This past week we were surprised to pass what looked like a hummingbird slowly hopping across one of our back country roads. I stopped the van and backed up to take a closer look. Yep, definitely a little hummingbird. On closer inspection, she appeared to have no injuries and everything looked as it should, but she could not fly. Thinking the poor thing must have been nicked by a passing vehicle and gotten her marbles shaken up a bit, we took her home. Ideally, we were hoping she simply needed peace and quiet, something to eat and a little bit of time to get her wings back - then she'd be on her way.
Well, things didn't go quite so ideally. I did some research on what specific needs our unexpected guest had...which turned out went beyond needing nectar alone. Hummingbirds also need protein. If they go without it for more than 4 hours or so you run the risk of potentially crippling the tiny birds.
So this meant we needed bugs. Teeny tiny, itty bitty bugs. Lots of teeny tiny, itty bitty bugs. Hmmm....this was not something we were likely to be very successful at. This called for more research - which led me to this online site: How to Rescue a Hummingbird. It was there and on a few other sites, as well as some books we fetched from our local library, that suggested combining home-made nectar (1 part sugar to 4 parts water) with hard boiled egg yolk and crushed up insects (yum).
hard-boiled egg yolk
and freeze dried bloodworms.
Just shake and serve.
The next morning I fully expected she would be ready to take off. No such luck. Her wings seem to work fine - she flutters, she flaps, but she doesn't fly. So now we shifted our focus and wondered if she was not an injured adult but instead a late fledgling - a juvenile that had not yet learned to fly and somehow ended up where she should not have been. Well, this put a whole new spin on the situation.
Hummingbirds are migratory birds, they head south to warmer weather where the flowers and insects are still abundant. If this little guest of ours was a non-flying juvenile, would she be able fly soon enough and well enough to make the long journey? A journey in which her food sources might be few and far between? This complicated things. Over the next couple days I continued my research and the kids and I continued to make little Pippin (a hobbit name that seemed fitting for either a girl or boy hummingbird - though our friend would appear to be a female) feel as welcome and content as we possibly could.
family nature walk.
|Hanging out with Zach.|
The kids and I have been blessed to share this little snippet of time with Pippin and I admit that I will miss our quirky little friend. But I am also confident and reassured that she will be in good hands...and conveniently, only about 10 minutes away.
|Pippin enjoying some time|
outdoors - hanging out on our marigolds.
|Pippin's temporary home - an old basket with a|
tiny wooden skewer for a perch.
|The detail and color of her feathers is simply gorgeous.|