Hummingbirds are the smallest migrating birds in the world.
They only weigh about as much as a nickel, and their wings beat an average of 53 times every minute. These typically elusive creatures are always a treat to see in the wild, but when Sammy Malloy spotted one lying on the ground, he knew right away that something was wrong.
Sammy lives in Houston, Texas, with his daughter. When he first saw the bird, he decided to leave her alone in hopes that she was just stunned and would fly away on her own. But when he returned, the tiny animal was still in the same spot.
He brought her into his warm car and watched in astonishment as the baby bird immediately went to sleep in his hand.
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“I built a makeshift nest from my neck gator, and headed home as fast as I could,” Sammy explained. “She was in bad condition, and I was afraid she wouldn’t even make the drive.”
At home, Sammy mixed sugar and water in a dropper and attempted to hand-feed her. It took the little one time to get the hang of it, but once she did, she gobbled up the nectar.
“This is when I learned how fast hummingbirds’ metabolisms are,” Sammy wrote. “They have to eat every 10-15 minutes during the day.”
The baby bird couldn’t fly yet, but she loved sitting on Sammy’s finger and quickly “adopted” him as her mama. Sammy spoke to her in soothing tones and handled her gently as she regained some of her strength.
Sammy soon learned to motivate the bird, whom he named Flit, by placing a bright red paper-mache cover over the feeding dropper. Hummingbirds are attracted to red items because they look like flowers. Flit started flying to the makeshift feeder little by little, eventually regaining enough strength to make the journey consistently.
“It was like watching a baby take its first steps. There’s something almost magical about that,” her proud human papa said.
When Flit was finally ready, Sammy and his daughter brought her outside to release her back into the wild. They were sad to see the little bird go, but they both felt good about helping a defenseless animal survive!
“I was able to take a small, little delicate creature and nurse them back to health and get them strong enough so they can go back out into the world,” Sammy marveled.
As soon as they let her go, Flit headed straight to the red flowers in their yard. “She went straight for her food source,” Sammy added. “That gave me a lot of confidence in the fact that she was going to be OK.”
This is not only a wonderful way to help nature, but it’s also such a good lesson for Sammy’s young daughter. We are all stewards for the world around us!
Watch Sammy and his daughter set Flit free in the video below, and don’t forget to share this sweet story.
This is the last video of my baby bird. I nursed her back to health, and made sure she was ready to fly. I hope she comes back in the spring after her migration. My daughter was so sad to see her go. pic.twitter.com/DCGSETXAk3— Sammy Malloy (@38SammyD) October 16, 2020
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