Not too long ago, I wrote a post about the hummingbird exodus. The males leave ahead of time, and the females make their way shortly after. We had a mass of females, who very vocally scrapped over who “owned” a particular feeder at a particular moment. I could tell they were nearing their time to leave, as the activity became more frenetic!
They all left on the 12th, while I was away for the day. About a week later, at least 2 more hummingbirds began showing up. I had left the feeders out, for any stragglers passing thru on their southern migration.
There were at least 2 females hanging around. I would see them together at dusk, heading for the treeline right near the house. There could have been more, but it seemed like only 2- but then, they all look alike!!!!
I was starting to worry, as the weather began to change a bit, after the first day of autumn. Some people take the feeders down, in an effort to encourage the little ones to move on. I have always left them up – the hummers have always moved on when it was time.
Last night, I was watching tv, and noticed a tiny bird just sitting on the feeder. She was puffed up, a tiny little ball of iridescence, quickly fading to a shadow, as the sun went down. Another female came twice to check on her and to try to get her to leave before darkness fell, but to no avail. The ailing bird sat there for an hour. I left the room for a moment, and when I returned, she was gone. I looked out the window, and there she was on the deck, on her side and barely moving.
I ran and got a box, and a soft towel, and went outside. I thought she was dead, but as I gently picked her up, she let out a tiny peep, with a frail flutter of wings. That flutter had neither the power to lift her off my hand, nor the ground. The day before, we had an inch and a half of chilling nonstop rain, she might be an older bird, there were alot of possibilities for her condition.
I thought about bringing the box inside, but instead, covered her up with the warm towel, with enough of an opening for her to escape, if she regained her strength. At this point, her leaving seemed unlikely. I left the box on the cushioned rocker, and turned off the porch light.
Early this morning, while the fog still covered everything, I ran outside to check the box, fully expecting her to have died during the night. I was very surprised to find the box empty!
It had not been moved or disturbed, and I did not see the tiny bird anywhere. It was 49 degrees, so I decided to refill the feeders for any remaining hummingbirds. As I removed the feeders, 2 hummers zoomed in and flitted around my head!! The perfect Disney-esque scenario would be that one of those tiny birds was the one I rescued last night!! I will keep on thinking that, altho the likelihood of that being the truth is slim to none……..The one little hummer perched on the feeder right now could be…….
This warm energy drink will hopefully give these stragglers sustenance for the long journey ahead! As much as I love having them hang around, they need to leave, and I will look forward to their return next year!!!!!