The poor hummingbird could see trees just in front of him, and could not understand why he couldn't get to them. The sound of his bill hitting the glass window was heart-wrenching!
The garage door and the back door were both wide open, but the hummingbird was determined to bore through the glass. He was flapping as hard as he could, and obviously becoming exhausted.
I decided to cover his window from the other side—surely if he could not see through it, he would look for another way, and see that the doors were open. Covering the window was no easy task—it was a small window near the ceiling. I had to get creative: I draped a black blanket around a laundry basket and held it up on the outside of the window. Success! I was relieved at the instant cessation of the horrendous sound his bill had been making. I was sure he would be gone by the time I re-entered the garage.
Oh No! Apparently, this poor hummingbird’s instinct was to fly straight up! Now he was hitting against the ceiling of the garage, still flapping furiously, and I worried about him going back to the window. Out of ideas, I needed reinforcements.
My neighbor rushed over, and my husband came home. After much discussion about the risks to the exhausted bird, we decided to close the garage door. I went out and covered the window, and they almost shut the back door leaving just enough light to see the bird. Obviously confused, the poor hummingbird no longer tried to fly through the ceiling; it just flew at a standstill. My husband lifted a small piece of wood up to it, and he seemed grateful to land. Holding our collective breaths, he slowly carried him out the door and set him free at last!
Editor's Note: The parade of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds at the Hagerman NWR Visitor Center feeders has slowed down, but leave your feeders out. It is a myth that providing nectar keeps the hummer from migrating, and those on migration will need all the sustenance they can find for their journey.