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What's Happening?

"A juvenile has been using the feeder all morning. It will perch on the feeder and take long drinks for several minutes, then fly slowly off into the tree branches. After 5 or 10 minutes, it returns to the feeder." —Julia from Goshen, Indiana

  • Why do we think it's cold outside, or the sugar water is cold? The hummer has fluffed his feathers for more warmth.
  • Why does he look fat? He has just eaten, so his crop is expanded, making him look fatter. Hummingbirds have a tiny stomach and crop (the little storage pouch in their esophagus). Once these are full, the hummer can't eat any more until the crop is about half empty again. He sits and rests, or flies off to sit. He looks like he's resting, but his body is busy digesting. His eyes and mind are busy studying the world. It takes about four minutes to drain about half the nectar into the stomach and intestines, and then the hummer can feed again.

Fluffed-up hummingbird at feeder
Photo: Julia Mast