Hummingbirds Perching?

Have you ever known hummingbirds to perch? My ex-neighbor had several feeds and flowers that drew lots of hummingbirds. As a result I’ve taken lots of hummingbird pictures. When the neighbor moved most of the birds went to. But recently a couple of smaller hummingbirds, not sure what species, have frequented me and my neighbors backyard. This pair, or at least one, does something I’ve never seen a hummingbird do, perch. This bird seems to like perching on one specific branch on one specific evergreen tree. Have you ever seen this behaviour? Here is a picture.

Sony ILCA-99M2, f/6.3, 1/1600, 400mm, ISO1000, Sony G SSMII 70-400 f/4-5.6.

This image is severely cropped and resolution reduced from the original.

Best regards,


“It is not doing the thing we like to do, but liking the thing we have to do, that makes life blessed.”



I think I can see enough of the bird when I enlarge it to give you some idea of the species. However, you will first need to tell me where it was taken. From some of your spelling, I would assume you could live in Canada or somewhere else in the British Empire. I see this behavior (behaviour) all the time around my house which is in the Pacific Northwest, Washington state. We only get two different species here, Anna’s hummingbird which is year-round, and Rufous Hummingbird which we only see in June through August as it migrates. If you live in Europe, I do have a copy of the Collins Bird Guide which might assist me in the identity. For North American birds I use the Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America.

By the way, the best place to post this kind of inquiry is in the Avian Discussion forum so that others who are much better than I am at identifying species can assist you. Additionally, when posting your photo technical attributes, you might wish to include the iso.

In any case, I am more than happy to get back to you with my opinion if you can tell me where this was taken.

George: I’m from David’s neck of the woods. And yes, hummingbirds perch all the time. they do usually hover for nectaring because there’s often nothing to perch on, but even then, if you supply perches on the feeder, they’ll often use them. I’ve also seen Arizona and Texas species perching, so I don’t think it’s uncommon.

Thanks Dennis. The perched Anna’s photo is for George.
Yes, Hummingbirds perch frequently to rest and check out their surroundings.
Here is a repost with corrections after comments.

First let me apologize for inappropriately posting an image in this gallery and asking a question in David’s post. It was not my intention to break the rules or take over David’s post. I have been a member since 2001 but have not been active at NPN in a while and I’ll do my best to do better.

For those who asked I live in the Midwest, Indianapolis, IN to be exact.

Thanks to those who answered my inquiry about the perch behavior of hummingbirds. I’ve never witnessed it before in my backyard. By the way, in my initial post the spelling of behavior with a u was due to spell checker choosing the wrong spelling for my area of the country.

I did include ISO.

By process of elimination @GEGJr, this is most likely a Ruby Throated Hummingbird. From what I can see in Sibley, there have been occasional sightings of Rufous Hummingbird in Illinois but infrequent. A Rufous would have a darker belly. I apologize for missing the iso…

Hummingbirds perch all the time. They will hover to feed from flowers in the wild and sometimes from hanging feeders, but most of the time they will perch on a feeder to drink artificial nectar.

Hummingbirds are Western Hemisphere species and do not occur in Europe or Africa.

Except for vagrants, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird is all you will find East of the Mississippi, and you will only find it West of there as a rare vagrant. Anna’s dominates in the Pacific states. In AZ you can see as many as 16 species of hummingbirds throughout the year, but you have to seek out rare species including Lucifer’s, White-eared, Violet-crowned, Starthroat, and a couple others. Here in Phoenix we have multiple Costa’s in our yard every day of the year, and Anna’s about half the time.

You can see many of my photos of perching hummingbirds on my web site:

[](http://Anna’s Hummingbird)
[](http://Costa’s Hummingbird)
[](http://Black-chinned Hummingbird)

Ruby-throated hummingbirds will often perch near a food supply and guard it from other hummers. About now is when hummingbird identification gets tricky because a fair number of Western species migrate east rather than south. I picked up several rufous hummingbirds in the fall and winter in Michigan. The late fall records are usually these Western vagrants and appear well after the ruby-throated hummingbirds have left for Mexico.

Also, they frequently come back to the same perch, which can be helpful in setting up a shot.

Yes, I’ve found that out.


“It is not doing the thing we like to do, but liking the thing we have to do, that makes life blessed.”


Thank you for the information very helpful. My wife and had never seen one perch until this summer. We are not seasoned bird watchers but I really like photographing birds. Unfortunately my wife does not like birds due to a childhood Alfred Hitchcock “The Birds” type experience so I cannot have feeders. :persevere:



“It is not doing the thing we like to do, but liking the thing we have to do, that makes life blessed.”