Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Story of Lucky

This is the story of Lucky the hummingbird.
It is wondrous.
It is nerve-wracking.
It is sweet.
It is brave.
It is scary.
It is amazing.

Lucky hatched in a tiny nest high in our big-big tree. During the terrible winds of April, the branch broke and swung low, low over the driveway. The little nest was thrown sideways and nearly torn loose from its delicate moorings. Purely by chance, I found Lucky on the cement behind my car. I didn't run over him, or step on him. No cats found the tiny morsel of baby bird, and no ants had discovered him. He was ALIVE.

Bearwalker pulled out the ladder and righted the little nest on the branch. He put tiny Lucky back inside. I climbed onto the car roof and, using some waxed thread, tied the nest securely to the branch. We let go and the branch swayed again in the wind, tiny baby Lucky curled inside. Would Mama abandon him and the funny-looking nest? She was buzzing over us frantically. We watched from the kitchen window and waited.

Hooray! Not only did Mama come back, but she seemed unfazed by the mishap. Three weeks passed and the nest stayed put. If you look closely, you can see the bits of spiderweb that Mama began adding to secure the nest. Bet you didn't know hummingbirds did that. Anyway, on with the story. The little baby grew and grew, his tiny beak sticking out of the nest, as he constantly watched the sky for Mom.

Yesterday, Lucky climbed up onto the edge of the little nest. The wind was fierce again, and he clung to the rim, swaying and watching for Mom to buzz in with a bit of protein. Lucky was still fuzzy, so tiny, and we watched him with affection as he examined his big-big tree world.

Later in the day, I heard the unmistakable sound of a terrified and angry mother bird. I ran to the front yard and discovered, to my horror, a huge black crow sitting in the tree, eyeing the baby. Above him, a nest-robber Blue Jay schemed. Mama was fiercely buzzing both birds and chittering, trying to distract them from Lucky, who still sat exposed on his little nest. I yelled. I swung the broom. The crow left, and Mama chased the Blue Jay to another tree.

 Bearwalker watched the nest for an hour. No more invaders.  I relaxed, weeded the garden. I was returning to the house when I saw it - the crow, hanging from the little branch, bending it low...with Lucky in his big black beak. No. No! I ran at the crow, yelling, swinging my arms... fierce as any Mama. He dropped Lucky and flew off. I couldn't look. I was in tears. "He's dead!" I cried, as Bearwalker bent over the tiny body.
"No he isn't," he said, picking up Lucky. He's...why, he's fine!"

We couldn't put Lucky back in the nest, now that the crow knew he was an easy meal. We couldn't feed him like his Mom (hummer babies need a very specialized form of protein; sugar water can literally cripple them since it will halt their normal development). I searched the internet, looking for someone qualified to help our little Lucky, who was very contentedly nestled in Chloe's bird carrier in the kitchen, looking around with interested eyes. When we spoke to him, he hopped up on the edge of the carrier to peer out at us, unafraid.

Finally I found a phone number for the only licensed hummingbird rescue person for miles around. Miraculously, when she answered the phone I discovered she lived only a few blocks away from our house! She was thrilled Lucky had survived and took him in immediately, promising him a meal of special protein formula imported all the way from Germany. She told me she had another little guy of the same age for him to hang out with until they are both ready to be released.

So there you have it. The wondrous, nerve-wracking, sweet, brave, scary and amazing story of Lucky.

"Have you ever observed a hummingbird moving about in an aerial dance among the flowers--a living prismatic gem. It is a creature of such fairy-like loveliness as to mock all description."  
W.H. Hudson


  1. What an incredible story of survival, Annie! It is made to be a picture book. The world is a better place for people like you and your Bearwalker. How many people would have taken the time?

  2. Thanks, Nancy! I'm a firm believer in "no bird left behind"! :) I think if people could hold a baby bird in their hands for a few moments, feel that little heart beating, they'd feel that 'connection' between us and maybe be more aware the rest of the time.

  3. What a fabulous rescue and story! Lucky was meant to live and tell a tale. I think Nancy is right--you should do a picture book.
    Years ago, when I was a reporter I did a feature story on a hummingbird rescue lady in Newport Beach. Her kitchen was filled with butter tub nests. Her backyard held a huge caged area for those ready to fly or those who could never be released. I've never forgotten her dedication to those birds.

  4. so amazing!!! I carefully try to follow the hummingbirds that grace my yard each year, trying to locate their nest in hopes of just one zoomed in pic of the nest alone. To capture the joys of a baby through its amazing process of charge would be spectacular but alas, I have never been able to locate even one nest. LOL

    (Disclaimer: I would NEVER threaten or touch their nests and / or young just for the sake of a picture. To save a life, yes, for entertainment purposes, no)