Flames, Fins, and Feathers

We packed a whole lotta action into about 4 hours last night.

Yeah, there were flames–from an exploding transformer across the street from us (note: it was not Optimus Prime).

And there were fins–Tuck’s spunky fish, Penny, passed away in one of those long, drawn out ways that goldfish are wont to do (especially with an audience).

But the feathers part of the night…that’s what I’m talking about.

After the exploding transformer but before the fish funeral, I went outside to find this tiny creature flopping around on our driveway:

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I’m no birder, but I did recognize that this was a hummingbird. The beak kinda gave it away.

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I am ruby-throated hummingbird; hear me…chirp?

It was indeed a hummingbird, but it was struggling hummingbird. So, of course, I ran inside to get my camera. (Don’t worry; the story ends well.)

She (he? we preferred to call her a her) was having a serious wing issue. The bird kept trying her hardest to fly away but only succeeded in getting a few inches off the ground before smashing herself, beak first, back on the driveway.

She did this several times before giving up. 

I sat next to her for a bit while she frantically looked around. The driveway dive-bombing had left her more than a little stunned. 

She let me touch her. She let me scoop her up and carry her inside (where the human inhabitants freaked out). So I set her down inside a Tupperware container, and we went back into the great outdoors.

See her right wing? It’s hard to tell in this photo, but it was bent and flipped up and obviously not right because it wasn’t listening to a thing her brain tried to tell it to do. 

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She let me reach under her wing and press it back into place.

I was amazed at how easily it snapped back to the right position.

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I scooped her back up and put her back on the driveway. She stretched her wings out but still couldn’t fly.

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She hopped over to the door and gave herself a pep talk.

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And then she tried to take off, but she didn’t get very far. She flew up a few feet but landed again rather quickly–at least this time she was in control and did not do a beak-plant on the concrete.

I scooped her up again, and we all started talking to her. 

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She was calm and still. At one point, she closed her eyes like she was napping. I realize she probably thought she was hiding; they don’t call simple folks “birdbrains” for nothing, you know, but it was mighty comforting to think that for that brief moment I was the Bird Whisperer.

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After several more minutes of our encouraging heart-to-heart, she finally took off!

And went straight to Jack, where she lit on his shirt.

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She stayed on the Creeper for a couple of minutes and then flew away! (Not fluent in MineCraft? Wow. You are as rare as a Bird Whisperer.) 

Her wing was fixed. She sounded like a miniature helicopter when she took off.

It was one of the coolest things we’ve ever experienced. How many people have ever helped a hummingbird? We don’t even have a hummingbird feeder in our yard. Yet.

All that might be changing pretty soon though.

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Jack says he’s going to hang this picture in his veterinarian office when he grows up.

This makes me smile.

We only have one word for our little ruby-throated friend:

[wait for it…]

Freebird!!!

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