Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Small & Sweet

Sometimes the patients that come to VINS are small. And sometimes, they are unbelievably small! Black-capped chickadees, ruby-crowned kinglets and American goldfinches are in the "small" range. But ruby-throated hummingbirds blow all other birds out of the water with their tiny, tiny, tiny size.


A hummingbird weighs around 3 grams -- about equal to the weight of a sheet of a paper or two. Its small size and light weight is all well and good for buzzing about in search of insects and sweet flowers, but when you are a human trying to handle such a wee thing, it's tough! See our video to see how delicate we have to be when holding this fragile girl.

This female ruby-throated hummingbird came into our care with an injury to her left wing. A man found her on his porch, unable to fly. We wrapped the wing to the bird's body to stabilize the fracture site. Her bones are so small, it's hard to accurately detect the specific fracture site, but we believe based on her inability to fly and the way she holds her left wing, there's a break there.

We removed the wrap after a week's time, and found that the wing still droops a bit, so at this point we are unsure if the hummingbird will be able to fly again. We will keep a close eye on her, and continue to offer her nectar and wild flowers as we monitor her progress.

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