Saving a Baby Hummingbird

So last Friday morning, Honey walks in through the front door after his morning prayer walk holding something in his hands.  He usually picks some flowers on his walk and brings it back for Kiggster and I so we weren’t surprised he was holding something.  I said, “What did Daddy bring back for us?!”  He said, “A baby bird!”  Haha…right?!

No, he was quite serious!  He brought it back in a little leaf.  Apparently on his walk, he was crossing the street (major intersection) and saw the birdie in the middle of the street so he had to save it before 1) it got ran over by some reckless driver 2) eaten by some wild animal.  There wasn’t a tree above so it didn’t fall out of the nest but he wasn’t sure what could have happened but it seemed distressed.  When he brought it home, Kiggster was so curious about it and wanted to touch this little birdie that was flapping it’s wings furiously but not making much progress.

Honey decided it needed a “nest” so he took one of our crystal bowls, shredded bills (yup, darn those bills), and it’s leaf and laid it gently on top.  But it didn’t seem to like it and when we put the bowl on our carpet, it managed to flap enough to fly out of the bowl onto the carpet and just stayed there.  So Honey decided it was because it was cozier on the carpet and took a piece of felt from my crafting bag and put it in the bowl too.  Then we googled and tried to see what type of bird it was so we could better take care of it.  We thought it looked like a little hummingbird but looked pretty big for a baby hummingbird, since the adult ones look about that size.  But Google images seemed to suggest our assumptions were correct.  However, the articles we found did not seem too promising!

Please accept that not every baby bird will grow to adulthood; some are deformed, some are sick, and some are just unlucky… But please call the pros for advice before risking making the situation worse; in many ways, young hummingbirds are not like our other familiar species, and few “civilians” are equipped to care for them properly. via Hummingbirds.net
With hummingbirds there is less than four (4) hours to start care and only about twenty-four (24) hours to get help before it may be too late.  As sad as this may sound, always remember that not all hummingbirds will survive. In fact, very few of them make it though any sort of trauma, accident, or disease. Don’t feel too bad if a hummingbird you are trying to rescue does not survive as rescue efforts are extremely difficult at best. Even the most seasoned hummingbird rehabilitation specialist will agree that hummingbirds are probably the most difficult bird to assist in the time of crisis. If a hummingbird you have attempted to rescue dies, consider planting a hummingbird flower in their honor and hope for a better outcome if there is a next time. via worldofhummingbirds.com

Now we were scared for the baby bird, it said we should have Nektar Plus for it because sugar water can be damaging, except that stuff costs $80/bottle and only lasts for 2 days!  So it said it needed protein as a baby…goat’s milk?!  Here Honey is trying to feed it some goat’s milk from a dropper and it actually was drinking it!  It had a crazy little tongue, and when we were trying to feed it some applesauce (before we saw the sugar water warning), we thought it was a splinter coming off the toothpick we were feeding it with!  It was a hungry little thing and kept wanting more milk!  Is it bad that we feed a bird goat’s milk?!  I thought about breastmilk but thought that was probably just as weird!  Kiggster was still trying to touch the birdie and I was holding her at my lap while we watched Daddy do the feeding.  Then after the drinking, it seemed to want to rest and take a nap so I said to Kiggster, “ssshhhh” and put my finger to my lips.  Kiggster put her finger to her nose and said “ssss” and she was trying to be “quiet” in her own little way!

Upon recommendations on those sites and the fact that every site said it was illegal to “kidnap” a hummingbird (of course we would never have thoughts of trying to raise a cute little baby hummingbird in our home…), we decided to try to see if mama hummingbird could find it nearby the original site.  Honey put the birdie into an egg crate with some tissue and when he got back there, there was another hummingbird flying nearby!  Except when Honey got there, it flew away but he was confident if he set baby birdie down, mama bird would come back!

That night, we went back to check on the crate and it didn’t look like it was jostled by an animal but the baby was gone and so was the tissue it was laying on.  We think it’s home safe now!  We were afraid because near us we have foxes, skunks, possums, stray cats, mice, huge crows, seagulls…you name it, we seem to have it but we live in the city!  We were sad to see it leave but so happy it could go back to it’s family!  We now plan to plant some hummingbird friendly plants on our balcony so that one day baby and mama hummingbird will find it’s way back to our home!  Home Sweet Home!!!

Have you ever saved an animal before or tried to?  Were you ever tempted to keep it or did you?!

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