Late Friday morning, a family walking the Hammond Trail in McKinleyville found a young Allen’s Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin) on the ground in the middle of the path. Unsure what to do, they picked the tiny bird up and called our clinic.
After asking a few questions to make sure that the bird needed help, our staff asked them to bring the bird to us.
Young hummingbirds, unlike many species of songbird, typically leave their nest able to fly. So a fledgling (a young bird just learning to fly) on the ground may be in trouble.
Upon examination, the 3 gram youngster had no apparent injuries and seemed in good health. That afternoon we attempted to return the wayward fledgling to his or her family, but an afternoon wind had kicked up and it became difficult to hear any adult hummingbird activity. This little one would need parents to survive, so the bird was brought back to our clinic for the night.
We help many orphaned young birds make it to independence, healthy and ready for the wild, raising them from hatchling to juvenile, but it is obviously true that all wild animals do better with their own parents, in a community of their kind. Aviaries are good in a pinch, but in no way do they replace the real world! So whenever possible, we re-unite uninjured, healthy orphans with their families, or at least foster them to a wild family who will do a good job as surrogate parents – hawks, geese, corvids, deer will all take on raising an orphan of their own kind.
So the next day, with calmer conditions, our crack re-uniter/photographer (and BAX co-founder, Laura Corsiglia) was available to make an attempt. Sparing the suspense, it was a wildly successful re-unite. Check out the photos:
In care, the fledgling Allen’s Hummingbird is a stranger in a strange land.
Rehabilitation staff prepares the Hummingbird for transport.
Walking the Hammond Trail, BAX co-founder, Laura Corsiglia, saw this patch of blooms, noting its perfection as hummingbird habitat… but they pressed on in search of family.
After searching along the section of trail where the young bird was found, they returned to this patch when they heard adult Allen’s Hummingbirds nearby.
BAX/HWCC volunteer prepares to place the tiny bird on perch among the flowers.
Even before the bird could be placed, a female Allen’s Hummingbird arrived on the scene and immediately began to hover about our little patient and offer food!
In the next sequence of photos, the adult female Allen’s Hummingbird makes several quick visits to the fledgling as the volunteer finds a place to set the bird down. This is one of the best “re-unites” we’ve done, with a parent arriving on the scene immediately, and in such a perfect setting… This is one of the many joys of our work, which we appreciate greatly against the equally many sorrows.
Find the mother! She’s right there, looking out at you!
In this shot, the mother, against the sky, zooms up to only return again to her youngster.
You can’t see them but they’re both there, fledgling and parent, in the safety of the wild, on the edge of North America, along a rural county’s popular walking trail, at the center of the universe.
Nature takes her course.
Your support makes our successes, like this happy wild family re-united, possible. Thank you! And if you can donate now, we sure could use it, here in the middle of our busiest season. Thank you again!
all photos: Laura Corsiglia/BAX