Saturday, August 19, 2017

Rescuing a young hummingbird nestling

Yesterday I drove over to Florence River Park, a small nature park on the far east edge of Florence, CO. As I sat in my car for a few minutes I spotted a hummingbird 20-25 feet in front of my car. It hovered a few feet off the ground then went down to the ground which piqued my curiosity. When I got it in my binoculars I was stunned to see that it was on the ground feeding its baby. And, ye gads, it was in the parking lot where it was could be run over by a vehicle, grabbed by one of off leash dogs that are common here or even stepped on by someone as it was difficult to see. So I got out to move it, or get to move on it's own if it was able to fly, to a safer location. The pics above and just below show the young hummer on the ground in the parking lot.
It quickly became apparent this was a nestling that was not ready to fledge yet. I called Nancy Kelly at Second Chance Wildlife Rehab in Pueblo to ask her advice. She advised putting it back in the nest which was not possible as the tree limbs were 30 or so above the parking lot. She then suggested making a nest box and tying up in a tree--that wasn't feasible either. So she said I should put it in a box and bring it to her. The pic below is the nestling hummer in the box with some paper towels and the stick it had attached it's tiny toes to. Actually the stick was about a foot long but I certainly wasn't going to pry it's toes off and it small it broke easily so I just lifted the hummer with it's attached stick into the box.
The nice thing about baby hummers is they don't need very large transport boxes. The pic below is the box I put holes in then put it in my car for just under an hour drive to Pueblo. It chirped every few seconds for most of the trip which apparently was it's calling to be fed. I did get it to the rehab in Pueblo. Nancy confirmed it was a very young bird, maybe a week or so old.
The pic below shows the parking lot where I spotted the nestling hummer with the red ball at about the location it was located--a very precarious location for a tiny hummer on the ground. I am really glad I decided to go to this park in nearby Florence so I could get it out of harm's way and to a rehab where it is safe. Fyi, I didn't see the mother well enough to confirm the id but I believe she was a Broad-tailed Hummingbird. SeEtta
8-19-17: Follow up from Second Chance Wildlife Rehab, here is a short video of this nestling feeding vigorously: