|Anna's Hummingbird hen with an injured wing.|
She was rescued from under the foot of a cat last night.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
INJURED HUMMINGBIRD QUESTION
This little hummer was rescued last night from a cat. Her wing is injured and she can't fly without falling to the ground. She is eating the sugar water mixture we gave her: 4 parts water to 1 part sugar, boiled and cooled. An essential red lid provides it.
We do have very small moths and can probably find a mosquito or two for her, especially since our baby Swallows have all left the bird houses and none are staying close to our home any longer. Wish the parents would decide on a second clutch, but that never seems to happen with Swallows like it does with parakeets.
Although we have several varieties of hummingbirds at our feeders right now, I believe this one is an Anna's hummingbird. This variety doesn't migrate and remains in Oregon all year long. That's a positive in her favor if she never flies again and can't leave ... she won't have an urge to migrate.
The bird's coloration is that of a hen or a very young Anna's hummingbird. Males get their irredescent red throats when they mature. Young male birds look like the hens. I hope this bird is actually a youngster and not a hen who left a nest. She doesn't seem to be afraid of us, a possible sign that she's young, or just used to seeing us around the feeders. They will sometimes land on our hands as we carry the cleaned and refilled feeders back outside.
This morning my husband was the first one into the kitchen where the bird slept last night. He came back to tell me that the hummingbird hadn't made it. That she was dead.
"That's odd," I said. "She didn't seem to have any major injuries, just an injured wing."
"Well, she's laying stiff, and her beak is in the sugar water like she drowned in it." He took my hand and we both went back to the kitchen.
The bird was sitting on her perch, looking sedate and comfortable.
If you haven't heard about "torpor" in hummingbirds, you should know about it. When hummingbirds sleep, they go into a hibernation-like state called torpor (pronounced TOR-per). This is a really deep sleep. They may appear dead, but aren't. So, if you find an unresponsive hummingbird, don't toss it in a garbage can! Leave it alone, even if hanging upside down. However, if it's in danger from a cat or something else, you can move it to a safe place and watch it, releasing it when it wakes up.
We hope this bird will fully recover and can be released. It's illegal in the U.S. to keep a migratory bird, and just because this one doesn't migrate, they might still want to fine us for having it. If she can't recover enough to fly, perhaps there's a bird rescue facility we can locate, or get a permit for her ...? I'll have to look into it. Unless a bird sanctuary takes her, we may have a resident hummingbird for the duration of her life. I've seen videos of tame hummingbirds, but never one that couldn't fly. It's sad and I hope she fully recovers and can be released. If not, I guess I'll have to think of a name for her. Any suggestions?
Peace to you on this lovely Saturday.