Yesterday evening, I was able to put my knowledge of hummingbirds to use in a way that truly mattered. My friend, Judy and her son Daniel, had discovered a hummingbird that had fallen out of its nest. The young bird seemed unhurt but somewhat dazed and confused. The mother hummingbird seemed no where to be found. Judy wanted to know how best to help the hummingbird.
I told her to lift the bird along with the material it is sitting on, and place it on crumpled tissue in a small box with holes in the lid.
I also told her that the hummingbird should always be placed on tissue or paper towels. Do not use cloth. The reason for this is because the bird’s feet may become entangled in the cloth. You will also want to provide the bird with a low heat source, but be careful not to overheat the bird. The bird is too hot if it starts open-mouth breathing or its neck is outstretched, so be sure and watch for these warning signs.
Due to their extremely high metabolic rates, hummingbirds must eat frequently. A hummingbird will eat between 5-8 times per hour with each feeding lasting about 30 seconds in length. Hummingbirds can die within four hours if not fed. You will want to feed the adult hummingbirds a sugar water mixture of 1 part sugar to four parts water. Hummingbird babies can’t be fed sugar water or commercial hummingbird nectar for more than 24 hours because this may cause the young hummingbirds to develop crippling deformities.
As the old saying goes, “knowledge is power.” My knowledge of hummingbirds enabled me to be able to provide Judy the information she needed to be able to take care of the bird until she could get it to the local Audubon Society or hummingbird rehabilitator this morning. It sure felt good to be able to provide her the knowledge she needed to try and help the hummingbird make it through the night! One can never know when the knowledge you have can be used for the benefit of others. Thanks Judy for trusting my knowledge on this subject and for allowing me to help you in your time of need. I’m currently awaiting word from Judy to find out where she has taken the bird for further care, and I will update you on the matter as soon as I hear back from her.