Feeding Baby Hummingbirds

We are delighted to share a video featuring two of our tiniest patients. A nest, complete with tiny Ruby-throated Hummingbird chicks arrived yesterday after it came down in a storm. We were not able to replace it, but will continue to try when weather clears. Few people have the honor of witnessing baby hummingbirds as they are fed. Their parent are not doing the feeding, we think they are still pretty amazing. Hummingbirds eat aphids and other tiny insects as well as nectar. Protein is vital to hummingbirds all of their life, but especially so as babies when they are growing quickly. There is a small syringe at the other end of the feeding tube that is not visible on the video. Their formula is a complicated mixture of crushed and powdered insects and a homemade nectar base along with digestive enzymes, which they get from their parents naturally during feeding.

Posted by Raptor Education Group, Inc. on Wednesday, July 24, 2013

And, I am now reminded of how I once rescued a Hummingbird…..

I was out paddling my canoe on a lake that I was exploring for the first time; the winds were calm and the waters were as placid as could be.   Far out from shore, near some cattails that projected up from a submerged island, I noticed this small, persistent  rippling area in the glassy surface of the lake.  Curious, I paddled over, and there discovered a Hummingbird, struggling for its life in the water.

I slowly slid my paddle beneath the frantic bird and gently lifted her out of the lake.  Then carefully slid her down onto one of the empty seats (I was kneeling in the middle of the canoe).  Once sure of her footing on the seat, she hung her wings out to dry, resembling a tiny cormorant in her pose.  But she was panting terrifically and I could tell she was exhausted from her struggles and from the cold water draining her energy.

I quickly paddled to the shore, and after passing the dock of one cabin, I found that the next cabin had a Hummingbird feeder hanging from its eves.

Somehow I managed to nudge the poor bedraggled bird back on the paddle and set her down on the dock.   I then flagged down the owner, who had seen me through her window, and who promised me that she would look after the bird.

The experience cast a magical spell over the rest of my time on the lake.

They are such delicate creatures…

 

 

 

Rise & Shine

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This Hummingbird greeted me on the sidewalk on my way home:

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The mysteries of the Hummingbird –

Never flapping their wings, but rotating them in a figure 8,

they reach near-infinities in flight –

Wingbeats of 70 times per second when casually flitting about.

Wingbeats of 200 times per second when in a high-speed dive.

Drinking of the nectar of life.

Heartbeats beating for joy 21 times per second.