The Eastsider seems to have been on the bird beat recently, with coverage of Echo Park water fowl and backyard hawks. Today’s bird news comes from Silver Lake, where Sandy Driscoll recounts how – with the help of a hummingbird rescue group (who knew?), a fruit picker and shoebox – she spent Saturday night helping out a hummingbird trapped inside her home:
“I was surprised to see a hummingbird had flown into my home and had trapped himself in the upper reaches of my entry skylight … 20 feet up! I know that when birds find their way indoors, the best thing to do is usually leave windows open, and they will eventually fly out. What I didn’t know, however, is that this does not apply to hummingbirds.”
Click on the link for rescue details.
The little bird had flown to the highest point in my home, and for 2 hours had been frantically trying to fly out through my skylight screen which is not removable.
Nothing on the Internet offered any solutions…..only little bits of info that made it seem very unlikely that I would be able to save him. However, there was a contact number for LA Hummingbird Rescue! Soon after leaving a short explanatory message, my call was quickly returned by Terry.
She gave me a quick and concise lesson in hummingbirds, and said my particular situation was pretty dire. Hummers always fly UP and do not have a sense that tells them how to fly down and out. They eat every 30 minutes, so he was getting weaker very quickly, and would soon die if he continued to fly back and forth, resting for only 2-3 seconds on a short ledge.
Hummers will not fly at night, and as it was quickly getting dark, he seemed to be doomed. However, she gave me some excellent instructions! Somehow I had to create a perch on which he could rest, and it had to be in the skylight area, as he would not come down. Perching is how they sleep, and once he was safely perched and asleep for a while, I could lower the perch, attempt to capture him, put him in a Kleenex-lined shoebox and quickly feed him sugar water through a dropper. He would need that energy to survive the night. It was important to keep him in the box throughout the night, and in the bathroom, in case he got out. In the morning, give him more sugar water for his flight home (wherever that is!) and release him.
It all seemed daunting and pretty improbable, but I did everything she suggested, even rigging a perch by using an old fruit picker basket mounted on a 10 ft. pole, and perched that on a 10 ft. extension ladder! As you can tell by the photos and notes below, this story has a happy ending!
Photos by Sandy Driscoll