Sunday, May 13, 2007

His spirit has captured my heart

It had been such a beautiful day.
The sunshine and warm temperatures had given us the perfect opportunity to walk some trails at the nature center, then gather at the house for a bit, relaxing on the patio out back--my little hummingbird zipping back and forth to the feeder, then past my ear as I sat chatting. Yes, everything was perfect.
I had meant to buy a second feeder for him that morning, one we could hang on the porch upstairs. But the pretty day had distracted me. I’d try to pick one up this week.
Later that afternoon, back inside the kitchen, my attention turned toward the meals for the next day. Should we grill out? Did we have charcoal….buns…
The sound of impact was unmistakable. I immediately looked to the window in horror. Out of the corner of my eye, I’d sensed his darting flight—now nothing. Scrambling out the back door, I scanned the ground beneath the glass. Tail fanned, a motionless little green jewel, my hummingbird lay on the patio.

Birds hit our windows several times each year—instances we’re aware of. And every time, the routine is the same. Pick it up gently, put it in a shoebox, place the box in the laundry room, close the door, wait—dark, warm and quiet. And almost every time it works. But he was so tiny and had hit the glass at top speed.
I picked him up gingerly, the little daredevil so helpless in my hand, and set him in the box, closing the lid before his last ounce of life could escape. On my finger, a bright red spot—the tiniest red feather.

The brave little world traveler lay still on his side in a shoebox.

Almost certain of what I would find, about half an hour later, I decided to check the box. As soon as I heard the scratching of tiny toes, I knew. He was ready. Out into the yard we walked, before lifting the lid. He sat very quietly for a minute, adjusting to the bright sunshine. Then, like starting an engine…tested his wings and began to slowly rise, lifting straight out of the box like a little helicopter, and rested on a branch directly above.

It is beauty that captures your attention; personality which captures your heart. ~Anonymous

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cestoady said...

Like the tiny bird you rescued,your story is a gem.

MojoMan said...

I'm glad he made it. This was too nice a day to have a sad ending.

Mary said...

Oh, Nina! The suspense was killing me. What a great story with a happy ending! Sweet little flight again. Thanks for sharing this story.

KGMom said...

Humming birds are absolutely amazing--they seem so fragile, yet so strong with their ever beating wings. You rescued one--great.

Julie Zickefoose said...

Dear Nina,

Good work, and perfectly legal to help a hummer in need. To keep him any length of time you'd need state and Federal permits, but you've nothing to fear for this good deed. When I have a debilitated hummer (usually one that's gotten into the house or greenhouse and buzzed himself out), I always put his bill in a little vial of nectar. They invariably lap it up and fill their tank once they taste the sweetness. It gives them a little boost after their ordeal.So glad to find your blog. I wish I had more time to read blogs, but with spring travel it's all I can do to grunt out a post each night! Keep up the beautiful work and I promise to stop in again!


Susan Gets Native said...

If you ever get an injured bird of prey, at least you know someone personally who will come and help!

(That would be me)
You did good with the hummer. Exactly what you should have done.

nina at Nature Remains. said...

I actually HAVE called Raptor, many years you keep records back that far? Probably 13-15 years. Red-tailed hawk...had to be euthanised, hit by semi?
Scooped him up and carried in box in my trunk, called Raptor at home. Got yelled at for not using gloves, could have had my thumb taken off. I wasn't thinking about my thumb, I guess.

cestoady said...

And if the Hummer had broken a wing and could not fly out of the shoe box -- then what, Susan ?

nina at Nature Remains. said...

My guess : too great an injury to be a viable rehab?

Susan Gets Native said...

We keep records of every bird that we ever see.
And though we appreciate anyone who cares enough to scoop up a raptor and bring it to us, we are always worried for people because they could get really ripped up.
One of our volunteers has successfully rehabbed hummingbirds (she has permits to work on any bird, not just raptors). A broken wing can be wrapped and fingers can be crossed.
This volunteer actually kept some hummers over last winter to release them this spring, since they missed the fall migration. She rocks.

nina at Nature Remains. said...


cestoady said...

Wow, Wow !! Thanks Susan.

Beverly said...

The whole window-thump thing just makes me cringe. In the past, I’ve found everything from hummingbirds to raptors knocked out, under my window. As the happy owner of a brand new kitchen with a huge bay window, I was becoming re-familiar with that sickening sound. So I did some research and found this site: (see: 'Urban Threats/windows' there)

While I thought the film was going to be a god-send, I received a sample and sadly realized I just couldn’t live with it. My solution was to drape my windows outside with some black-nylon bird netting. I hardly notice it is there; I leave it a bit loose, so the bird will see the gentle folds and waves and the little movement the netting makes in a breeze. Usually this is enough, but at the very least they seem to slow up before they hit. I hardly ever hear that awful sound anymore and I’ve not found a single bird on the ground since I hung it up.

I’ve heard decals don’t work, but I’ve not tried them. There are other solutions here:

What a lovely story…thank you. In my experience, releasing such a bird makes a heart soar…right with the bird.

nina at Nature Remains. said...

Beverly--thanks for the suggestions (and your visit)

The black fabric is similar to what we do now with our screens--keeping them applied to windows even when not the season for opening them--they're like little trampolines.

I know those links will be useful to others, too. Thanks for passing them on!