The story of lefty began on July sixteenth of 2012. Today, the story continues!
On July sixteenth, I was doing chores around the house with occasional breaks where I would look out the back door to see what might be in the backyard. During one break in the middle of the day, I noticed a hummingbird sitting on the deck near a potted flower basket. I did not think much of it as I ran back to grab my camera. I thought the hummingbird would quickly fly off and I would miss any opportunity to get any photos.
I returned to the back door with my camera and was excited to find the hummingbird was still on the deck. Upon further observation, I began to realize that the hummingbird was not acting normally. Opening the door did not make the bird fly away. I walked cautiously closer and it still did not fly away.
The hummingbird was frightened and began inching toward the potted flowers on the deck. I snapped a few pictures of it and continued to observe that the bird appeared dazed, as if it had flown into a window or was a fledgling that was not able to fly well. Either way, the bird was weak and could barely get any nectar out of the potted flowers. I also noticed that it was holding its left wing out, which is unusual for hummingbirds [hence the name – Lefty].
I had no idea what to do with the hummingbird, but decided I had better try something. I found a small red plastic butter tub lid and made some sugar water. The bird was so weak it laid on the deck with its head sideways, and I stuck the lid under its beak in hopes it could drink. I saw its tongue flicking in and out, which was a good sign that something was happening!
It was on the back deck for several hours, gradually gaining more strength and testing out flying farther. The red plastic butter tub full of sugar water became its drinking dish and homing beacon. Eventually, it found a few branches in the currant bush by the corner of the deck and started flying back and forth between the red lid with sugar water and the bush.
The days went by and I kept an eye on the hummingbird. It seemed to gain strength and fly farther and better every day. Eventually fall came around and it was time for the migration south. Lefty followed the rest of the hummingbirds south for the winter. It was sad to see her go, and I had no idea if she would make it down.
This spring, the hummingbirds began returning a couple weeks ago. My thoughts went back to last summer and lefty. Did she make it south? Would she make it back? Just today, lefty returned!
We were up in the park enjoying the day. When we arrived home, the hummingbirds were zipping around as usual. There was one, sitting on the same branch in the currant bush as last summer. Lefty! I have been watching her for most of the evening; she still has the same routine and route of flight. The good news is that she does not need the red plastic butter tub lid with sugar water! She found the hummingbird feeder and can fly with the rest of the hummingbirds!
What a great sight to see! I look forward to keeping an eye on how she does this summer!