1. 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.
2. A FRIEND RETURNS
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 before.
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.
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3. 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 years.
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.
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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 Frank Livulpi
5. THIRTY MINUTES
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
6. A-FRAME HOUSE
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
7. WIND CHIME HOME
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!!
8. HIT THE WINDOW
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 feeder.
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 porch.
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.
10. A SIGN
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 CHILDREN,
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.
11. NO MORE CRYING
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.
12. EATING INSECTS
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!
13. LIKE 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 light…gone.
I will never forget that.
14. 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 again!
Sara, Santa Barbara, CA
15. 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 HUMMINGBIRD
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 deck.
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 garage.
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
17. ON MY KNEE
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
19. INDIVIDUAL 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
20. SAFE PASSAGE
Our 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.
There 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.
As 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.
– – –
One 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.
In 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 October.
— by Martha C. Cain
21. SPIDER WEB
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
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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 her feeder.
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 Hummingbird.
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.
The 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 backyard.
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 o�clock.
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 life.
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.
23. 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