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Hummingbird love!

The best way to care for these amazing little hummers.

Hummingbird hovering beside pink tubular flower

Would you believe there are over 300 species of hummingbird in the Americas alone? 51 of these reside in Costa Rica.

We’re delighted to have several species of hummingbird living wild and free within Rescate Wildlife Sanctuary grounds. This means we’re providing the right bio-diverse habitat required by these alluring little hummers!   Hummingbirds live on mountaintops, lowlands, dry forest, scrubland, even desert – and they love the tropical rainforest which is preserved and protected in Costa Rica.

Here, these nectar-loving birds find plenty of nourishment for the energy needed to power that famous wing speed  – up to 100 beats per second.  So much faster than the eye can see, their unique wing power enables them to hover over the local foliage while their long beaks probe for the richest nectar at the bottom of long tubular flowers.

Hummingbird hovering while feeding from pink tubular flower's nectar
Photo credit: GeorgeB2, Pixabay

What species of hummingbird can you see at Rescate Wildlife?

A species most often seen living wild in our grounds is this bright litte fellow, the Blue-Throated Sapphire  (previously known as the Blue-Thoated Goldentail).

Photo credit: Tom Schultz

We are also visited by the stunning Green-Crowned Brilliant

Green-crowned Brilliant hummingbird of Central America
Photo courtesy of @sebazu99

…as well as the  Cinnamon HummingbirdSteely-Vented Hummingbird and Green-Breasted Mango.

Our hummingbird rescue and care

We rescue, care for and release numerous hummingbirds every year. Hummingbirds, like so many other creatures, are impacted by industrialization and human habitations encroaching on their eco-system.  Some birds we receive are injured from flying into windows, and sometimes they are fledglings from abandoned nests. (see below for our tips about these)

You can make our little hummers’ wishes come true!

To grow strong and healthy, these baby hummingbirds need a very specialized diet. At Rescate, our birds receive a daily fruit fly, caught by the staff here.  But  we mainly feed them a product called Nektar-Plus Nectar Concentrate for Hummers, which contains all the vitamins, minerals and amino acids they need.

While this nectar concentrate is ideal for our little feathered friends, it costs $65 per 600 gram bottle.

You can contribute to their wellbeing by gifting hummingbird food through our Amazon Wishlist.      If you’re an Amazon member, this is an easy way to help out these amazing babies, and assist us in returning hummingbirds back into the wild.

A gift of hummingbird food can be found here.

Just one bottle will raise and release over a dozen hummingbirds. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

If you find this item is temporarily out of stock (as happens from time to time), don’t worry! There’s another way to assist.

Make a much-appreciated donation to our GoFundMe page. We use these funds to feed not just hummingbirds, but ALL birds and mammals in rehabilitation at Rescate Wildlide Sanctuary.

Photo credit: GeorgeB2, Pixabay

A tip about bird rescue

Not all nests are abandoned. We often have tiny chicks brought it us by people who find a nest with chicks yet no parents in sight. Hummingbird chicks – in fact all chicks – are fed frequently and the parents are often away finding food for them.

If you come across any bird nest containing chicks, wait and watch, and you’re bound to see the parents return. Wait for an hour at least. These young ones probably don’t need to be rescued, so please avoid taking them from the nest unnecessarily.

If you find a chick that’s fallen out of the nest, put it gently back in, if it’s safe for you to do so. If not, call your nearest bird rescue center. If you think a nest might have been abandoned, ask the rescue center’s advice.

If you find a bird that’s flown into a window, and it can’t fly away, it might be suffering an injury or simply in shock. Place it in a cardboard box with breathing holes, and leave it in a cool, dark quiet place to recuperate for 3 – 4 hours.  Hummingbirds especially have a high metabolism and need to conserve energy. If the bird isn’t able to fly away after this rest time, contact your rescue center.

A tip for your own hummingbird feeding

A hummingbird is a nectarivore – it gets its energy and nutrients from the sugar-rich nectar of flowering plants.   If you want to invite hummingbirds to your wildlife garden, your best action is researching and planting native flowers that they like.

Please don’t use hummingbird feeders. While these hanging devices might seem like an easy way to attract hummingbirds, this ‘ease’ is for human benefit, not theirs. Sugar-water, honey and supermarket bird feed are NOT good for hummingbirds. These substances weaken their bones, and contain none of the nutrients vital to the birds’ essential energy. The feeders also develop bacteria in the heat and can introduce disease.  A hummingbird should live for 20 years in the wild, but hummingbirds who feed from feeders are not strong enough to live out their natural life cycle.

A feeder also distracts hummingbirds from the flowers that they pollinate, preventing them from playing their role in the ecosystem.

We feel strongly about this, and you will never see a hummingbird feeder at Rescate Wildlife. As a bird and animal lover yourself, please care for their well-being by remembering that natural is best. Plant the flowers that hummingbirds love, and spread the word to friends and family that feeders do more harm than good.

Thank you for your hummingbird love!

Would you like to get involved yourself?

Become an Intern and have a unique wildlife experience.

Veterinary Internship

Veterinary interns work directly with our highly experienced veterinarian and our rehabilitation staff. You will assist with with animal intakes, exams, treatments, surgeries, feeding and record keeping.

Wildlife Internship​

Work hands-on in the Lifetime Care Sanctuary, Endangered Species Breeding Center and the Rescue Center, feeding animals, conducting behavioral research, and creating enriching experiences for our non-releasable animals or even clicker train our Jaguar „Guapo“.

Road to freedom Internship

This internship gives you the unique opportunity to not only see, but to play an active part in what we call: The Road to Freedom. Aid the animals in their release, monitor and research them and their second chance at life in the wild, the final step on their Road to Freedom.

Alajuela, COSTA RICA