Hummingbird hero

My father-in-law, Fred, is a man of many talents. He is a big-rig driver, an expert pancake flipper, a dog whisperer and, of course, he is still “Daddy” to his little girl.

Now we can add “hummingbird hero” to the list.

During a visit over the holiday weekend, we went out into Fred’s garage and found a hummingbird blindly buzzing about. The bird was stunned to find the sky had been replaced by a ceiling, as he repeatedly bonked his head in a pathetic effort to escape. The garage door was open, but the poor bird was so intent on going up that he couldn’t go out.

He searched in vain for a place to stop and rest his tired little wings. And so he hung precariously for a moment on the frame of the garage door.

Finally he plopped down like an overworked dog, beak ajar as if panting.

As the tallest guy in the room, I climbed a footstool and carefully cupped the bird in my hands. I expected resistance, but the spent hummingbird had nothing left. I took him out into the yard and opened my hands, but even then, he refused to fly away.

I panicked. Had I damaged his wings? Was he injured?

The ever-calm Fred took over. He took the bird and recognized that it was covered in spiderwebs from swooping all over the garage. Fred began to carefully pick off the cobwebs.

Fred cupped his hands and thrust upward, hoping the bird would take the hint. Nothing happened. I began to fear our little friend would never fly again.

But finally, without enough warning for this wannabe photog to capture the moment, the bird burst out of Fred’s hands and tore off for the nearest tree, a cobweb trailing behind him.

There was no apparent injury. Fred guessed the bird had initially been too tired and too tangled up in the spiderwebs to escape.

“It’s like if you were tied up with rope,” Fred said.

Once some of the webs had been removed, and enough time had passed for the hummingbird to recapture some energy, he was gone.

Asked if the bird would have made it without our intervention, Fred said, “I don’t think so. But he’ll be OK now.”

Like I said, a man of many talents. Now how about some pancakes?

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  • Blog Author

    Alex Breitler

    A native of Benicia, he lives in Stockton with his wife, Ann, who forces him to go backpacking in the Sierra Nevada or Trinity Alps at every opportunity. He has been writing mostly about natural resources since 2003, first in Redding and now in ... Read Full
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