Just wanted to share a sad story with a happy ending....I have a friend in Oklahoma, where it's been triple digits for a while now. She found a hummingbird in her yard with it's eyes closed, lethargic and ruffled feathers, she thought for sure it would die. Apparently she picked him up and gave him a drink, which he willing took, then he started gaining strength and flew away from her hand within a few minutes:) She posted a photo of him on Facebook, I'll try to ask her permission to post it. Anyway, this drought over there is affecting the wildlife and I hope people will provide a water source for them.
WOW! He does look like he had a very roughtime of it but I sure am glad that the outcome was a good one and that your friend found him and knew what to do. We got a slow but steady rain for about an hour here earlier today. It is the first really measurable rain we have had here since May I think....it has been so long that I can't really remember for sure. I have been keeping my fountain filled even though the birds don't use it and have set up other water stations around the yard....a small bird bath in the shade of my bucheye tree, a tomato cage with a large plant saucer out front and a small water bowl that attaches to my feeding station out back. I have also been checking all my hummingbird feeders on a daily basis since I only use a few ounces in each but have several scattered throughout the front and back yard so they don't have far to look.
USDA hardiness zone 6a
Heat zone 4
Sunset zone 39
I am in western NY state right between Niaqara Falls and Buffalo one of the last places anyone would think of being in drought conditions since we are almost completely surrounded by water. In fact this is the first time since I moved here from Louiisna in '89 that I have seen conditions like this.
USDA hardiness zone 6a
Heat zone 4
Sunset zone 39
Kim - That's one sad looking little hummer when it was found. I can't help but wonder what the white is around it's head? Oklahoma has been having fires lately. I wonder if the bird got a little too close to a fire? Hopefully it wasn't trying to protect any babies. Or are those gray/white feathers of an older bird? Maybe Nancy or Kevin will comment. Just glad the poor little thing was revived!
Penny, I hope you get some rain soon, sounds like you are in a beautiful area, never been there myself.
Becky, yeah, I was wondering about fires too, they are located at least 50 miles from any fire, but who knows where he came from...as far as babies go, I sure hope not...I'm still learning here but I had assumed by the tail that this is a male? Could it be female? Either way, I hope it came back to full strength and is happy and healthy now:)
This little guy does look pretty bedraggled, but there might not be much wrong with him besides exhaustion. Often we find males that appear so tattered after they have finished their breeding season. This is normal post-breeding molt. The gray 'bodies' you see are emerging new feathers, still in their sheaths. In a day or two, the sheaths will dry up and break open, revealing shiny new feathers.
At this time, many of the males are really exhausted and run down from their constant displaying and territorial defense. At the beginning of the breeding season, an adult male should weigh 2.8-3.0 grams, but after so much exertion, weights can be as low as 2.4 grams. He should top 4.0 grams by the time he is ready to migrate.
Well, I just learned some more interesting information about hummingbirds. I had no idea that those white spots on his head were new feather sheaths! Thanks, Nancy!
And considering how bad this little fella was actually laying on the ground ... sounds like he might have been saved by a drink of sugar water. I wonder if the temps being in the triple digits when he was found on the ground had something to do with what appears to be his near death? Or would he have recovered on his own after laying there for a while?
Becky commented: "I wonder if the temps being in the triple digits when he was found on the ground had something to do with what appears to be his near death? Or would he have recovered on his own after laying there for a while?"
NLN: Ambient air temperature is not likely to have been a problem and he could have recovered on his own, but as long as he was laying on the ground, he would have been very vulnerable to being preyed upon.
Nancy - I had no idea that a hummer laying so exhausted on the ground could recover on it's own. Though being easily accessible on the ground to prey makes such extreme exhaustion very dangerous! Which brings about another question I have...
Is there any data that gives some insight into which "gender" of a given hummingbird species ... say RTHs ... live the longest? In the banding field ... what is/was the age of the oldest RTH male captured and what age for the oldest female captured?
I suspect that females live the longest. Am I correct?