You’re probably accustomed to seeing hummingbirds hovering around bright-colored flowers on a sunny day, but where do hummingbirds go when it rains?
Can their little bodies handle the weight of a downpour against them?
Surprisingly, hummingbirds are safe in light to moderate rain but must find shelter if the downpour becomes too severe.
Read on to learn more about hummingbirds, where to find them, and what they do in the rain.
You can find hummingbirds in their usual spots during a light rainstorm, such as nearby nectar-producing flowers. Hummingbirds usually find a sheltered place to wait out heavy rain., such as vegetation along a tree trunk or in dense foilage on a tree’s branches.
Hummingbirds are small colorful birds that feed on nectar. They are easily recognizable by:
- Bright feathers
- Unique flying abilities
- Jaw-dropping speed
Unlike many other birds, hummingbirds can fly extremely fast and backward.
They can also hover in one place in mid-air, usually when eating nectar from flowers.
Where Do Hummingbirds Live?
Hummingbirds live in North America but migrate to Central America for the winter months.
If you live in North America, you will most likely see them in the spring and early summer.
Hummingbirds migrate to Southern Mexico and Central America for the winter months.
Most of a hummingbird’s diet consists of nectar, so they must travel to find blossoming flowers to sustain themselves.
Interestingly, hummingbirds use basic math to track where flowers are and return to them later.
Some species of hummingbirds remain in the Western United States all year, despite somewhat harsher weather in the winter months.
As long as they have plenty of nectar-rich flowers, hummingbirds will not migrate to other locations.
If you live in North America and do not see hummingbirds, you can attract them to your yard by planting flowers that produce large amounts of nectar.
Look for tubular flowers with large petals and bright colors. Plant a few, and you’ll be spotting hummingbirds in no time.
Tip: Attract hummingbirds to your yard by planting tubular flowers that produce a lot of nectar.
Despite the vulnerability that comes with their small size, hummingbirds actually do like the rain. You will often find them outside during light or moderate rainfall.
These little birds love to bathe, and the rain provides them with an opportunity to do so.
You can often find hummingbirds preening in the rain, easily recognizable by their puffed-up feathers.
They will also use their beaks to wash and remove dirt from their feathers.
Rain makes this essential part of their bathing process more effective as it washes away the dirt they clean from themselves.
Hummingbirds can fly and feed in the rain without adverse effects in most situations.
They can adjust their flight patterns to make it easier to stay in flight even when rain is falling on them.
The exception is if the weather is significantly cold or the rain is a torrential downpour.
Severe cold and heavy rain can put hummingbirds at risk of sickness or death. In these situations, hummingbirds will find shelter to wait out the storm.
Yes – Hummingbirds can get their wings wet. In fact, they can happily get their heads and entire bodies wet.
Although hummingbirds enjoy getting wet in the rain and bathing, they have mechanisms to remove water from their wings and bodies.
This study by NPR revealed that hummingbirds remove excess water by shaking their heads back and forth.
This motion is similar to what dogs and other animals use to release water from their fur.
The significant difference between hummingbirds and these other animals is the speed.
Hummingbirds complete the motion extremely fast - less than .01 seconds in total.
Hummingbirds need to remove excess water from their wings because it is difficult to fly if their wings are soaked or saturated with water.
Hummingbird wings already beat exceptionally quickly to keep these little birds airborne.
Adding additional water weight can make it much harder on them.
Tip: Don’t try to watch hummingbirds shake their heads. The motion is only visible by recording the bird and playing the tape in very slow motion.
Yes, hummingbirds can fly in the rain.
Regardless of their small size compared to other birds, hummingbirds will need to feed at least every two days, so they must find a way to fly in the rain.
While light and moderate rain do not significantly impact the way a hummingbird flies, heavy rain forces hummingbirds to change their flight style.
For starters, hummingbirds will hover horizontally, exposing more of their bodies to the heavy rain.
This requires them to beat their wings even faster to stay in flight, requiring much more energy from the bird.
The adjusted flight style allows less rain to land on their wings, ensuring they can continue to fly and pull nectar from flowers even in the rain.
Although hummingbirds can fly in the rain, they find shelter during raging storms or severe wet weather.
If they are not sheltering from intense rainfall, hummingbirds usually frequent their usual spots during a rainstorm.
If the rain is not too heavy, search for hummingbirds around flowers that provide the nectar they love to eat.
These are usually tubular and brightly colored flowers. If you have a hummingbird feeder, they will likely still visit it until the rain becomes too heavy for them to comfortably fly there.
Hummingbirds have powerful feet that help them grip twigs and small branches. Once they perch on a twig, they can anchor themselves against strong winds.
They will use this strategy to survive severe rain or other inclement weather.
Because of their ability to perch on small twigs and branches, hummingbirds find areas of dense vegetation to shelter in during torrential rain.
These areas are usually thick leaves or foliage in a tree’s branches. Still, you can also find hummingbirds sheltering in vegetation along a tree trunk.
Tip: Search for hummingbirds around nectar-rich plants or in thick foilage during rainstorms.
Hummingbirds usually bathe in light or moderate rain.
They enjoy anchoring themselves to a branch, preening, fluffing up their feathers, and making the most of the shower around them.
Hummingbirds will feed in the rain. Because of their adjusted flight style, hummingbirds will still be able to hover above flowers in the rain.
This means they can continue pulling nectar from plants and feeding during most rainstorms.
As mentioned above, if the rain is too heavy for them, they will take shelter in the leaves and branches of trees until milder weather emerges.
The vegetation offers them warmth and protection from heavy rainfall.
Hummingbirds sleep in the thick leaves and branches of trees when it rains.
Severe rainy weather can contribute to dangerous temperatures for hummingbirds, so they will take as much shelter as possible during intense rainstorms.
Their small size makes them susceptible to cold weather maladies. They can even die if they become too cold.
Luckily, the leaves and branches of nearby trees usually provide enough shelter to protect hummingbirds until the morning. In addition to this shelter, hummingbirds are also aided by their state of torpor.
Torpor is similar to hibernation. It reduces the hummingbirds’ metabolism and body temperature, helping these tiny birds survive cold or torrential rainy nights.
It is a form of adaptation the birds have developed over time.
Tip: Do not disturb hummingbirds when they are in torpor.
You know you can find them hovering around bright, tubular, nectar-rich flowers, but where do hummingbirds go when it rains?
Hummingbirds are fascinating creatures that can thrive in sunny weather or light to moderate rainfall.
If the rain isn’t too heavy, you can find hummingbirds and other birds flying outside in their usual spots.
However, they will take shelter in thick vegetation and foliage around trees if the downpour becomes torrential.