Sunday, June 5, 2011
Weight of this individual: 2.8 g
(average weight for a male = 3.09 g)
* I'm not sure if the average listed is a spring/summer weight or not.
This is one of the hardest things to deal with in rehab: knowing that you CAN help, but only so much. The lovely fellow above, adult male Black-chinned Hummingbird, died of emaciation/starvation/drought. Matt found him in the yard, unable to hover more than an inch off the ground. By the time I got outside, he was on his back. Once in hand, his beak was placed in a hummingbird feeder and he managed to get a few good strong slurps. Placed in a sheltered spot with a perch and nectar source, I thought he was dead in the morning - his head rolled back when I picked him up and he was limp. There was a buzz in the chest and he responded with beak movements when his bill was nudged into the nectar. A few sips and some gaping and the buzz in his chest accelerated before stopping. Eyes closed.
Ethically, the decision to interfere with nature would be an interesting discussion. However, in the grand scheme of impacts on birds, nature barely has any say - many young birds still die of natural causes (too many mouths in the nest) but for adult birds, the death toll by unnatural causes is ridiculous. Windows do not single out and kill the sick or the injured. Wind turbines do not single out and kill the sick or the injured. Cars often enough do not single out and kill the sick or the injured. Power lines do not single out and kill the sick or the injured.
So in my book, any bird that CAN be helped SHOULD be helped. And any bird that can't? That's what salvage permits are for.