Hummer behavior

I saw some very interesting hummingbird activity this morning. Two of them were jostling over the feeder as they generally do. One was circling the other while she was drinking. I think the one circling the feeder was an immature male. Suddenly, the female left the feeder, chased the male a short distance, he dropped to the ground, and then she sat on him for a few seconds. They both got back up, she went back to drinking, he came back, and then they did it again. I ran outside because I thought it might be fighting and that I would have to take one of them to Operation Wildlife. However, they both flew up to a branch and sat about a foot away from each other for several minutes. The female flew off, but the young male stayed on the branch for a long time. I watched for a while just in case he was injured, but he came to drink, then flew away. I have never seen anything like that. The sight of one hummingbird pinning another to the ground was quite something. Curious, I did a search and it seems this behavior is not uncommon and can sometimes be quite violent. I certainly hope they don’t hurt each other!

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

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From Operation Wildlife.

Day 1 ~

My name is Buckshot.  I was laying in a field minding my own business when a human boy stumbled across me.  I laid very still like my maw had told me to do with my head flattened against the ground and barely moving.  He saw me anyway and picked me up despite my protests.  He took me home to his maw.

They put me in a box and she started looking at something called the Internet to find out what to feed me.  She kept touching me and putting her lips on my face ~ I thought at any minute she is going to bite me, kill me and eat me.  I cried for my maw but she wasn’t there to hear me.  The humans left but later that day they came back and shoved an awful tasting thing in my mouth.  The human squeezed stuff in my mouth and it was warm and sorta tasted like milk from my maw.

I didn’t like it and would swallow alittle bit of it but they kept squeezing.  It dribbled down the bottom of my face and onto my chest.  Some of it came out my nose and it stung.  I coughed because I couldn’t breathe well.  The human kept touching me.  I bawled for my maw.

Day 2 ~

The humans are giving me the warm stuff again.  I’m getting used to the taste of it and I’ll drink alittle bit of it but it still isn’t my maw.  I’ve been crying for my maw but she doesn’t answer.  I don’t know where she is or why she won’t come to me like she always did.  My belly hurts.  I haven’t gone to the bathroom in a day now.  My maw used to groom me and helped me to go.  All these humans do is put their lips on my face and stroke my head and back

Day 3 ~

My cry is weaker ~ I can’t stand.  My belly is hurting more.  The humans are squeezing more and more of the warm stuff into my mouth ~ I’m tired and just want to sleep.  I bawl for my maw again but she still doesn’t answer

Day 4 ~

They keep touching me and squeezing stuff into my mouth ~ I don’t care anymore.  My short time on this earth is about at an end.  I hear the human talking to someone.  They pick me up and wrap me in a large towel.  We’re moving really fast.  I arrive at a place that smells of other wild animals.  I still don’t smell my maw and I cry.  Another human takes me.  She opens my mouth, listens to me breath and pulls up on my skin.  I cry.  She takes me into another room and puts me in a large tub with a soft towel.  It’s warm.  She pinches my skin and something bites me.  I cry.  She grooms me like my maw did and my belly begins to stop hurting because I’m able to go to the bathroom now.  It’s been three days.  She covers the tub and it’s dark.  I lay still and I’m quiet ~ drifting off to sleep.

Evening comes and I feel better ~ the new human is talking softly to me.  She’s says that she is sorry that the others didn’t understand how I was supposed to live ~ to be wild and free and that she’ll make sure that I get to see that life again.  She tells me I have pneumonia and that because I couldn’t go to the bathroom the toxins in my urine were backing up into my bloodstream & I was dying.  She says that she is sorry that she had to put an IV catheter in me to rehydrate and flush my system of the toxins and that she has to give me antibiotics to help with the pneumonia because they squeezed the warm stuff so much that I breathed it into my lungs and it made me sick.

Day 5 ~

I’m standing!  I haven’t stood in 2 days.  I feel so much better.  The new human says I’m gonna live and she is going to send me to another lady that takes special care of fawns like me.  I’ll have other fawns to play with so I grow up knowing that I’m a deer.  I’ll never see my maw again and I’m sad about that but happy that I’ll live.  Thank you.

Addendum from editor ~ white tailed deer fawns have no scent for the first two weeks of their life.  The doe gives birth to twins or triplets and places them in different locations so that if a predator comes it doesn’t kill her entire family.  The fawns aren’t strong enough to follow the doe until they are about two weeks of age so she visits them under the cover of darkness and nurses them. During the day she beds down in order not to attract attention to herself or her family.  Since fawns of this age can’t outrun a predator they rely on their spots as camouflage.  They freeze and lie perfectly still and wait for the danger to pass.  We have 48-72 hours to return a fawn to its mother.  Unfortunately in this case the woman only took the time to find out what to feed it (which was the wrong thing) and not to look any farther to find out what to do with it.  When she was asked what her plan was for the fawn when it grew up, she replied to let it go.  Go to what?  The fawn was clearly being habituated and would have grown up without fear of people and without knowledge of her own kind.  So what happens when she goes up to a hunter looking for a hug?  She would have been an easy target.  Or what happens when she goes into rut (breeding season for bucks)? She wouldn’t have had any fear of people and could easily have mauled, gored or struck a person to death with her hooves or antlers (if male).  As humans, we have a responsibility to get all the facts and not stop short just because we’re satisfying our own emotional needs.  It saddens, frustrates and angers me when these events happen.  Knowledge is one of our most valuable tools in this life ~ pass it on and maybe you can help save another from this kind of fate.  The above is from Operation Wildlife, courtesy of Diane Johnson (Executive Director ). Thanks for supporting Operation Wildlife.

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I think the folks at Operation Wildlife are saintly. The work they do is incredible. I want to pass on an update from Director,  Diane Johnson, and encourage everyone to donate.

June 10, 2010

Hey everyone,

Well it’s been one of those days ~ we’ve been hit hard again.  After literally the 45th phone call today I find myself getting cranky.

I’m frustrated with people especially the callers I’ve had today. This one lady in particular chapped my backside pretty well but I tried to “play nice”.  She called saying that she had a baby white tailed deer fawn.  After going thru the usual questions of where did you find it & what the circumstances were she announced that she had already had it for a week & her pre-teen kids were playing with it & feeding it.  The only reason she was calling was because it was sick & had diarrhea.  I told her if it had diarrhea that she needed to bring it in immediately ~ well her kids had activities & she had to work & then had to go to the store after work & there wasn’t any way that she could bring it in until maybe the weekend.  I reminded her that it was sick & that since it was a baby that diarrhea was considered a critical situation & we should get it today.  I finally suggested that one of our volunteers go to her home & pick it up since the kids were home with it.  She conceded & I sent a volunteer.  Two & half hours later the fawn arrived dehydrated & with a scalded butt from the diarrhea (the volunteer made a round trip drive of over 100 miles to pick it up).  This kind of thing is really discouraging because she kidnapped this baby.  Had she called a week earlier it could have been returned to its mother.  Instead she decided to keep it & let her kids experience nature.  She’s also one of those folks that can’t seem to find us when they have something healthy but miraculously figure out who we are after they’ve messed it up.

Or here is another one ~ this lady left an exotic Russian tortoise on the doorstep of a vets office with a two page note. Excerpts follow ~  “I’ve been schlepped around by young children who dropped me & I have a crack in my shell.”  Please find me a home along with detailed instructions on how to care for the tortoise.  However, she neglected to add that I have a severe vitamin A deficiency & can’t open my eyes because of it or that my shell is soft & bends because the calcium wasn’t sufficient in my diet & I’ve leached it out of my shell just in order to continue living.  At the end of the note she tells us that this tortoise can live 50 years & that we should just pass it on to others to enjoy when we’re tired of it.  This isn’t a great picture but you can see how swollen the eyes are.

And last but not least ~ the stubborn farmer.  His hired hands found this coyote pup on land that he farms.  He told them to leave it alone ~ they didn’t & ignored him &  brought it to us.  There wasn’t anything wrong with her & she did need to be left alone ~ he was right about that.   I called & asked for a location to return her too.  He won’t give it to me because his hired hands should have listened to him in the first place & so it’s just too damn bad but she’s ours now.  Of course, if I want to deliver it to him he’ll call in the pack & put it back by himself.  Call me suspicious or crazy but I’m afraid he’s gonna shoot it to prove a point to his help so I’m off to find another pack for this little girl.

So as you can see we’re not batting a thousand today but then there is this light at the end of the tunnel.   Meet the woman that has driven three times this week from Paola ~ an hour from our facility ~ with baby skunks.  She’s made a total of 6 hours travel time.  Their dog killed the mother & these little guys just keep coming out of the den as they get weak & hungry.  We’re up to 6 now ~ all doing well.  It’s people like her that keep me going ~ giving me hope that there are people out there that care for other creatures other than just themselves.  And yes just in case your wondering ~ these guys are “locked & loaded”  having the ability to spray from birth.

Our facility is home to approximately 400 wild babies.  We’re running out of food.  Our “produce” bill is over
$ 100 a week because as you know growing kids eat, eat, eat.  If you’d like to help you can do so in the following ways ~
1) Donate gift cards from Walmart so we can shop for fresh produce (we’ve found they are the least expensive & we get more bang for our buck so to speak than Price Chopper or Target)
2) Going shopping yourself & want to get something for us that isn’t perishable?  We need
Dark green & dark yellow gerber baby food
Paper Towels ~ for baby bird nests
3) Money is always welcome to buy those things that we can’t find in a regular grocery store like rats, mice, quail, minnows, crawdads, earthworms, red wrigglers or mealworms.
And last but not least thank you for being in that 25% that cares about the animals ~ your support is what keeps us here for the animals.  We wouldn’t be here without you.   It takes a huge team to keep this going.  Sure do appreciate you guys being on my team.  You’re great!
Diane Johnson, RVT
Executive Director
Operation WildLife, Inc
23375 Guthrie Rd
Linwood, KS 66052
V: 785-542-3625
Fax: 785-542-5114
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I took this little fellow to Operation Wildlife last Thursday. We were not sure what was going on with him as he had no visible injuries, but he was clearly in distress. I emailed Operation Wildlife over the weekend to see how he was and they said he did fine and was released back into the wild. They do such great work there! I highly encourage folks to make a donation.

© Chris Taylor

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