One of the most beautiful birds my family regularly observes is the Anna’s hummingbird, which sports emerald green plumage and an iridescent fuchsia head. The birds visit our feeder several times a day, even during our mild winter season, and chase other hummingbirds away when they lay claim to the regulars’ turf.
Today—through my window—I witnessed an amazing show of what I can only describe as friendship between two hummingbirds. I saw one hummingbird lying on his back on our deck, stuck. He’d probably flown directly into one of our glass deck panels, and I thought for a moment that he would die. He was really struggling—bobbing his head up and down and flitting his tail—in an effort to right himself. His efforts were unsuccessful, and as he lay there breathing, I could see that he really needed help.
Moments later, another hummingbird appeared from behind the glass panel that separates our deck from a valley of trees. He hovered there on the other side of the glass, seeming to assess his friend’s predicament. Then he darted over the panel to get a better look, and started to assist his friend! In some language I couldn’t hear from my dining room (or understand), the wounded bird opened his beak very wide and latched onto his generous buddy’s feet. One quick tug and the downed bird was righted.
Obviously tired from his valiant act, the rescuer flew away to recharge. He appeared again moments later, as if he’d arrived for the sole purpose of encouragement. The rescuer again communicated for the wounded bird to open wide. The injured bird did, and this time he successfully latched onto his friend’s feet. The rescuer began to lift his hurt friend the only way he could . . . and it wasn’t easy. It took three tries before he was able to “jump start” his friend. Then they flew together to the nearest branch of a maple tree, just a few feet away.
The pair rested together a while and then the rescuer encouraged his friend to take a leap and try to fly. He dropped like a stone at first, but his lifesaving friend circled around him over and over, and he didn’t land on the ground. They rested side by side once more in the tree, before finally flying off together—zoom! My imagination told me that somewhere in the woods nearby a mother hummingbird thanked her hero and welcomed her wounded child home.