How to rescue a hummingbird that doesn’t want to be rescued.


Every summer Arrowhead hosts a colorful hummingbird population.  Hummingbirds are among the smallest of all birds, with most measuring about 3 to 5 inches (and the Bee Hummingbird is an unbelievable 5 centimeters.). Some hummingbirds can flap their wings 80 times per second and hover in the air. They can fly backwards – quite a feat since they are the only birds on Earth able to do so. Some hummingbirds can exceed 30 miles per hour.  They can be very territorial towards other hummingbirds — so much so that the Aztec God of War was a Hummingbird! I tell you all these things now because I have recently gained a new appreciation for these little guys. I met one up close and we got personal.

I was waiting to check in the guests scheduled to arrive one fine afternoon in mid-summer of 2012, when an elderly gentleman whom I had already checked in came to the front desk where I was waiting. He told me there was a hummingbird caught in his cabin and he had been trying for an hour to get it to fly out. He seemed quite upset that the little bird might die. I told him I would take care of it (I acted like I knew what I was doing so he would not be worried), then I abandoned my post and went down the hill to the Cedar Creek Family Cabin. This happens to be the largest of the cabins and has the tallest ceilings, so there were lots of places for the mischievous little, flying guy to go. My weapon of choice? Why the longest swimming pool net and pole I could find – it must have been 12 feet long. The battle was on.

Into the cabin I went – blue net and 12 foot pole. I opened all the doors and tried to think of a way to get the flapping wings out through the doors without smashing them with the huge awkward weapon I drug into battle. 34 miles per hour is really fast. He was quick, but I was…not. Every time I would think I had him on the run (or should I say fly?) he would turn and go the other way. I’d get him to move and then he would suddenly cling with all his might to the corners on the highest points in the cabin. My unwieldy weapon was no match for the quick flying, super bird I was engaged in war with. He had me beat. BUT I could not give up. A clear picture was forthright in my mind of the old man who had asked me to clear the bird from his vacation cabin. He would surely be sad that the little hummingbird was bound to just die in there. I really don’t think the old man would have been able to sleep in the cabin knowing that it was really a tomb, a giant hummingbird coffin. So I trudged on.

Tired, humiliated, but determined. As I wielded my 12 foot “sword” high into the air for one last attempt at glory I gave a shout of purpose “RRRRRRGGGGG!” He went left I went right, whatever he did I did the opposite, because I had learned that in order to get a hummingbird out of a cabin I would have to read its mind and since he was so fast I would have to do the exact opposite as he was thinking at that moment because by the time I did my move he would already be on his next move. With this philosophy I managed to swoop him as gently as possible out the door. Off he went safe and sound. I know I learned something from all this, but did he? I’m sure he did – stay away from swimming pool nets!

Happy Trails….Callie

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