A tiny visitor hummed into the lives of Del and Deb LaBree, rural LaRussell last week.
The couple ended up giving a ruby-throated hummingbird a second chance at life after Del found it shivering on the feeder on the back porch of their western Lawrence County home.
After a little more than 24 hours sitting on a fake plant in the LaBree home and drinking sugar water from Del LaBree’s finger, the bird started buzzing around their home, so he caught it once again and took it outside where it flew off into a tree, looked around and flew off.
The LaBrees said it was fun having such a tiny visitor in their home for the day.
“It’s just sweet,” Deb LaBree said. “It’s an honor to have her and to hopefully have saved her so she can continue on. It’s been delightful.”
Del LaBree said he fed the bird by dipping his finger in a bowl of sugar water and letting it sip the drop off his finger.
“She’ll take it right off the tip of your finger if you just come up real slow to her,” Del LaBree said. “She’s coming around. She’s just getting warmed up I guess. Hopefully by morning the sun will come out and she’ll head south.”
Del LaBree said the hummingbird makes a quiet chirping sound along with the hum of its beating wings.
“I didn’t know it mad a noise, you know you always hear the wings flutter, but it does make a real interesting chirping sound,” he said. “It’s actually a very unique sound and very calming sound.”
Jeff Cantrell, with the Missouri Department of Conservation, said hummingbirds will go into torpor, where it slows down its metabolism, when it gets into cool weather.
“They will often perch under in a bush or tree under a canopy of leaves so if it rains they don’t get beaten up,” Cantrell said. “It will find a decent perch under thick foliage and wait until it warms up.”
The feeder Del LaBree found this bird on was under a covered porch. Cantrell said the bird was likely a young female ruby throated hummingbird.
Cantrell said some people worry that hummingbirds may stay too late to migrate if they leave their hummingbird feeders out too long, but they shouldn’t be concerned.
He said its perfectly safe to leave feeders out until mid-October to give the birds the fuel they need to make their long migration.
He said people will likely see waves of hummingbirds. They may see no birds for a few days, then suddenly they’ll see a new group, but there is no evidence that the hummingbirds delay leaving for warmer climates because they are hanging around feeders.
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