Close Call

(We’ll get back to the airshow pictures, I promise.)

I was going out into the back yard early this afternoon and I saw something on the Dodgers doormat outside the door. I got closer and realized it was a hummingbird.

I think that it was Little Bastard, the extremely territorial hummingbird that chases off all of the others that come to “his” feeder.

He body was shaking, vibrating, but that’s it. His wings or head weren’t moving at all.

I poked him very gingerly – nothing. Then he stopped shaking and was still.

He was on the ground right at the base of the sliding glass door, so my best guess is that he flew into the glass. I figured he was dead.

I’ve seen questions by people on Twitter who find birds that are stunned after flying into a window. The advice I’ve seen is to make them comfortable and warm someplace and hope that they’re just stunned. (Insert Monty Python’s parrot sketch here…)

I took a bunch of pictures of him in a bowl full of napkins. The colors are astonishing. I figured it would be the only chance I got to get this close to one of these delicate and beautiful creatures.

No movement at all. But for whatever reason it looked like there was an alertness in the eyes.

I decided to not bring him into the house – what if he recovered and started buzzing around inside the house? The comedy levels would have been awesome, but still…

So I put another napkin over the top, covering him fully, hopefully to keep him warm, but loosely enough so that if he recovered he could get out from under it. I left the bowl out on the patio table.

About 90 minutes later I was fixing lunch and needed bread from the outside freezer. I opened the door and was immediately buzzed by a hummingbird.

The attacker flew right back over to Little Bastard’s normal perch. Then he started clicking and barking at me with some vehemence.

I checked the bowl. Maybe it wasn’t Little Bastard. Maybe it was one of the other hummers. Maybe I was hallucinating.

The bowl was empty.


Filed under Birds, Photography

2 responses to “Close Call

  1. berich56

    We had a hummingbird collapse in our garage one time. We picked it up, got a cap full of sugar water, it drank some, and then flew off. That was pretty cool.
    We have an aggressive male that likes to guard the feeder in front of the house. So we put up a feeder on the side of the house where the females go. He thinks he’s quite the king of the feeder, not realizing that there are other feeders available.


    • It was cool to pick it up – they’re so light! Years ago at a NASA thing I got to hold a cube of airgel, basically “frozen smoke,” about a six-inch cube and it weight a couple of grams, tops. This reminded me of that.

      I also eventually put up a second feeder around the corner and got the same results. There are a half dozen hummingbirds who share that feeder, while Little Bastard lords over “his” in peace.


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