CAUGHT ON A FLOWER
Today, I took the trash out and noticed a
hummingbird hanging by its beak from a mandevilla bloom. It's wings
were not flapping and it was just hanging there. At first I thought it
was dead, but after looking closer I noticed that it was breathing.
So, I went back in the house and got the scissors to cut the flower
off of the plant. When I returned the hummingbird was still hanging
there, so I cut the bloom from the plant and gently laid the bloom and
bird on the deck railing. I heard a little peep from the hummer. Then
I started pulling the petals from around the hummingbird's beak and
all of a sudden the bird jumped up and flew away. It was not flapping
its wings as fast as usual, but I lost sight of it and pray that it
survived. I've never seen anything like it.
I have just read the hummingbird story about Nosey. I am so glad
that people write in about these birds. I have a similar situation
going on at my house.
Last year a little pink-necked green head, I don�t know what kind
he or she is but it would sit in the persimmon tree across from my
deck and chirp at me. I started to respond back with the same kind of
chirping noises. After a few days of this, each time I would go
outside to my deck, this little bird would show up in the same tree on
the same branch and with the same chirping noises, talk to me. I of course thought it was so cute.
The bird migrated for the winter and before I knew it returned again
this year. Same bird, same tree, same chirping.
I have decided it likes me. It has spent the entire summer greeting
me each morning and evening when I come and go from the house.
I now have a feeder by my kitchen window. I watch the bird drink
from the feeder. Sometimes it will fly by the screen and stare and chirp in
at me through the window. I almost feel like it was a human in its last
life or something. I had never heard of a hummingbird acting like this
I guess I should think of a name for the bird. It is almost time
for it to leave again this year. Hopefully it will return next year. I will
missthe little chirps in the morning and evening.
LOTS OF NECTAR
I am a 65 year old male from northern Missouri. I have been
interested in hummers for years, and put out feeders for at least 30
Last summer, I used 3 (1 quart feeders) on my front porch
and a (1 quart, plus a 1pint feeder) on my rear deck. We had so many
hummers that at least three of the 1 quart feeders would be empty
every day, sometimes more .
My wife and I took a 2 week vacation to Montana, (to visit daughter
& family) so I asked a brother-in-law to keep my feeders filled. I
made up 6 gallons of nectar before we left, and showed him how it was
made, in case he needed more, and when we returned, he had made almost
the same amount, before we got back home! WHEW!!!!!
He said he could not afford to buy all that sugar! But I love these creatures, so I keep at it!
That same fall my neighbor and I ( we live a couple blocks apart)
had a female hummer who just kept hanging around in the fall after all
others had left. We did not have the heart to quit feeding it, as it
had turned very chilly.
I told my wife, maybe we should have taken the feeder down earlier,
but that maybe this hummer had decided that it could not make the long
flight as maybe it was not well.
Any way it stayed unusually late. Therefore, we really do not know
whether it lived, or finally felt well enough to leave. At first, I would have to bring the feeder in every morning and
microwave it a short time then re-hang it, and this bird would sit and feed for long periods. Then it got so cold that I got to
bringing the feeder in at night and re-hang it early in the mornings.
The last date that we saw this hummer was January 8th. It was really cold by then!
Thanks for your site, I really enjoy it.
4. STILL ALIVE??
One day while I was cleaning the window, a hummingbird came off the
feeder and flew into it falling to the ground. I had a hummingbird
stained glass in the window and I think maybe it went for it. From the
inside he certainly looked dead. Horrified, I called for my husband.
He gently picked up the hummer and said he was still alive. I know you
can't give a bird mouth to mouth but he was breathing onto it and lo
and behold it woke up. Still holding it, he took a piece of lantana
and put it by the hummers beak offering him some food. He accepted!
Then he flew off but not in the right direction but back into the same
window :( My hubby was so distraught as he picked him up yet another
time. He went through the same ritual but this time released him in
the direction of the woods. Shortly thereafter he was back, taking the
nectar from our feeder like nothing ever happened. We thoroughly enjoy
watching them and it was a thrill to revive one and get to hold it.
Thanks for letting me share this wonderful experience.
- Roseann and
We were in Washington last week at our new house, and while we were
there a poor little hummingbird had flown into the garage and was
trying to get out of the window. I have no idea how long he had been
there trying to fly out, but he wasn't getting anywhere. I went to try
to help him and it was as if he knew that because he landed on the
window sill as if to say.... I give up...please help me. I quietly
went over to him and placed my thumb and index finger around his
little body and placed him in the palm of my left hand. I could feel
his heart pounding so hard on my palm, it was racing so fast. He just
sat there as I told Tom to go get the camera to take some pictures.
Tom took several, and it didn't seem to bother the little guy one bit.
I walked through the house onto the back deck after about 30 minutes
of letting him rest. He seemed pretty tuckered out after his ordeal
and probably needed some sugar water to regain his strength. We didn't
have any there at the house since we aren't living there yet, so he
was on his own. Finally after about 30 min of holding him and taking
his picture, I told him that he probably had family that was worried
about him and he should go home to them. It was like he understood
what I was telling him because less than a min. later, he just flew
off into the wooded area close by our house. It was such a cool
experience and a very rare one at that. How many people in the world
can say that they've caught and held a hummingbird in their hand??? I
feel very blessed.
- Debi Curry
We have an A-frame at the lake and usually keep the sliding door to
the deck open for those wonderful lake breezes. I was observing them
feeding when to my horror, one of them flew in the open door! The
feeder hangs about 20 feet from the door. Of course, the poor little
thing went straight to the top of the "A" and flew anxiously
back and forth. There are several hanging lights with connecting
decorative chain and it finally landed there for a rest and looked
around, then started the flying back and forth again unable to find
its way out.
I must say I cried and said several prayers, asking God to spare
this sweet little bird. After several anxious minutes, I happened to
think of moving the bird feeder to the open door and sitting it on a
table. Within a couple of minutes he spotted the feeder and made a
dive for it and then on into the wild blue yonder.
There's not a doubt in my mind that I had a very quickly answered
prayer and I do thank God for leading the rescue effort.
Kay Farrar, Nolan, KY
For the past couple of weeks I was noticing that every time I
opened up my front door there was this buzzing sound and it would fly
off. I finally figured out it was a hummingbird, but had no idea what
it was doing. I saw no nest and nowhere for it to be eating from.
Finally one day I started getting really curious as to what she was
doing, and I found a small little nest on top of my small little wind
chime. I was sort of high so I could not see inside of it. My husband
and I left for 7 days on vacation and today I was outside and was
wondering if there were eggs or anything in it. I got a step ladder
and got as close as I could. I saw 2 little baby hummingbirds sitting
there as cute as could be. I wanted to take a picture of this rare
moment, so I went inside got the camera and came out and as I stood on
the stool and started to take the picture, both of the small birds
were startled and flew off onto the ground. I panicked realizing that
they were very young and couldn't go very far. I had always heard the
tale of if I were to touch them, mom wouldn't come back for them, so
my friend Steve came over and got a plastic shovel, and I lowered down
the wind chime and he picked them up and gently sat them back in the
nest. As soon as they could feel the nest, it was almost as if they
were instantly comforted. I hung the chime back up on it's nail, and
looked over and there was mom hummingbird glaring at me. I knew
exactly what she was thinking...
Every 10 minutes or so I would go out and check on them and by the
time the sun had set, they had curled up together, perfectly perched
in their nest, with the slight wind gently blowing and rocking them to
sleep on their new wind chime home. I welcome them!!
My husband, Gene, and I heard a soft thud against one of our
windows. My first thought was that we were going to find another dead
bird on our deck. We had just found a dead hummingbird two days ago,
not to mention the grosbeak and woodpecker last summer. (We moved into
our new home in the woods last year, saw hummers right away, and put
up a feeder.)
Gene went out, and sure enough there was a male hummer lying on the
deck. He gently picked it up, and said that it's alive! He touched it,
but it wasn't able to move. I was afraid we were going to scare it to
death, if it didn't die of its injuries. He put it down in one of the
grooves on top of a log at the corner of our log cabin, and came back
inside. We found this website ( to see if there was information about
what to do for the little bird, if it happens often, or if there is
something to do to keep birds from doing this to themselves).
Gene checked on our hummer, and he was sitting up and moving his
head, so he left him alone. Later he looked again, and the hummer was
gone. Hopefully, he fully recovered, and will continue to visit our
These hummingbird stories are wonderful, and now we know the little
birds do sometimes crash into windows. We were concerned that we were
encouraging this behavior with our feeder (and hanging plants) on the
Sharon L., Madison, NY
We live in TN and had a hummingbird fly into our carport. We
haven't put up a ceiling and the bird had flown up to the very top and
didn't seem to know how to fly down. We could tell it was getting very
tired and hot, so we got our pole & dip net from our pool and
caught it. It didn't even try to fly away, so we held it in our hands
and took pictures. We got a feeder and pushed it's beak in, so it
could feed. After about 30 minutes, my husband just nudged it with his
finger and away it flew. We sit outside and watch them feed and hope
that OUR hummingbird is among them.
I HAVE BEEN PARTIAL TO HUMMINGBIRDS SINCE I WAS SIXTEEN YEARS OLD
AND MY FUTURE HUSBAND CALLED ME HUMMINGBIRD BECAUSE I WAS SMALL, IT BECAME MY CB HANDLE BACK THEN IN
THE SEVENTIES. SOON WE MARRIED AND OVER THE NEXT EIGHT YEARS HAD FOUR
THEN IT HAPPENED! A HORRIBLE ACCIDENT THAT TOOK HIS LIFE IN 1982,
I WAS LEFT ALONE TO RAISE OUR FOUR KIDS AGES 1-7 YRS OLD.
YEARS PASSED BY AND I NEVER REMARRIED, MY KIDS GREW UP AND ALL LEFT
HOME ONE BY ONE. BUT THEY ALWAYS BOUGHT ME HUMMINGBIRDS FOR BIRTHDAYS
MOTHERS DAY ETC. I HAD MAY BOUTS OF LONELINESS ONCE THE KIDS MOVED
OUT, AND REALIZED HOW ALONE I WAS, A FRIEND OF MINE TAMMY, TOLD ME
THAT MY HUSBAND DANNY WAS ALWAYS AROUND ME AND I WOULD NEVER BE ALONE,
I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT I BELIEVED IN, BUT LISTENED TO HER AS SHE TRIED TO
COMFORT ME. SHE TOLD ME TO LAY IN BED THAT NIGHT AND TALK TO MY
HUSBAND (DANNY) SHE SAID ASK HIM...IF YOU ARE STILL AROUND ME, PLEASE
GIVE ME A SIGN, SO THAT NIGHT I DID.
A FEW DAYS LATER SITTING ON MY PORCH I LOOKED UP AS I SAW A
HUMMINGBIRD LAND ON THE WIND CHIME THAT HUNG RIGHT ABOVE MY PATIO
TABLE WHERE I WAS SITTING. WOW I THOUGHT TO MYSELF I HAVE NEVER SEEN
THAT BEFORE IN THE SEVEN YEARS THAT I HAVE LIVED HERE, AND PROBABLY
NEVER WILL AGAIN, THE LIL' BIRD FLEW AWAY, BUT TEN MINUTES LATER
RETURNED AND PLACED A LITTLE TWIG ON TOP OF THE WIND CHIME. OHHHH MY I
THOUGHT SHE IS BUILDING A NEST. I WAS IN AMAZEMENT, RIGHT THERE 3 FT.
NEXT TO ME, THIS LITTLE MIRACLE WAS UNFOLDING. SOON THERE WERE TWO TINY
LIL EGGS IN THE NEST, I PLACED A MIRROR OVER THE NEST AND WATCHED AND
TAPED THE EGGS HATCHING. I NAMED MY HUMMINGBIRD KAYLEE (my middle name
is kay and his middle name was lee)I HAVE MANY MANY PICTURES AND VIDEO
TAPINGS OF THIS HUMMINGBIRD AND HER BABIES, ON ONE VIDEO SOMETHING
VERY STRANGE HAPPENS, WHEN I PLAY IT BACK I HEAR A LITTLE VOICE...IT
SAYS...SOMEONE IS THE CAUSE OF MY HAPPINESS MORE, AND MORE, AND MORE,
I HAVE LET A LOT OF PEOPLE WATCH THIS VIDEO AND EACH ONE WALKS AWAY
WITH CHILLS, I CANNOT EXPLAIN HOW THAT VOICE GOT THERE, IT WAS A NEW
TAPE THAT I RECORDED ON. I AM A WRITER OF POETRY AND SONG LYRICS AS A
PASTIME, THIS INSPIRED ME TO WRITE A POEM FOR KAYLEE.
When I was a baby me , my Mom , my Dad , and a good friend went
hiking on Mount Saint Helen's three and 1\2 hour drive from Seattle Washington where we lived. We had just started
up the mountain when I started wailing . My parents tried to get me to
quiet down. But their coaxing was useless. When finally my Mom said '' I have
to take Hannah back to the car . So I boohooed back to the car and
even when we got back to the car I was still crying so my Mom took me to a field across from the parking lot and
suddenly I was calm my Mom looked up and their over our heads were tons and
tons of hummingbirds. Since that moment I have loved hummingbirds.
I am 11
years oldnow and recently I did a report on hummingbirds which made me love
them even more than I did . I get such joy out of seeing hummingbirds flit by
with such happy and jovial energy it makes me feel happy too. On my
birthday my mom tells me this story. Now I think of my self as being the child
of the hummingbirds.
We recently moved to the Southern California desert in
Indio, CA. To our regrets we are told that the large amount of flies is
due to the golf courses as flies love shade and moisture. My wife's
bridge group noticed a hummer darting around the top of the patio cover
recently. It almost acted like it was trapped as it kept darting around
the cover almost like it was looking for a flower or a way out. A couple
of days later I observed with my wife the same behavior. Then the next
day I was laying on the patio with a fly swatter sunning when the hummer
showed up right above me and around me and I observed what he was doing.
He was looking for immature or very small flies that landed on the
surface of the patio cover. He would most of the time come up from below
and then suddenly dart in and as the fly attempted to move it was
swallowed. I never knew hummers ate insect until I read your web site.
Now I want to attract as many hummers as I can to eat up the flies!
A PHOTON OF LIGHT
About 15 years ago I traveled to a friends cabin on the Virginia/West Virginia state line where we would
spend several days swimming and fishing away from the stresses of city life. As we arrived that weekend we
were eager to get to the basement where the boats were stored, and almost missed the large bumblebee buzzing
against the dirty window trying to get out. When we approached we realized that it was in fact a
hummingbird and it appeared to have been stuck there awhile. Without further discussion or thought, I
simply reached out and picked it off the window pane, holding it gently in my hand. We were amazed at it;
it's size, it's heartbeat, it's color....
We wasted no time in going outside as I did not want to damage or frighten the seemingly frail bird. I
stood on the earthen dam which formed the small lake and tossed the creature in the air to give it some
lift. To our shock it fell; and then, three feet above the ground, it shot off in a straight line like
a rocket. It was as if someone had flicked on the power switch, and it was like a photon of
I will never forget that.
REMOVING A TICK
A friend of mine was hiking in the mountains of Southern California
when a hummingbird came right up to him and landed on his arm. Stunned
by the sudden visit, he stood very still and took a close look at the
bird noticing that there was a very large tick imbedded into the bird�s
neck. Feeling like it was the bird�s attempt at getting help, he
wasn�t sure how to help the bird get the tick out but was eager to
help, but unfortunately the bird died shortly after. He will never
forget it and now knows how to help one if nature ever calls on him
Sara, Santa Barbara, CA
BANGING AGAINST THE WINDOW
One summer afternoon my husband and were working in the yard and
around the garage. My husband walked into the garage to pick up a rake
and he heard a steady humming noise followed by a bumping sound. He
looked all around and didn't see anything so he called for me to come
in and see if I could hear it. Well I did, and after a minute or so -
I found where the "humming-bumping" was coming from. A male
ruby-throated Hummer had flown into the garage and he was banging on
the back window trying to get out. He would hover - fly into the
window quite hard and then hit the sill, only to turn around and do it
all over again. I wasn't quite sure what to do, I didn't want to scare
him any more than he already was. I cupped my hand up to the sill and
lo and behold, he hopped right onto my hand. I held him up to look at
him - what a beautiful bird he was! So light and yet so strong! His
heart looked like it was beating a mile a minute - I know mine was. He
sat on my hand for a good 5 minutes - I walked outside where he lifted
off my hand, hovered right at my face for a few seconds as if to say
Thank you. Then he turned and flew right over to the feeder. What a
wonderful experience that was - to hold one of God's magical creations
in the palm of my hand!
- Susan L. Wellington
16. REVIVING A
Yesterday, April 11, here in Tennessee,
I had one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had.
My husband found a hummingbird in our
garage, laying on top of the car, and thought it was dead. He picked
it up and took it to my neighbor who had hummingbird feeders, so he
thought maybe she could help. He came in and told me
about it. I immediately called to her house and asked if I
could help. She said she had it in a shoe box lid and some
sugar water in a little dish, on her deck, and it wasn't moving, but
it was breathing. So, I took a small insulin syringe, ( I am a nurse
) to her deck and assessed the situation. It was breathing,
but its breaths were absent for a time, and then it would breath,
big deep breaths, several times, and then stop. It had
been cool the night before, and it was misting rain, and cool on her
I held the syringe, with sugar
water, at the tip of its beak, and let a drop of sugar water
hang. The hummers tongue was barely visible, just a little
speck of flesh, outside the beak, and I would touch the sugar water
there. I also cupped my hand over the bird to shield it from the
cool breeze and continued to hold the sugar water drop at the tip of
the beak. I dropped several drops of water on the shoe box
lid, but every once in a while, my neighbor would say, "I think
a little went down his throat", I wasn't for sure, but did hope
that was true.
This continued for about 30 minutes or
more. I finally picked it up, and held it very gently in
my hand, my hand in my lap, and continued to try to get some sugar
water in the bird and warm it in my hand, and very gently stroke it.
All of a sudden it shook its head, and moved, and tried to stand. I
put the syringe near its beak, and it put its tongue in the opening
of the syringe and started aggressively seeking the opening of the
syringe and it tongue lapping up the sugar water.
I sit it back in the shoe box, because I
was afraid it may hurt itself in my hand, and held the syringe for
it to drink. Slowly. but progressively, it became more active, and
continued to drink, we were so excited, and happy that by that time,
we thought it was going to live. When I would put my hand down
to stroke it, tiny feet would hand on to my finger. Finally it began
to preen itself, and beat its wings. It would lift off,
but not fly. I continued to offer sugar water, and
it continued to drink. By now it was breathing fast, and I could
feel that it had some body heat. It continued to test its
wings, often. I think by now we were just praying
that it would get enough energy to fly, and hoping its wing
structure had not been hurt, in it's effort to get out of our
It continued to preen its wings, and I
thought maybe it had sticky sugar water on its wings and could
not fly. So I asked my neighbor for some clean water and a
cotton ball, and began to squeeze a small amount of water on its
body. Very soon, after that, it took off and flew to a near by
tree. We continued to watch for a while to see what
would happen, and we never say it again.
My neighbor and I were elated that we
had been instrumental it this small miracle. I will
never forget it.
- Lue Rollins Springville, Tn
Over the Memorial Day weekend I was camping in the upper N.E.
Corner of Wisconsin. Pembine to be exact. I was participating in a
Rendezvous (a re-enactment of the Trapper and Fur Trader Era.) I had
arrived at the camp site and gotten set up late Thursday afternoon and
had noticed a Hummingbird feeder hanging across the way from the side
of a building. I got up early on Friday morning, got dressed in my
buckskin pants and long plum colored flannel shirt and got some
coffee. There wasn't anyone else up and about on my end of camp yet so
I was just enjoying the morning, siting alone in my camp chair and
sipping my coffee. All of a sudden I felt something hit the top of my
left knee. I looked down and there sitting on my knee was a beautiful
female hummingbird. She just sat there for at least a minute, maybe
more, as I softly told her how beautiful she was as she cocked her
head up towards me. As she flew away I knew that I had received a
blessing and that it was going to be a special event, and it was.
A few weeks ago I was out watering the garden and left the hose
laying on the grass as I went into the house to get a drink, when I
got back as I was approaching the hose, I noticed something splashing
right were the water comes out of the hose, when I got closer I
noticed it was a humming bird talking a bath, after a minute she few
to a near by tree branch were she stood there for maybe a second then
came back and resumed her bath for a few more seconds, then she went
back to the tree branch were she smoothed her fathers then flew away.
Terry from Phoenix Arizona
NAMES, INDIVIDUAL PERSONALITIES
Coming from New York, I had never seen a hummingbird before. Last
year I decided to put out some feeders, hoping to attract at least
one. One day I was sitting on my patio, and from the corner of my eye
I saw something hover over my planted flowers. For a second, I thought
it was an angel. I had only seen hummers in pictures, and never knew
how quick they really were. I ran inside and put out fresh sugar
water. Before the week was out, I had around six hummers. They're not
just beautiful little birds, they also have personalities. I was able
to tell them apart. I had around eight regulars all the time. My
family and I have named them, they have become such an import part of
our lives. It brought my daughter, my husband and myself closer as a
family. Most of our nights we sat outside and watched our babies. Of
course they were named. There is Bubbie, Zena Marie Presley (she's my
warrior princess, and a force to be reckoned with) Drew Barrymore
(only time she stops chattering is when she's eating) Junior, Jenny,
Kathy Bates. By the end of the summer they stopped looking like
hummingbirds, and began to look like penguins. I can't wait for them
to come home!
- Bettejo Pino Collierville TN
valley was an unlikely meeting place of war-torn emerald-throated and
ruby-throated hummingbirds, which are rarely found in the same feeding
area. For some reason,
the exquisitely large bed of bergamot my father had planted to feed
all had transformed them into warring tribes, and our property became
the quickening ground of fierce wars.
One day, a brutal territorial dispute had turned deadly and a
little emerald samurai had fallen in the fray of a feeding frenzy.
is no doubt love holds as many facets as there are rainbow colors
painted on the hummingbird I discovered one late summer afternoon.
I spied the brave soldier draped like an iridescent green leaf
across the limb of a small poplar tree in the center of our field.
Rather than touch him, I ran to my father whom I knew had
raised pigeons when he was young, and asked what we should do.
There were no
signs of arthritis affecting his steps that day, as he ran to rescue
the bird; well into his seventies, he moved quickly like that
nine-year-old boy who had once raised pigeons and grew to know and
love them. Unfortunately,
routinely, when times were hard and his invalid father had grown
seriously ill and was unable to work, my father said there were many
times he had to kill his beloved birds to feed his father.
He told me about how hard it was to do, but that it was just
one of those things that he had to do and did without reservation that
his father could live. I
can still see my father nestling the tiny injured warrior in the small
of his hand, and I believe that at that moment God was granting my
father a chance to make amends for the past and ease the anguish which
rested like arthritis on his limbs.
Our garage became a haven of mercy.
No laundry was permitted to be done there, no car was allowed
to be pulled in or out, and the entire area was off limits to all but
my father. My mother and
I included the bird in our nightly prayers and waited for some word as
to its fate. With an
eyedropper and sugar water, my father kept vigil on the patient as his
�little hummer� convalesced inside a make-shift ICU cigar box
lined with cotton.
the weather began to turn chilly, my mother and I were worried that
the hummingbird would not be able to fly and would be trapped in the
grasp of a sudden, harsh Pennsylvania winter.
Of course we were curious; but every time we would inquire as
to the welfare of the guest, my father would just shake his head and
walk away. Soon we
realized that it was best not to ask at all because we could tell that
even he did not know from one day to the next whether the bird would
make it through the night.
afternoon in early fall, snow taunted me as I helped saw wood that
would help heat our home for the winter.
As I drove my last wedge into an old oak log, my father came to
me with the ICU Garcia Vega box clutched close to his jacket for
warmth. He said that the
hummingbird probably would not make South America, but that he thought
it had a very good chance and would probably make it to the Keys.
Then he opened the box and his loving patient took flight.
perfect protocol, I watched as he circled our house and my father
three times as if to salute his benefactor and marched onward into the
cerulean blue sky. And I
remember this small green miracle flew to Florida that year on what
the weathermen called an unseasonably warm week for the end of
by Martha C. Cain
One summer a couple of years ago, I was standing in my kitchen
looking out at my small garden. I had planted tomatoes and green peppers in
the middle and zinnias all around the perimeter. The hummingbirds just
loved my zinnias and were very busy with them. As I looked out the window I noticed that there was some strange movement among the
flowers. Upon closer inspection, I saw that one of the hummingbirds
had gotten caught in the web of a black and yellow garden spider! He
was desperately trying to free himself, but only getting tangled up
worse in the process. I decided that I had to go out and help him. As I
approached, he became more upset, and I wasn't feeling too crazy
about sticking my hand in there with that garden spider so close (he was
really big, and I really don't like spiders!) But I knew I had to
help him out, so I reached in and gently pulled him out. To my
amazement, when I had him in my hand he seemed to calm down. He even let me
pull all the web off of him! When I got him cleaned up, I opened my hand
and he flew to a branch right above my head. He sat there looking down
at me for a few minutes as if to say "thank you!" I'll never
forget how amazing it felt to hold a humming bird in my hand.
Submitted by Carrie in North Carolina
To Top for more stories.
22. HANNAH'S STORY
The following is the story of a hummingbird
that ended up in a city far from home. This tiny bird displayed a
strong will to survive and brought so much joy to so many people.
A different looking hummingbird presented
itself in my backyard on a very hot September 2, 2004. She
demonstrated a fondness for the red tubular flowers on the Pineapple
Sage but made appearances for nectar in the Lavender, Calamint,
Butterfly Bushes, Phlox and Chaste Shrub. Often her head appeared
bright yellow due to the flower pollen accumulating as she fed. There
were Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the yard but they soon left,
leaving only this particular one.
September gave way to October and as the flowers were dying off
I hung out more sugar water feeders. Hannah, as a friend of mine named
her, loved to visit each new one put up. She was always curious about
something different in her territory.
Hannah was very timid around the other birds arriving during
fall migration. She preferred to be alone and did not associate with
the Kinglets, Vireos, the different Warbler species, Juncos,
White-throated and White-crowned Sparrows. She especially did not like
the House Sparrows for they continually chased her around the yard.
On the 1st of November I noticed Hannah on the
feeder closest to the house and not moving. I went and got my camera
in case I could get a close up picture of her knowing full well she
would fly away the minute I stepped out the door. However, she
didn�t move so I took a few photos. I began to think there was
something wrong as hummingbirds don�t just sit and pose for you. I
glanced to the right of me and there on top of the evergreen tree were
two Merlins. Poor little Hannah, she must have been terrified. I
waited by her feeder for the whole 20 minutes until they flew off in
pursuit of bigger birds.
By the 15th of November I became concerned about her
well-being. I had been in contact with Dave Woods from Wildbirds
Unlimited and he suggested that I increase Hannah�s sugar content in
With the help of some friends and a bird identification book, I
determined that Hannah was NOT A RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD as I had
assumed. She was either a Rufous, Allen�s or a Broad-tailed
Two well known Niagara birders, Kayo Roy and John Black, were
contacted and after viewing her for only a few minutes, both confirmed
the bird was not the usual Ruby-throated Hummingbird that is a common
annual visitor to this area, but rather one of the Selasphorus family
members. They posted Hannah�s presence to the ONTBIRDS website and
this led to numerous visits by birders from all over Ontario and
western New York State. Some came from as far away as Ottawa and Ohio,
both 5 hour drives to Niagara Falls. A couple that visited from
Toronto had just stepped off a plane from Spain and had driven
straight down to see her. Hannah was a celebrity. She took her new
found fame in stride, allowing people to take her picture and never
making anyone wait too long to see her.
Hannah seemed to change her personality during this time and
became more aggressive. One day she fought off an American Goldfinch
as well as a Red-breasted Nuthatch. She seemed to be staking out her
territory for some unknown reason.
November turned into December. The days were turning colder but
Hannah was still busy feeding and making her loud chipping noises.
Between feedings she would favor the branches of the Bittersweet
shrub. She seemed to enjoy looking around as if to say �Where am
I?� and kept an eye out for a new predator, the Sharp-shinned Hawk,
who was now a
frequent visitor to the backyard.
only way to clearly identify this bird was to capture, band her and
measure the wing and tail feathers. It was decided that Allen Chartier,
a licensed expert hummingbird bander from Michigan, and his assistant
Cindy Cartwright would be asked to perform this task. On December 2nd
a large cage with a feeder was set up and as we were all going to wait
in the house, she immediately flew into the trap. Allen proceeded to
take her out and as quickly and gently as possible got the testing
done. For the entire time, Hannah was calm and looked up with trusting
eyes. After this 14 minute process was over, she was put into my hand
and I released her back into the wild. Within 15 minutes she was back
at the regular feeders as if nothing had happened.
Hannah was identified as a first year female Rufous
Hummingbird, and had likely been born in Alaska or British Columbia.
Somehow in migration, she took a wrong turn and ended up in my
I met so many wonderful people who came great distances to see
her, people from birding and nature clubs and birders on field trips
with the Ontario Field Ornithologists. Two people from the OFO, Jean
Iron and Ron Pittway, came several times with as many as 60 people. At
last count there were over 500 signatures in our guest book.
As winter neared, my husband and I set up a Scotch Pine tree
with Christmas lights on it hoping that Hannah would go in it for the
night and get some warmth. Being the curious one that she has always
been, within 5 minutes the tree became her new home for the night. I
also noticed a Song Sparrow fly into the same tree and from that day
on the two of them slept in it together. Hannah had made her first
friend. We also purchased a heating lamp to put near her feeder so the
solution would not freeze up.
On the 16th of December Hannah flew off into the
distance. I had never seen her do this, maybe the instinct to fly
south had registered. I was hoping this was the case as the last two
nights had been below freezing.
The next day she was at the feeder at 7 a.m., which has been
her habit since she arrived. The feedings that day were limited, as
she preferred to sit on the Trumpet Vine branches closer to the ground
the entire day. I saw her go into the Christmas tree just after 5
The 18th of December proved to be a bit milder than
the previous few days. I proceeded to put up Hannah�s feeder early
in the morning. A few people arrived to see her but I could not find
her anywhere. I was told there had been a south wind last night and
maybe she had decided to leave. That was not to be the case. I found
Hannah shortly before 10 a.m. perched at the top of her tree. She had
died through the night even though she had tried so hard to survive.
On Christmas Eve she was picked up and taken for testing at
Guelph University. From there she will be made into a specimen, and
kept in the Royal Ontario Museum forever. Future researchers, students
and ornithologists will be able to hold her in their hands as they
prepare their research papers. Hannah became a star in her very short
I miss Hannah sometimes very much and will never forget her,
but I will always remember the joy she brought to me and to so many
wonderful people who came and visited us here in Niagara Falls.
Tiny Spirit in the Sky
About a month ago, I was confronted with the most
difficult decision that a pet owner must face. My 15 year old dogs
health had been failing physically for some time, and there was little
that the Veterinarian could do. Much to the sadness of myself and my
family, I decided that the time had come to end Putters suffering. Her
passing was peaceful, and she laid across my lap as I gently stroked
her into a deep sleep. It was a difficult day for all of us, but I was
continually comforted by the thought that she would no longer suffer
with ill health.
That evening I attended a meditation and lecture
group. After the group, where the discussion happened to be most
relevant, I shared with the speaker what had taken place only hours
before. She kindly took my hand and reassured me that I would soon see
a sign, and I should be aware and watch for it.
The following day was beautiful, with a crystal
clear blue sky much like it had been the day before. I was gazing out
of my screen door at my cat, who was seeking my attention by rolling
around on her back peering up at me. As I watched, I thought
"Molly, do you miss Putter? Do you realize that she is
gone?". The very next moment a HUMMINGBIRD flew down, hovering
about a foot above Molly (who was still lying on her back, looking
stunned!)! The Hummingbird looked down at Molly, turned and looked at
me in the doorway and flew away, disappearing into the trees! I have
not seen another hummingbird in my yard since that extraordinary day.
I was blessed by the visit of the tiny little
messenger that day, reminding me that the spirit moves on and
continues to touch those who seek, watch and believe!
- Susan Kaufer
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