Life as I know It

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San Luis Obispo, California, and South Bristol, Maine, United States
Author ~ Illustrator ~ Lecturer

Monday, November 26, 2012

How to Hold a Hummingbird?


Gently.


I don't know how long the little hummer was trapped inside my laundry room before Jeff found her this morning. I think she must have been shut inside there since yesterday afternoon. Imagine the fear and frustration. She could SEE the blooms of pineapple and pitcher sage, purple blooms of the tulbaghia, and the deliciously slow drip of the fountain, but she couldn't reach them.


I talked quietly to it for a few minutes. Flight slowed, the hummer examined me, the white's of her eye showing, then dropped to the windowsill, little heart pumping so wildly that I could see it beating from a few feet away. I moved slowly and gently curled my hands around a bundle of life so lightweight that I couldn't feel it.


When I stepped outside the laundry room, I wished the hummer well and opened my hands, but...


...it lay inside my cupped hands, tail feathers ruffled, wings bent, spider web tangled through its wings and legs, and wrapped tightly around its long, needle-like bill. It would not be able to fly or eat in this condition.


Poor little sweetheart.


I ran my fingers across wings and tail, removing tangled webs from everywhere.




Come on, young lady, it is time for you to leave.


But she was exhausted. She stretched out and tucked her bill onto the top of my fingers. Looking closely, I realized her bill was still glued together with sticky webbing.


 I ran my fingers down her bill to remove the web, ...


... but the glue-like strands were stuck around it. I needed water to loosen it, but I knew that the little hummer was failing fast. So, I did what any good mother would do, slipped my lips over her bill and licked off the webbing.


She spread her wings across my palm. By now her heart beat normally. Jeff was getting ready to do a movie of her take-off, but before he could adjust the camera settings, she was gone. Her first stop? The pineapple sage (Salvia elegans) that she had been able to see through the glass of my laundry room. 

FARETHEWELL, little Anna's hummer. Thanks for starting my day off in the most beautiful and meaningful way. And thanks Jeff, for chronicling this amazing visit.

Love across the miles,

Sharon

P.S. Anna's are usually found in my California (zone 9) gardens every month of the year. I keep two hummingbird feeders filled with a sugar-syrup solution. Simply mix one cup of water with 1/4 cup of pure white granulated sugar (NEVER HONEY). Microwave the mixture for about a minute and a half.  Let it cool thoroughly. I clean the feeders a few times a week with a baby bottle brush and hot, hot water, and refill them. They're hung in the shade so the sugary mixtures doesn't ferment. 

43 comments:

marigold jam said...

Amazing story and photos!

Diana Schmied said...

That's a wonderful story (it really would make a wonderful little book!). My youngest (now 15) remembers well when she was 4 and she got to hold a hummingbird briefly for banding at the hummingbird festival near Holly Springs, Mississippi where they gather in September on the great migration.

Blondie's Journal said...

I'm sure this was a once in a life time moment for you, Sharon. With your tender loving care that sweet little hummer is off again! Jeff's pictures are precious! Thanks so much for sharing this experience with us!

XO,
Jane P.S. Hope your Thanksgiving was lovely!

thethimbleroom said...

Such an amazing story. Thank you so much for sharing!!

lemonverbenalady said...

That hummer was cleaning for you, Sharon! You have such wonderful experiences and just in time for your bird book! xxoo Nancy

Vee said...

Now you've made me cry... What a precious story. I'm so glad that you knew just what to do to rescue your little hummer.

susanernst said...

what a wonderful story! It brought tears to my eyes! How wonderful it must have been to hold that precious little bird! So wonderful that Jeff was there to take the photos!

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness Sharon! The poor little hummer was in trouble and you knew exactly what to do! Amazing to say the least! I love this! ♥
Martha Ellen

Cindy Garber Iverson said...

What an incredibly magical miracle you had! I am almost breathless thinking about it and reliving it through your words. I am so grateful that you were quick thinking and did what needed to be done to save the sweet girl. Jeff did a fantastic job of chronicling the fleeting moments. Thank you for the heartwarming inspiration you've given me today.

Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

The Painted Garden said...

Dear Sharon,
I was so moved by your beautiful and kind act in saving the precious little Humming Bird - and Jeff's photos are stunning. It would make a wonderful and heart warming book for children and adults. I read and reread your story and each time it brought tears to my eyes.

Blessings,
Erin

Julie Marie at Idyllhours said...

Oooh Sharon, you are just the sweetest lady on earth!... the tears were just running down my face as I read this tender story... but I knew she could not be in better hands... I love you!... for so many reasons, and now here is another beautiful one... she knew she could trust you and how very much you love her... I am so happy she was able to fly to your pineapple sage... I just read this to Jack... I think he has tears in his eyes too!... much love precious lady, and to Jeff and your little hummer flying now "on a wing and a prayer"... xoxo Julie Marie

Thea said...

You have the most amazing nature events. your gentleness is like our Lord's. Just a wonderful, heartwarming story. Maybe she read your book. xoxoxox

Laurie said...

h my gosh, what a tender hearted story, I also read this to my husband and I have to say we are both so very impressed and in awe.Thankyou for sharing this, what a sweet heart you are, this speaks volumes of your character,

jean said...

I'm so glad Jeff found her in time, Sharon and that you were able to help her. What a sweet story with a happy ending.

Sonia said...

Oh my goodness..how precious and that you were able to help her get back to the pineapple sage! I adore hummingbirds..they are my favorite. I would love to have a happy close encounter with one. Thanks for saving her and sharing!
Miss Bloomers

africanaussie said...

Oh how precious to hold a little life in your hands.....so glad your got it untangled..lovely photos, thank you for sharing them.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

How sweet! I caught one when I was a little girl. It was flying in the mimosa flowers and I just reached up and cupped it gently in my hands. It was so beautiful. You were lucky enough to save one! This is a wonderful story.

1st Man said...

Wow. I just don't know what else to say but wow. ;-)

Kay G. said...

Dear Sharon,
Our hummingbirds left the second week of October. I miss them.
Thanks so much for this beautiful post. I would have been thrilled to have held a hummingbird in my hands and even more thrilled to see it fly away in good health! xx

Bonnie K said...

You are truly blessed. It is your reward for writing a book about birds! How amazing. While I was showing your photos to my husband he told me he held a hummingbird once when he was a kid. It had become tangled in a spider web. What an amazing experience. Thank you for sharing those photos.

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

That is one of the sweetest things I've ever seen. She felt safe in your hands :)

Lori ann said...

i just love you sharon. bless your heart and the little hummers too.

just last week we had one trapped in our shop, the one you visited last time. the ending wasn't so good, the wee bird was passed when i opened up the following morning. made me cry. i love hummingbirds.

Meadowsweet Cottage said...

Actually holding a hummer is magical, isn't it! I rescued one many years ago when we were first married and living in an apartment. I can still feel it in my hands!

Susan said...

I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see the photo of her flying off. You are the closest to Mother Nature I know and so do your birds, XOXO

rebecca sweet said...

Sharon - this is just one of the zillions of reasons why I love you and Jeff. Thanks for sending me to bed with such a sweet story!

Evelyn Vincent said...

What a beautiful story and photo's. Thanks for sharing.

From the Kitchen said...

What a lovely post. What a lovely treat to hold that precious bird in your hands and become her savior. There has to be a fine story in that experience.

Best,
Bonnie

Maria said...

Wonderful, wonderful!!

Jimmie said...

You're my hero. I could count on one hand the number of people who would take the time and make the effort to save this little cutie. The world is a much better place with you in it, Dear Sharon.

Love from Diane in North Carolina

newenglandsnarrowroad said...

How lucky you were able to take care of that hummingbird and get it ready to fly! How many people have had a hummer's beak in their mouth? What an amazing incident - with super great photos to match.

C-ingspots said...

Oh, what an honor you've been bestowed...to save a hummingbird! I love this!!!!

Jeri Landers said...

Sharon how very sweet! The same thing happened in our home once-minus the spiderweb. The poor little hummer had been flying round and round our 12 ft ceilings for a hour nonstop.When she finally landed I cupped her in hand and stepped outside to set her free. When I opened my hand, she just sat there for several minutes. Just dazed I guess. At last she took off. We should feel very lucky, not everyone gets to hold a hummingbird!

MandaBurms said...

What a lovely blog post to wake up to.
Love Leanne

Hindsfeet said...

oh Sharon...I can't get *over* this gorgeous story, the beautiful metaphor in it.....

...maybe you should make it a children's book!!

what a lovely lovely share, my dear, thank you with all my hummingbird heart...

Liz~*

Pam G said...

How lucky you are to have had such a wonderful experience and what a story!

Privet and Holly said...

My daughter and I both
enjoyed reading this sweet,
sweet account, as she is
a huge hummingbird fan!
That will be fun for her if
she ends up going to college
in California, next year....to
see hummingbirds every month,
not just the warm months as
we do here in MN.

Thanks for sharing this
special encounter with your
readers, Sharon!

xo Suzanne

sensiblegardening said...

A once in a lifetime experience, lucky you! I've had them land quickly on my shoulders in the garden and that in itself is quite a thrill.

Lori in Indiana said...

I agree with all the others ... a wonderful story that brought tears to my eyes. Bless you, Sharon!

Lori in Indiana said...

I agree with all the others ... a wonderful story that brought tears to my eyes. Bless you, Sharon!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

What an amazing experience this must have been, Sharon! I'm so glad the hummingbird was able to finally fly away to her flowers!

Lili said...

Oh Sharon, seeing these images brought such happiness and by the time I finished reading a couple of misty eyes too. I absolutely loved this. Thank you so much for sharing and Jeff did an amazing job too. I'm convinced your special visit holds a deeper meaning especially for you. xo

vicki said...

Sharon-- I don't know how I missed this precious story---
God sent that fragile little bird to your tender loving hands-- there are no words for this precious story. Jeff captured it beautifully in the photos-

Love
Vicki

Carol said...

What an encounter Sharon!!! Lucky for you and the little Anna. Precious!