My Peep Experience
On August 9, 2011, I paid a visit to a public garden in Northern Virginia called Green Spring Garden, a favorite of mine. I wandered around admiring the Salvias and Cardinal flowers, then at their peak. Couldn't help but notice too, the wonderful Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds that were dipping in and out. As I strolled, nearing the main building, something caught my attention: a slight movement in a low plant (could have been the dry seed heads of a Columbine as I reconstruct it in my mind's eye). It seemed like a Hummer's tail moving very slightly, so I climbed into the garden to investigate. I came upon the saddest little scene imaginable: an immature Ruby-Throat impaled by a thorn in its throat. The helpless bird was looking straight up at me with wings outstretched. It was apparently alive, but exhausted. With the best care I could. I extricated it. Saw just a couple little blood spots on its throat. Held it in my flat hand for a bit right there never expecting it to recover but praying it would.
Then, not sure what to do, I went and sat on a bench and cooed to it as it clutched my thumb and stayed still. Its wings were still spread and, fearing wing damage, I carefully put its tiny wings beside its body -- hoping I was doing something useful but really having no idea. Gosh, it was strange not to see those little wings moving. In a few minutes it began looking about just a bit, though it still didn't move more than its head. Still, I began to feel hope. I enjoyed its weightless warmth a bit longer and then began wondering how long it might have been hanging thus. It likely needed nectar quickly if it was going to make it. I carried it into the building and asked if they had any. No, they didn't but suggested the Hummer might make to my home and gave me a cardboard box. When I put it inside the box it began to buzz about and I had to close the box quickly or we might have had it loose in the building. Hearing this buzzing, I now believed it to have no wing damage, so formed a new plan. I carried the box to a big patch of Cardinal Lobelia outside and opened it. The youngster now decided not to budge, so I eased it toward the opening with my hand. Zip, off it went at last, flying well, right into the tree by the Cardinal Flower patch. My prayers were answered that day! I like to think the little one made it south and will return to Green Spring Garden for a visit with me next year.
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