Lifestyle

Rehabilitated bird released to wild by girl who rescued it from feeder

Top photo: Grace Shaw of Bailer Hill Road lifts the cover off a container holding a hummingbird that was rehabilitated at Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. Second photo: The brown blur next to Grace Shaw
Top photo: Grace Shaw of Bailer Hill Road lifts the cover off a container holding a hummingbird that was rehabilitated at Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. Second photo: The brown blur next to Grace Shaw's left shoulder is the now-healthy hummingbird flying to freedom. Third photo: Grace Shaw catches a glimpse of the bird flying away. Bottom photo: Grace Shaw and Vanessa Greenwood, a Wolf Hollow rehabilitator who helped nurse the hummingbird to health and delivered it to the Shaw residence for release.
— image credit: Richard Walker

It was a windy and cold April 2, and 10-year-old Grace Shaw checked on the hummingbirds that visit the feeders lining the porch of her family's home on Bailer Hill Road.

She saw what looked like a leaf stuck to one of the feeders; a closer look revealed it was a hummingbird, its feet stuck to the little ledge around the feeder.

She carefully removed the bird from the feeder and called her mom. "I thought it was dead," Rose Shaw said, remembering that some of the bird's feathers were missing.

Grace started to cry but, remembering a visit to her school by Shona Aitken of Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, asked her mom to call Wolf Hollow.

Smart thinking by Grace: The bird was not dead. And in about 10 minutes, Aitken was on the scene and the little bird was on its way to recovery.

Tuesday morning, Grace — an inveterate animal lover — had the pleasure of releasing the hummingbird into the wild. Vanessa Greenwood, a wildlife rehabilitator at Wolf Hollow, arrived at the Shaw residence carrying the bird in a covered container. She gave the container to Grace, who carefully lifted the cover and caught only a glimpse of the bird as it sped away.

Greenwood said this was the first hummingbird she's rehabbed. She said it had sugar water stuck to it and that, indeed, some of its feathers were missing when it arrived at the center. But after being cleaned and fed, the bird made a rapid recovery — and even laid an egg.

Greenwood said hummingbirds live in nests and eat insects and plant nectar; they don't need feeders to survive. If you do have a feeder, don't use the mix that has food coloring, she said. Just use sugar water, with one cup of sugar for every four cups of water.

Rose Shaw noted that her other feeders have tiny perches around them; she said she wouldn't use the feeder with the ledge around it, because she didn't want to risk the surface getting sticky and becoming a hazard to another hummingbird.

Greenwood said Grace did the right thing in having her mom call Wolf Hollow, which cares for many creatures great and small. Grace, whose dad, Bill, is the head chef at Roche Harbor Resort, attends Stillpoint School. She has a menagerie of pets which includes Bella, a Pomeranian; Misty, a horse; and Marcy, a potbellied pig.

— ONLINE: www.wolfhollowwildlife.org

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