and can easily hit windows or other objects that will knock it out of the sky. Since hummingbirds are flying at top speeds, the hit may break a wing. Hummingbirds cannot eat when grounded. They have weak legs and are not able to move about to even grab a bug.

Humminbirds can fly up to 30 miles per hour.

A broken wing prevents them from flying to flowers or feeders. Broken bones can set within 24 hours, so if you find a hummingbird with a broken wing, you must act fast.

  1. Ready the shoe box for the hummingbird. Line the box with the towel. Use a towel that does not have any loose strings. The bird might get tangled in them.

  2. Poke holes in the lid of the shoe box. The holes should be big enough to let plenty of air in, but not too big that the hummingbird will get out.

  3. Approach the injured hummingbird slowly. Squat near the bird and stay quiet. Cup the bird in your hands carefully. As long as you are slow and gentle, the hummingbird should not try to jump away. If the bird is scared, it will try to jump and possibly become more injured.

  4. Place the bird in the box and cover it with the lid. Leave the box in a warm, but not hot, area away from cats and dogs. Do not bring the bird into an air-conditioned home. The jump from warm to cold will only harm the bird.

  5. Call your local wildlife rehabilitator or Department of Environmental Rehabilitation. Call a local conservation park for more information, or search the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association website to locate a local rehabilitator.

  6. Ask the rehabilitator what you can do for the broken wing before someone is able to pick up the bird.

  7. Tip

    Hummingbirds need to eat constantly. Feed the hummingbird several times an hour while waiting for the rehabilitator. Give the bird sugar water, fruit, flies or hummingbird formula purchased from a local veterinarian. If the bird does not appear to be injured, carefully pick it up and try to get it to drink from a feeder. Set the bird down and wait to see if it flies off. Sometimes the hummingbird is just stunned.


    Hummingbirds need peace and quiet. Too many sounds and too much stress may kill it. It is illegal in many states to keep wild birds in captivity. If you are turned in for having a wild bird longer than 24 hours, you may face a fine.