Strange, True Hummer Story

brianstreehouseMay 11, 2007

Today was field day at the elementary school where I teach. The gym doors were open all day so that kids could come and go to various activities and a female RTH flew in at some point. She flew up to the white ceiling and bopped around, but would not come down.

After school I turned out the lights and left the doors open hoping she would fly down to the light coming in from outside. No such luck. I had appointments this afternoon, so I had to leave.

This evening, I went back to see if I could get her out. I took a skimmer from our kiddie pool and a small tub of hummer juice. The skimmer was of no use at all in that massive space. All I managed to do with it was break it. I got out the electric lift and went up to the ceiling in the dark to keep the hummer from taking off. It only took me three different positions on the gym floor, lifting up, coming back down, and lining up with the hummer before I was able to reach out and scoop her off of a ceiling beam.

She must have been pretty weak after being up there all afternoon, but she peeped the whole way back down to the ground. I was now operating the lift one handed since she was in one hand. The janitor, who I asked to keep an eye out for me, just left. Anyway, by the time I got her outside, she had passed out.

I was worried that she was going to die. She was in shock, I guess and totally passed out in my hand. I must have sat on the sidewalk with her for at least thirty minutes. At last her eyes opened, but she sat there in a daze.

I put her beak into a tub of hummer juice and eventually, she began to drink and then drank very deeply. She sat in my hand for a few more minutes. Then she turned her head, gave me a look, and her wings blurred into life. She flew high up over a maple tree and was gone.

It was just at sunset. I hope she makes it. I also hope she did not have a nest waiting for her return all that time.

I am amazed at how tiny she was. She was smaller than even one of my fingers and weighed next to nothing. I cannot believe I held that little jewel in my hand for so long. I hope never to need to do that again (had a similar experience with a hummer in the neighbor's garage once) but will never, ever, forget the thrill I felt when she returned to the sky and buzzed away.


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rembetika(austin, TX)

Brian... thank you or sharing that amazing story.. that must have been an incredible feeling to hold her in your hand, and to save her life. You are true hero!
You know I'd like to think that sometimes critters know, somehow, when we are helping them. Maybe, she was saying 'hey, thanks!' before she flew off.....? Sure seems like it anyway... :)

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 11:25PM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

She had probably gone into torpor to conserve what liittle energy she had left. When a hummer gets trapped inside a building, garage etc. the safest method of getting them out is to hang a feeder as close to the entrance as possible. They will go to the feeder and then out the door without any assistance but if you try to catch them they will use every bit of energy they have to stay as far up high as possible. Hanging a feeder works every time.


    Bookmark   May 12, 2007 at 11:35AM
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Amazing true story with a truly heartfelt ending , so glad it turned out alright in the end. I tend to agree with Penny that the hummer went into torpor to save her reserves. When hummers fly into an area like that it is because they are attracted there. They sometimes fly into garages because of the red handle pull down on the garage door. So Im guessing they saw something red near the door of your building, fire extingisher, article of clothing. etc.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2007 at 12:03PM
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I did try moving some red flowers and ribbon into the doorway after school, but the hummer did not come down. I was worried that she would not make it through the night if I did not get her out right away. How long can a hummer last without food and water? I did not think it was very long.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2007 at 2:09PM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

I am not sure how long they can go without eating but when they go into torpor they can and do go quite a long time.


    Bookmark   May 13, 2007 at 7:48AM
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buford(7 NE GA)

I had similar experiences in my house a few times. We had foolishly put a window feeder near the doorway from our deck into our kitchen. You know how hummers zip around, well the first time this happened, two hummers flew in. One flew out right away, but the other flew further into the house. We have a two story family room and there are windows at the top. Of course the hummer went up there to try to get out of the window. She kept banging against the glass. We ran to the garage to get the 8 foot ladder. I had to go up on the ladder with a broom to try to nudge the bird down. She then took off throughout the house.

We have cats, so we were afraid they would catch her. Then I found her lying on the floor very still. I thought she flew into a wall or window and was killed. My husband picked her up. We were just looking at how beautiful she was, when she sat up and buzzed off AGAIN.

Back to the window. This time she must have been exhausted. I was able to take a dishtowel and put her in it and bring her outside. She again was still but after a few minutes, took off.

This has happened a few times, because we tend to leave that door open in the morning. We got very good at getting them out. I was even able to do it once by myself. But we've moved the feeder and it's only happened once since then.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2007 at 8:19AM
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