Baby Hummingbird Rescue!

Outside my kitchen window, a little hummingbird sits in the shade — the perch, a plant stake, the view, a nearby hummingbird feeder. I like to imagine this little bird could be the one I rescued some time ago. Pure fantasy I know, but there is a sense of kinship with these tiny creatures.


Are you my Momma?
Are you my Momma?

Late Sat. afternoon while wandering around my garden I found a baby hummer sitting in the sun on the brick patio.  He looked stressed, didn’t fly away when I approached him and he was perfect cat bait!  I immediately called for my husband, Rich, to begin the animal rescue.

It took several attempts but I finally caught him.  He was so light, and so small.  Rich and I were both afraid to hold him.  I wrapped him in a light towel and he calmed down.  Finally I calmed down and then began to wonder what to do? Naturally you are thinking “you should call the wild bird rescue!”  I was simply thinking, “I’m holding a hummingbird!”

Calming Down


He looked hot, his feathers were clumped together and he was panting, opening his beak over and over. So I began with an eye dropper and sugar water and he swallowed it right down. He also seemed quite content to stay where he was and wait for more to eat.  I fed him a little bit every 15 minutes.  He didn’t have any apparent injuries. After a little food he seemed less stressed and rather chipper.  In fact he did chirp!  Then he opened his mouth for “more please!”

Very Tasty!

When it began to get dark I put a piece of facial tissue on top of the towel so his feet didn’t get tangled in the threads.  I put the “nest” arrangement on a tray to make things safely portable. Then I covered him with a salad spinner basket.


I decided to bring him inside for the night.  I assumed he would be ready to fly off the next morning.

I’m comfortable, thanks!


Breakfast feeding began at 5 am and he did fly off a little way but landed on the ground and then didn’t try to fly again.  I picked him up and walked him around the garden offering him a bush or shrub to climb onto but he stayed on my finger.  So I brought him back to the tray and he asked for more food.  I fed him throughout the day about every 15 minutes.  He flapped his wings, and preened his feathers.  He seemed quite content.  He left tips of his contentment all around the tray, squirting out little sprays of poop.


Nice view!
Nice view!

He climbed onto the pencil perch I offered him, I lifted it up and down and he flapped his wings, over and over.  I thought surely he is ready to fly off but he just looked at me, “Are you my Momma?”  So I offered him a perch in the geranium right outside the kitchen window.  He was shaded, and hidden behind two big leaves.  He spent most of the day there and still made no attempt to fly.  It was Memorial Day, a three day weekend, so I assumed there was no one to call.


I'll just rest here!
I’ll just rest here!

I walked him around the yard and offered him some penstemon flowers, he liked that and ate from the nectar they offered.  He flew into the wet grass and stayed on the ground.  So I returned him to the geranium.


I'm good!
I’m good!

Tuesday morning I awoke worried! Would he become too weak as I had nothing to feed him than the sugar water?  But he seemed fine, still opening his beak for breakfast.  Since he still wanted to be fed with his mouth open like a baby bird and he wasn’t trying to fly away,  I realized he was needing more mothering than I knew how to provide. I searched for a wild bird rescue and within minutes I found a rehab site 20 minutes from home.

I’m going to have a nice green coat!

I drove the little guy over to Paul’s home.  Paul has been doing bird rescue for 13 years, caring for about 800 birds each year.  He currently had about 25 baby hummers under his care!  He had super nectar food which contained enzymes and protein designed just for the little birds.

He said my little bird was probably 3 weeks old.  The babies when they leave the nest simply move into the tree around it. The parents continue to feed the babies for 6 weeks before they take off on their own.  So Paul would feed this baby for that time.  He provides a protected aviary for the birds to practice flying.  When the bird matures sufficiently the rescued birds are released on the wildflower trail at the Desert Botanical Gardens.


I like red flowers!
I like red flowers!

A happy ending, and simply a thrill to be able to experience a hummingbird so intimately.  And what a wonderful discovery to learn about wild bird rescue volunteers!  The commitment to nurse birds back to health, feeding, providing shelter, observing 7 days a week, 24 hours a day!  Just to answer the phone when someone like me calls!  I so wanted this to end well and the wildlife rescue volunteers made that happen.

For my Arizona readers “Liberty Wildlife is committed to nurturing the nature of Arizona by providing quality wildlife rehabilitation, environmental education, and conservation services for the community.”  This organization helps you rescue your birds, and other small animals. If you can’t reach them immediately keep the animal WQD, Warm, quiet & in a darkened environment.

10 thoughts on “Baby Hummingbird Rescue!”

  1. Oh, my what a wonderful story. Each of your blogs has been thoughtful and charming, but with your website I’m looking forward to many, MANY more. Thank you. Sherry

  2. A wonderful story and great pictures! I also rescued a bird this week, He/she was hoping around the pool deck while momma bird was feeding him/her and it hoped right into the pool. Fortunately I saw it go in an rescued it. Momma then took over again.

  3. This is a lovely story — a book just waiting to happen! That was one lucky little hummer to land with the Larsons!

  4. Incredible story, Linda, and so well written.
    Congratulations for your experience AND your cheeky ability to photograph it in an educational way for the rest of us. I am, as always, impressed with your stories as well as your experiences as you travel the gardens of the world.

  5. Hi Linda, what a sweet story. Back when we first lived here
    my neighbor and myself tried twice to rescue baby birds,
    but we did not succeed. I love humming birds and we had
    quite a few in Az. Keep up the good work.

    Nancy R.

  6. Several readers made some wonderful comments. . . .then my website crashed and they were lost. So I am adding them back in here.
    John wrote, What a great experience! Thanks very much for the care that you provided.
    Loretta wrote, What a charming story……your caring instinct provided what the little guy needed…who would have thought to use a tissue for smooth floor and a salad spinner for shelter! Lucky hummer!
    Tanya wrote, What a wonderful thing to have happen. Glad you were able to help. Thanks for sharing.

    Gary wrote, Hi Linda, ah I loved the story about the baby hummer. Right now I am hand feeding two baby cockatiels, they are so cute. Hey guess what, I ran into Ron Hill and in talking, I told him that I had some birds and he gave three large aviaries for my birds. Good to hear from you.

    Jenny wrote, Fantastic story! I love it! Thank you very much, Linda.

    Cindy wrote, What a delightful story about your Lucky Hummer baby! I am grateful that he was in your yard and that you are so caring. I’d love to meet Paul and go and see his birds of rescue. He is a Godsend to be sure. Glad you found him and I’ll call you if I should be lucky enough to save a hummer.

  7. I have a hummer that chases everyone away from my three feeders. I have around 10-15 that eat reg in my feeders. The problem I see is his/her beak is slightly open and I never see it actually eat? Does anyone know what to fo if anything?

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