Tuesday, April 30, 2019

A Failed Rescue


Pic taken through the window. See the spread wing.
There was a hummingbird in our yard on Monday that was spending a lot of time on the ground, wings spread out. Quite unusual behavior for hummingbirds. They are rapid-paced flitting little flighty things that hardly ever stay still. Ah, but this one was grounded, first on our deck, then on the ground in our yard. If I opened the door to take a better look, it would fly away a bit, but land again on the ground. It did that for hours and hours. So, I thought I should call the local rescue place for some assistance. Humboldt Wildlife Care Center rescues a lot of birds. So they came out to take a look.
Wonderful rescue team trying to capture the hummingbird
They agreed that this hummingbird's behavior was quite unusual. I had moved the feeder to the ground as close as I could get to it, to encourage it to eat. If you click on the pic you'll see the red feeder in front of the rescuer's blue rescue pack. The rescuer with the net approached the grounded bird, was steady and ready to capture it, when it flew up a bit and then into the neighbor's yard. Bummer. We knew it was going to land on the ground there, and that's not good. They have a very frisky cat. But there was nothing we could do. The instinct to not be caught is simply greater than the unknown concept of being helped.

Just watching these two make this rescue effort made me want to volunteer with them and do this kind of rescue on a regular basis. Then I remembered when Roger and I had considered such a thing more than a decade ago. I should have asked these two if volunteering at their bird rescue center requires me to "thump a rat." If you don't read the old blog post link, this is what that means: Could I kill a rat by "thumping it on its head" in order to feed rescued raptors. It was something another native animal rescue place had asked me when I had considered volunteering with them when we lived up on the Olympic Peninsula in 2006. Maybe I'll do some further research about their practices. If the Marine Mammal Rescue was closer, I would love to learn how to do that work.

I have a long-held belief that if you see it and it's in trouble, you have to rescue, you can't look away. It works out well sometimes, but even when it doesn't, it helps balance the madness of the world for a moment.

31 comments:

  1. Not looking away really DOES balance the madness of the world. I'm so happy to know you.

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    1. Colette-- Thank you for such kind words, my friend.

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  2. Bummer about the humming bird. I hope it manages to survive.
    I guess the marine mammal rescue at Crescent City would be too far to go to do volunteer work (if they are still there). I visited it a couple of times on my way through that area. I guess for now, my rescue efforts are trying to protect forests. I'd love to do turtle nest protection, but a lot of the work is done at night and I don't have the energy for that these days.

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    1. bev-- The Marine Rescue Center of Crescent City is 77 miles away (123 km). A bit of a trek on that winding Highway 101, often in bad shape. I wish it was closer. I love what you do. Your efforts are always planned and well executed.

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  3. I understand this well. We have the Medicine wildlife center here. They need lots of food. However, I don't think they bonk things on the head. I think mice might be raise for feeding. Other than that thy use road kill.

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    1. Red-- The place up on the Olympic Peninsula raised rats for the purpose of feeding raptors. I don't know why the expected volunteers to kill the rats, but it certainly made me not want to work there.

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  4. I love how you never look away and am pleased that there are so many rescue organizations in your area. Hope the little guy makes it.
    Doubt I could "thump a rat" either but surely there is a place where that would not be a requirement. They don't feed rats to seals do they?

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    1. Patti-- I haven't seen the hummingbird today, so I'm hoping too. I never even thought about what they feed seals, but I think it's probably fish. I could maybe feed fish to a seal. Mmmm?

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  5. Poor hummingbird! But good for you for making the attempt -- and who knows -- it may escape the cat on its own. Nature is resilient! I agree that when you see a creature in trouble you have to do something. I'm still kicking myself for not rescuing that frog I found on the sidewalk weeks ago.

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    1. Steve-- Yes, nature is resilient! I understand feeling regret about not rescuing that frog, but sometimes life and time gets in the way of our best intentions.

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  6. "The instinct to not be caught is simply greater than the unknown concept of being helped."

    It's such a mysterious world. My dear friend of 50 years who rescued and cared for disabled pigeons for many years until her death this last February made a similar statement about her beloved pigeons "biting the hand that fed them."

    Thank you for reminding me that helping balance the madness even for a moment is something I can do.

    No wonder the hummingbird took refuge in your beautiful yard. I have a vision of the hummingbird returning to your yard.

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    1. am-- It's true, animals really don't fully grasp our intentions. I know fellow humans who are also baffled. I love your vision of the hummingbird returning to our yard. I'll hold that in my heart.

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  7. Your very presence in this world helps balance the madness, helps multiply the tenderness for all life. Bless you.

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    1. 37paddington-- Thank you for such kind words. I am always reminded of WH Auden's poem Musee des Beaux Art:
      About suffering they were never wrong...
      I can't look away.

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  8. Reminds me of the starfish story in which a lot of starfish had washed upon the sand. A little boy was throwing them back into the sea one by one. As he held another starfish, a passerby told the boy, "That is useless. There are too many of them. It won't make a difference." To which the boy replied, "It will to this one" and kept about his work.

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    1. NCmountainwoman-- I love this story. Thank you for sharing it.

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  9. Thanks so much for trying and for keeping an open, helping heart in the face of evil all around.

    I remember rescuing a tiny hummingbird when I lived on a small island. Holding it so carefully, its shocking smallness and delicacy and hammering heart. I was so happy and relieved when it sailed away, with all hums humming.

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    1. John-- Your description of holding that hummingbird is so beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing it here.

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    2. Thanks Robin :)

      Here is a *funny* thing: I am so beyond indescribably dismayed by all the fact/reality-based news and public affairs stuff I have read for a lot of my life that I just don't want to read it any more. That combined with the fact that I am farming and deeply intertwined with growing things every day - somehow all the awful drama and trauma has less and less to say to me, that has any value, somehow?....and so I am noticing that when I have time to be here with the internets - your blog is almost the only thing I am interested in reading! Which is not meant as pressure to write more - although I love it when you do.....WAISTTTOL

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    3. John-- Thank you for your kind words. I emailed you a private note.

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  10. I don't know what it is about hummingbirds that is so appealing to me, and so many other people. They are like jewels. They fly up to us and look at us like they want to say something. They are so small and perfect-seeming. I love to see them, and I hate to see them in distress. Good for you for trying to help. It's often futile, but we try anyway.

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    1. Mark-- Yes! They are like jewels that fly. They are feisty little beasts too.

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  11. Win some loose some, not a lot you can do if the birds first instinct is to flee what it sees as a threat.

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    1. I might add where we go in Wales there are lambs in the fields nearby which are for ever getting out, the odd one you can manage to get to go back under the fence the others run off but usually find their way back to mum

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    2. Billy-- It's true about that instinct. It serves them well in the long run. I like your lamb story. Good to know those little ones find their way home.

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  12. Just maybe that hummingbird did find a way to escape the neighbor's cat. Certainly, hope so, but you did your part to be helpful, Robin.

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