Thursday, August 18, 2016

dazed and confused

Many birds fly into windows. CRASH! 

Sometimes it breaks their necks, but sometimes it just leaves them dazed and confused, like a football player after a rough hit.

Colliding into windows is the number two cause of bird deaths. Outside cats kill an estimated 1.4 to 3.7 billion birds each year, while flying into windows causes 365 to 988 million bird deaths.

Last Sunday, August 14, I was checking the 30 hummingbird feeders we have around the Visitor Center when I found a male ruby-throated hummingbird on a bench below a window. It was moving but not much, naturally I feared the worse. 

Cradling the injured foundling gently in my hands I watched it, speaking to it in soft tones. He wiggled a bit, twisting his head back and forth, blinked bleary eyed, asking itself the obvious questions: "Where am I? Who am I?"

Hummingbirds are incredible light: only three grams, roughly the same as two dimes. Having one in your hand is like holding a hope and a promise. An official badminton shuttlecock weighs twice as much but only has 16 feathers.

Opening my fingers, it didn't fly, but hopped onto my thumb. Good sign! Yet, still he didn't want to fly. Had he forgotten how? A nearby visitor brought me a sugar-water feeder. 

The hummer seemed to slowly come to its senses, recognizing the world and the meaning of the feeder. Self awareness was creeping in.

It drank.

Swoosh! Like a swift running back, it saw its opening and bolted away. 

All photos by Rex McDaniel 

The Wonder of Hummingbirds Festival is this Saturday at Ijams. Great fun.

One of the most remarkable photos you'll ever see. Thank you, Rex.

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