A Phone Call Can Save a Tiny Life!

If you ever find yourself in the position to rescue a wild animal, you’ll want expert help.

Fortunately, WildCare’s Living with Wildlife Hotline (415-456-7283 (SAVE) is here, and the fact that our experts can guide you through helping a scared and sick or injured animal can make all the difference to you and to the animal involved.

When this little hummingbird’s rescuer walked out the door of his San Francisco apartment, he didn’t expect to find an orphaned hummingbird on the sidewalk.

But the small green bird huddled on the ground obviously needed help.

This bird’s rescuer called our Hotline at 415-456-SAVE (7283) and spoke with Hotline Operator Jessica Kwan who, after assessing the details, told him the bird needed to come to the Wildlife Hospital as soon as possible. This bird was the third of four orphaned hummingbirds that arrived at WildCare’s Wildlife Hospital that day!

It is especially critical to get hummingbird patients immediate care because a hummingbird’s metabolism is so fast she can quickly burn through the calories her body needs to survive.

In the Wildlife Hospital, our Birdroom Manager fed the little orphan specially-formulated food for baby hummingbirds to give her energy, and then performed a thorough (but extremely delicate) exam. It was rainy and windy that day, so perhaps the storm had blown this little bird out of her nest. She had some injuries, including a couple of ruptured air sacks, but with expert care at WildCare and with our hummingbird Foster Care specialist, her prognosis is good.

Excellent expertise

Rescuing hummingbirds can be a delicate operation. If the bird falls to the ground in the nest or in part of the nest, it is very common for the baby to have her feet tightly gripping the material of the nest. WildCare’s Hotline Operators have a formidable knowledge base, and, in the case of hummingbirds, our operators will tell callers that young hummingbirds do indeed keep an extremely tight grip with their feet, and that attempting to remove them can easily result in broken toes. Always bring a hummingbird needing care to the Wildlife Hospital still attached to material on which you found her.

The other very important thing our Hotline operators tell rescuers is to NOT feed the baby hummingbird anything. These tiny birds can aspirate (choke) extremely easily, and attempting to feed sugar water or anything else can easily kill the bird. Sticky substances on the hummingbird’s feathers are also difficult and stressful to remove. WIldCare asks rescuers of any animal to please not offer food or water for these reasons.

This knowledge base is one of the reasons WildCare’s Living with Wildlife Hotline is such an incredible resource. Our Hotline Operators are experienced in walking finders through how to rescue wildlife and are very familiar with the animals we treat. They also have extensive training and they know the important details involved in the rescue of the over 200 different species WildCare treats.

Whether you’re rescuing an injured wild animal or just looking for information and advice about the animals you see in your backyard, call WildCare’s Living with Wildlife Hotline 415-456-SAVE (7283). Click here to donate to help baby wildlife like these young hummingbirds, and also to support our invaluable LIving with Wildlife Hotline!

Latest update

The latest update from our hummingbird Foster Care specialist said that the little bird is doing well. She has a good appetite, and was observed doing a series of fluttering flaps in a circle around the rim of her nest. This is normal behavior for a young hummingbird of her age, and it means she’s feeling better. The two Anna’s Hummingbirds in the video below that arrived at WildCare after the dead tree in which their nest was built was cut down are also thriving, and the larger one just took his first short flight yesterday!

This is excellent news for these little birds and for everyone involved in their rescues.