Baby Bird Season is upon us, and once again, it's starting off with a bang with the first species we see each year, hummingbirds. Our first hummer baby arrived on March 3rd and our first baby release of the season happened just last week!
The First Baby Hummingbird Release of 2023!
Our first official baby of baby bird season is a little Anna's Hummingbird. This is to be expected as they start nesting in February.
This little one was found on the ground, cold and wet in a Good Samaritan's yard who took action and brought in the helpless baby for care. The first order of business was getting her warmed up, followed by putting her on an every 30-minute feeding schedule for 12 hours per day.
During operating hours (9am-4pm), she is monitored and fed by clinic staff. However, that only accounts for seven of the twelve hours. For the remaining feeding hours, baby hummers must be taken home by staff members—a labor of love I truly enjoy.
With round the clock care, our patient became a plump little baby, feeding eagerly. And after just one week, she was eating on her own and learning to fly. We began moving her to larger and larger enclosures, waiting to move her outdoors until the freezing temperatures were replaced by slightly warmer nights. She was then relocated to an outdoor aviary befitting a hummingbird queen! Full of flowers from our Aviary Enrichment Greenhouse, this exposed her to live fruit flies which encouraged her to develop her hunting skills. She snapped them up like candy while also investigating the variety of flowers and expertly maneuvering in every direction.
Baby Bird Season typically starts just like this—long hours of constantly feeding these delicate little 'winged jewels'. Watching them learn to eat on their own, exploring their environment as they instinctually prod various flowers for nourishment even though they're not quite sure what to do yet, is always a treat and the greatest reminder of why each and every bird counts.
Last week, the little one finished her rehabilitation journey with a soft-release into my own yard. After rebuilding following the Tubbs fire, my goal was to repopulate the yard with as many native plants as possible, including plenty of hummingbird food. I'll monitor her for several days and offer the food she's known while in care as she navigates being free at her own pace. Here's hoping we remain neighbors!