He was quite lethargic. Our first thought was to put him on the feeder where we might hope for two things to happen. (1) Either he would take a drink of the nectar and thereby be re-hydrated and somewhat energized; or (2) his mom would find him and take care of him as only a mother can do.
Unfortunately, a puff of wind came along and blew him off his perch. Fortunately, he landed in some soft leaves and was no worse off than he had been. But we knew we had to get him to take some nutrition. What to do?
I ran into the house and retrieved a tiny spoon. Ms. Karen put a few drops of sugar water in the spoon and offered it to him. Meanwhile I got the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum on the phone, but could only leave a message for their hummingbird specialist.
The Desert Museum specialist returned our call an hour later. She suggested we contact Tucson Mountain Hummingbird Rescue (520-743-0677). Noreen answered our call and suggested we leave the baby near where we found it and watch it intently for 90 minutes to see if his mother finds it. She said if, after 90 minutes, the mother does not come around, then call her back and she would make arrangement to get the baby and see what she could do.
We met Noreen at the Pima County Animal Center and handed over the little guy to someone more qualified than us to care for such a delicate critter.
Two days later, Noreen sent us an email.
Just went online this morning to email you and saw your inquiry. I am sorry to say the hummingbird you brought to me died the very next morning. I noticed as soon as I got him home that he was having trouble swallowing. I actually did not think he would make it through the night. This could be many things from impact injury to pesticides exposure. I now regret I did not ask more questions because he was not a “baby hummingbird”. From our conversation and my questions I thought this was a young dependent bird. He was a juvenile male Costa, born maybe late winter but more likely last summer. I knew when I saw him when we met that he was not a nestling or fledgling. His gorget colors represented a juvenile and tail feathers show he was definitely an independent bird. I feel bad. It is always a lesson for me to ask more questions since this bird should never have been put back out but brought to me sooner, It is always sad to lose a life. Thanks so much for caring…you did your best. If you have any questions now or in the future, please do not hesitate to call me.
Now, we all like happy endings, so perhaps the best ending here is to know that should you find an ailing hummingbird, at least there is someone to help. Tucson Mountain Hummingbird Rescue (520-743-0677)