27 comments on “hummingbird tongue fungal infection

  1. Thanks! This is important information for people who get lazy about their feeder cleanliness.

  2. Thank you for the information on sick Hummingbirds. I saw two Hummers in my backyard with their heads held high, and tongue sticking out, then a few days later found one hanging upside down on my climatis bush. It made me very sad, but gave him a little funeral. I have never used anything but sugar and purified water. But I am not the only one feeding the little Hummingbirds. At least now I know why they got sick.

    • Laura, If the bird could be taken immediately to a wildlife rehab facility, they might be able to help him. Sadly, if the bird is so sick that you can catch him, it is probably too late.

  3. I live in western Illinois, it’s November 13, and there is one hummer STILL coming to our feeder several times a day and we’re certain he has a this fungus. His tongue is sticking out all the time. We’re desperately trying to find information on how to help this little bird. Help, please!!

  4. I am wondering if this is contagious to the other hummers using the same feeder.
    It is so heartbreaking to watch.

    • Theoretically, if the bird has the fungus spores on his tongue, he could spread it to the feeder. Another reason to keep up with feeder hygiene.

      • I appreciate your reply & all the posted info. My poor little guy died this afternoon. I first noticed him in panting in distress 2 days ago, with his swollen tongue. Today I saw another male attack him, leaving him lying dead afterwards on my patio near his perch. I decided to use your posted photo & info to pass around the neighborhood: people don’t realize the responsibility in putting up a feeder.
        Thanks for everything!

  5. Sorry to say I too just lost one of my girl humming birds :( I also know I am not the only one in my neighborhood feeding them. I am going to pass on how to be a responsible bird feeder!! I saw my girl suffering and did not know what was wrong and also found her on the ground near the feeder!
    sad day!! I did bury her too! thanks for the info.

    • Sorry to hear you lost one too, Patti, they are so precious. Like you, I buried mine too, in the garden. I live in So Ca, where do you live?

  6. I found a hummer on the ground with his tongue sticking out. He’s still alive but so weak! I’ve fed him every 30 minuets with sugar solution but know they also need protein. Can’t find anyone in my county that will take the little bird for rehab. It’s heartbreaking to watch him further deteriorate. And it’s very hard to leave him where he was found. I really want to scoop him up and take care of him. There are so many feeders in my neighborhood and I’ve spread the word about the fungal infection. Wish they would include that info on bird feeders when you buy them!

    • What county are you in? In my Orange county, Ca there is Wild Birds Unlimited (wbu.com) which rescues many birds; they are located in many counties….good luck to you,
      Lynn

  7. Oooh I found this after a quick search due to my annual Rufus visit (because) he is sitting atop the feeder perch trying to drive away the Anna’s but getting pretty weak. His tongue is almost always extended and he pants heavily.
    I’m pretty good about cleaning the feeders weekly but I had no idea about this. There needs to be more awareness!!

  8. What about pure cane sugar? I’ve used it for years, as white sugar has been processed with chemicals which have their own consequences, let alone a set up for fungal infections to thrive.

    • Processed white cane sugar is the best. “Raw” sugar or any other variety that is not pure white will quickly mold.

  9. What about cleaning the feeder with a little vinegar and then rinsing extremely well? I got several different feeders and found some much easier to clean than others so now I only use the ones that can be thoroughly and easily cleaned. I also got a package of tiny bottle brushes (available on Amazon) to use to clean the little holes the birds feed through. I love my hummingbirds and they next in my yard and there are 15 or so about at the moment. I would be heartbroken if they got sick!

  10. Soap is fine, too. Just rinse the feeder well. If you are cleaning often enough, just rinsing the feeder with hot water is enough.

  11. We just today are witnessing our first sick hummer. One of our precious rufous has been hanging around with his swollen tongue, which is what led me here to your blog. He is trying to feed, but my fear is that he can spread this trying to get nectar from flowers in our yard and from our feeders. I scrub them and make fresh syrup regularly. Is there more I can or need to do?

      • I see this morning my rufous is still here and still with dangling tongue. It so breaks my heart! Should I clean the feeders daily? I am concerned with contamination. We have also set out a small red cup of just syrup to see if he could take that . . . but haven’t observed any success yet.

  12. If it makes you feel any better, I too found it heartbreaking. One the 3rd day, wondering what I could do, I saw my little Allen’s attacked by another male & his suffering was ended. Mother Nature is amazing. Good luck & take care.

  13. Thanks for great advice…….. had a female Anna show up this morning with swollen tongue syndrome…. just sittin there getting picked on and harassed I immediately retired the feeder and I am now soaking it in vinegar/water……. feel so sorry for that little gal…. she looked so feeble.. and the local gang was pretty upset about removing the feeder……. wondering if I should wait a few days before restoring … or until this lady passes ??

    • I think it is a good idea to wait a while. That will reduce the risk of fungus being passed from bird to bird at the feeder.

  14. Hi John. THere is a fledgling still being fed by its mother in my garden. Mother appears in perfect health, but fledgling usually has tongue slightly protruding & seems to be breathing rather heavy‚Ķ.but I’m thinking the young often breathe this way? Wondering if young ever show tongue symptom without actual infection.
    Mother is feeding everywhere, including feeders.
    Thanks for your help & experience.

    • I don’t feel qualified to answer your question about the young hummer. You might call a local wildlife rehab facility if you have access to one. About all we can do is keep our feeders clean and encourage others to do the same.
      John

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