Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hummingbird Rescue

This past winter it was a rather harsh winter in the desert.  We had below freezing temperatures for long stretches which is not common.  So cold in fact that our hummingbird feeders repeatedly iced over.  These tiny, fragile little guys must eat frequently and with temperatures so cold a frozen feeder and no flowers can mean death.  By nature they are territorial and you wouldn't realize how much so until they are literally fighting for their lives.  A larger ruby throated hummingbird had made it impossible for the smaller Ana's to feed.
One morning I awoke and looked outside to see a lifeless hummingbird about the size of a large cottonball being pummeled by a larger rubythroat.  The ruby would fly into the air and over and over smash into the little one.  I ran outside shooing the ruby away.  There lay the lifeless body of my little Ana.  I gently picked him up unable to believe how light his little body was.  It was as if I was trying to hold air.  I cradled him in my hand hoping he would stir.  Gently he opened and then closed his eyes.  He was freezing, he was starving, and he was badly beaten.  

I felt as if my heart would break.  So tiny and helpless.  I held him in my hands for what seemed forever, but was probably an hour.  I began gathering a box, a heating pad and warming up some nectar for him.  The entire time I did this one handed while holding him in the other.  When he warmed enough to move I put him into the box with the warm heating pad and nectar.  He immediately began to drink but he was still in shock.  He was in a form of semi hibernation.  He would stick his beak into the nectar but was too weak to pull it back out so I would gently pull him back from time to time and he would sit on the perch until he was ready to drink again.  As he started to warm and get sugar back in his system he began to drink normally.  After about 6 hours he was ready to make his return outside.  I brought the box outside and we sat until it was time to fly.  As he gathered his energy in one fell swoop he popped out of the box and flew away.  He would come to visit me during the day and when I was outside he would come up to me and hover and peep, peep, peep.  This is a day I will never forget.  One of the greatest honors to be able to help and hold a precious hummingbird.

These photos are not the best because I took them with my camera phone, but this is my little patient. 


  1. Got here via the creative breakroom. What a beautiful experience! I have only ever seen these lil beauties when I visited friends in KY (I'm from Ireland) - and try as I might I couldn't catch them on camera cos they move like lightening! HUGE kudos to you for saving the wee darling!

  2. Thank you both! We don't have a whole lots of wildlife here in the desert but we do have hummingbirds. You have to camp out at the feeder with the camera and you are bound to get a shot. They feed often so if you have a little patience you can get a good shot. And they get pretty used to you. They aren't too skittish once they get used to seeing you. They would even peep at me if their nectar needed to be replenished. I haven't been able to feed them lately though. I can't seem to keep the sparrows out of the feeder and within a day they drink up all the nectar and chase of the hummers. I've tried about five different feeders with no luck but I'm not giving up!

  3. This made me cry a wee bit...what a touching story!

  4. Wow! A priceless once in a lifetime moment! How wonderful you were able to help.

    Stopping in from the etsy blog team :)

  5. Hi Tiffany! That you so much for stopping in. I finally found a new feeder that keeps the sparrows, finches, birds and baddies out. The hummingbirds are back and I am a happy girl!

  6. That is amazing and so beautiful! So glad you were there in time to help! Love hummingbirds! =)


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