Saturday, June 26, 2010

Our Baby Hummingbird is Released!

Two weeks ago, Mr. Yollis discovered a baby hummingbird stranded in the dirt in the backyard. The tiny bird was covered with ants. The little hummer was helpless and the nest could not be found.

Mr. Yollis cleaned the bird up, placed him in a warm box, and fed him sugar water through a dropper every two hours.

Mr. Yollis went back out into the yard and got a twig for Birdy. Hummingbirds like to perch.

With a nice temporary home, complete with viewing areas and a perch, Birdy started to grow stronger each day.

*     *     *     *     *

Below is a video of Birdy's home. He flaps his wings, but is more than a week from being able to fly. 

Over time, Birdy grew and strengthened his wings.

Mrs. Yollis ground up a few fish flakes and added the powder to the sugar water. The fish flakes provided the bird with protein.

Usually the mother provides protein to a baby in the form of regurgitated bugs.

Mrs. Yollis went with the crushed-up fish flakes idea instead...  :-)

*     *     *     *     *

After two weeks, Birdy learned to fly. He would drink through a dropper while sitting on his perch.

Next, Mrs. Yollis moved the dropper up.

Birdy learned to fly AND drink at the same time.
Go, Birdy, Go!

Mr. and Mrs. Yollis have learned a lot about hummingbirds.

For example, they learned that hummingbirds go into a torpor every evening. A torpor is a mild hibernation. The body temperature drops, the metabolism slows down, and the feathers fluff up to hold in body heat. A torpor helps the bird withstand the night with no food.

Mrs. Yollis found out what a torpor was one evening. 

She went down to give Birdy a final feeding for the night. He was so puffy, she thought Birdy was dead! Notice how round he is!

*     *     *     *     *

Finally, Birdy could fly and was ready to be released.

The night before Birdy was released, Mr. Yollis put his box up in the tree where Birdy's mother probably still lived.

Birdy woke up to life in the tree!

Once Birdy was released, he flew to the hummingbird feeder. The feeder was larger than he was used to and he had difficulty drinking from it.  We hoped he could learn from the other hummingbirds, but many of them scared him away.

Mr. and Mrs. Yollis felt so sad for Birdy and feared that he would not be able to survive on his own.

*     *     *     *     *

After two hours of flying around the yard without food, Birdy settled on a perch. He was tired and hungry.

He sat and chirped for food. 

He chirped, and chirped, and chirped. 

SUDDENLY, down swooped another hummingbird! The hummingbird flew around Birdy and was forcing him to the ground. Mr. and Mrs. Yollis thought that Birdy was in trouble. Then they realized that this new hummingbird was feeding Birdy!

It was Birdy's MOTHER! 
She recognized the cry and came to feed her baby.

For the last two days, Birdy has been learning about flying and feeding from his mother!

Now Birdy is on his own! What a happy ending!

Mr. Yollis,  Mrs. Yollis, Birdy, and his mother are very happy!

 *     *     *     *     *

Do you know any facts about hummingbirds?

Please share!


  1. Dear Mr and Mrs Yollis,
    I truly loved this post as I really love animals in all forms. I am so glad to see that your Birdy is doing so well and whats even more wonderful it appears too have found its mother. I feel that would have been a million to one.
    I do know abit about hummingbirds as they are amongst the smallest of birds.They can hover in mid air flapping their wings at great speed. Also they are the only group of birds that can fly backwards.
    Hummingbirds are like bees as they drink and use their long beaks to get nectar inside flowers.
    Thankyou for a really lovely post with a happy an ending from your friend down under AA.

  2. Dear Mr and Mrs Yollis,
    I really enjoyed the video because it was so good to see Birdy doing so well.
    I am so glad that BIRDY the hummingbird has meet up with his mum for every one needs their mum.
    I did some research Mr and Mrs Yollis and found out that their is about 328 different types if hummingbirds.Also hummingbirds visit as many as a 1000 flowers per day in search for nectar. They also can live for 10 years in the wild.
    Hope your find my research interesting from your blogging friend Bianca.

  3. Dear Mr. and Mrs. Yollis,
    I am so happy to hear the rest of Birdy's story! You both took on quite a responsibility in nursing Birdy back to health, and you succeeded. Since I knew that you were going to release him soon, I have been thinking so much about what it would be like for Birdy to go back into the wild. I wondered how he would manage to find his own food, so I was astonished to find out that Birdy's mother recognized his chirp and found him again! I'm so happy for Birdy and for both of you, and I must say I am very proud of what you accomplished!
    When my students were working on their animal reports a couple of years ago, I learned about the bee hummingbird which lives mostly on the island of Cuba. It is the smallest hummingbird of all, weighing in at only 0.063 of and ounce. Measuring two inches in length, it is also the smallest living bird in the world.
    Birds are my favorite animals, and I have multiple feeders and bird baths in my backyard. Now when I watch backyard friends, I observe with a whole new appreciation for how amazing they are - especially the hummingbirds!
    Mrs. Ranney

  4. Dear Mr. and Mrs. Yollis,

    What a great story and a happy ending! We are very happy for you and Birdy!
    Your post reminded us of the Dr. Suess book, Are You My Mother?
    A few years ago, we found an abandoned hummingbird nest in the tree outside our front door. The eggs were so small!
    Have a great summer!

    Charlie and the Scott family

  5. Mrs Yollis this is a very touching story that I thought had a wonderful ending, I loved all the twists and turns and what a great lessons for your students and your global audience. I was thrilled to read how it ended, great wonderful work. Have a wonderful spring break/holidays and can't wait to see your class posting again in September.
    Mr Webb and Room 8, Melville Intermediate, Hamilton, Waikato, New Zealand.

  6. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    Talk about a Hollywood ending, Birdy's story is almost too good to be true!

    We are so delighted to hear that all went well. Birdy was very lucky to fall into both of your hands.

    You should be proud of yourselves!


  7. We are so proud of you and your students Mrs. Yollis. What a compassionate act saving the life of the baby hummingbird. We know that you learned a great deal about hummingbirds. They are small but so amazing. Did you learn that the baby hummingbirds begin life as the smallest egg in the world? Did you learn that the baby hummingbirds can feel the wind from the mother's wing as she approaches the nest to feed them?


  8. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    Thank you for the really touching story with an amazing ending. Several months ago, I set up a birdbath in my garden. At first, there were no signs of any birds anywhere near the birdbath. I was getting quite discouraged. But just recently, with the weather getting warmer, our birdbath has been getting all kinds of visitors including hummingbirds. Sometimes birds will come even in pairs to drink, bathe and hang out on our birdbath. It makes me happy to know that somehow I am providing them a resting place while the birds provide my family serenity and enjoyment by watching them.



  9. Dear Mr. and Mrs. Yollis, and Mrs. Yollis's class,

    Reading this wonderful story online here in Istanbul, I was reminded of my Grandma Gloria and her love for hummingbirds. If she were alive today, she would be so happy to hear of this amazing rescue!

    Most of what I now know about hummingbirds I learned from reading this blog, but I wanted to tell you, I think I have observed something like a torpor in pigeons I have seen around the various cities where I have lived. I sometimes see them nestled on the ground, feathers puffed out, not moving. The fact that I usually see this during the day makes me worry that perhaps, with so many pigeons in so many cities in the world, some birds don't get enough to eat! I wonder if this 'torpor' is a response to the challenge of fending for oneself in the big city?
    Kari Pope
    (Mrs. Ranney's daughter)

  10. @ AA,

    I'm a big animal lover too so this was a fun project! We were shocked when the mother swooped in with the food. He had been sitting there chirping and chirping and I really thought all was lost.

    My mum says hi to you and Bianca! I am at the lake with her!

    @ Bianca,

    What great facts your came up with! Well done! We found out that Birdy is a type of coastal bird called an Allen's hummingbird! He will eventually have an iridescent scarlet gorget, or throat. Thanks for all your wonderful research!

    @ Mrs. Ranney,

    Thanks for your kind wishes. When we first let Birdy out, we were very worried. He was a little heavier than the others (all that protein!) and flew lower...probably due to the limits of his box. When his mama swooped it, Mr. Yollis and I knew all would be okay. We were able to watch him for a few days after we released him. Again, he was easy to spot because of his flight pattern! :-)

    @ Mr. Webb, (From New Zealand)

    Thanks for stopping in! My husband and I really enjoyed all the twist and turns that Birdy brought to our lives. :-)

    On another note, one of my former students is in New Zealand right now and if she is near your school, I told her to stop in and meet you! :-) Fun!

    Mrs. Yollis

  11. Dear Mr and Mrs. Yollis,

    I loved reading your story about Birdy. It would make a great childrens book! I think you might want to change Birdy's name to Lucky, for not only finding a wonderful surrogate family but then to be reunited with his mother. Amazing!

    Thank you for including all of the information about hummingbirds, they are such beautiful and fascinating birds. I did not know about torpor, but it certainly makes sense with all of the energy they expend in their flying.

    Have a fun summer!

    Your friend,
    Mrs. Levy

  12. @ Annette,

    Yes, a real Hollywood ending...I can hear the music playing! :-) We were very happy with the end result.

    @ Ruth,

    Thank you for all the fun facts about hummingbirds. I believe that the babies can feel the wind from their mom's wings. Birdy gave off quite a breeze!

    @ Young,

    Bird watching is a lot of fun! We have a fountain in the backyard and the birds love to visit it! :-)

    @ Kari,

    Hello to you in Istanbul! (Istanbul was Constantinople...remember that song?!) Your mom has been keeping me up to date about your world travels. I love it!

    Yes, the torpor was a real shocker! I can see how that adaptation helps the birds, but it was quite a surprise the first time I saw it!

    Come back and visit again!

    Mrs. Yollis

  13. Dear Mr. and Mrs. Yollis,
    Outstanding! Congratulations to you both, and to Birdy!

    My sister, Mrs. Ranney, sent me a link to your recent post about Birdy. She also shared with me the tale of Birdy's road trip. I am so thrilled to learn of Birdy's successful reintroduction to life outdoors. He's one tough little hummer!

    Besides reading your post, I have learned a lot about hummingbirds by reading all the comments posted. Hoping you won't mind if I link your post in my next blog and on my Facebook page. Thank you.

    Have a great summer!

    (aka Plant Jan)

  14. Wow! I love the story of Birdy! I am really glad my mom emailed me your blog address. Congratulations on your good work in Birdy's life! Love, Sarah

  15. Dear Mrs Yollis,
    Thank you so much for replying to me on the post about Birdy.I have few questions for you here they go.
    Have you seen Birdy and his mum since you released him?
    Do you know how fast they can flap their wings? Also do you know how fast they can fly? Do the male hummingbirds take part in the nesting?
    From Your Friend
    Bianca. :)

  16. Dear Mrs.Yollis,

    I really enjoyed watchig the video because I just arrived from Isreal.
    I have not seen any animals from America. When I just got home,I go on your blog, and see an animal from America and I know I am home.

    I just came back from Hifa,Jeruselum, and Eliat.

    Have a great summer,

  17. Dear Mr. And Mrs. Yollis,

    I am glad that Birdy made it. When you first found Birdy, I did not think that he would survive alone. Also I have been waiting for Birdy to leave.

    P.S. My Mom and sister loved this post. =-)

  18. @ Janis, (Mrs. Ranney's sister)

    Thanks for your nice comment. It was a real thrill having Birdy as a house guest, and we were so happy with the end result. It was a nail-biter there at the end!

    Yes, there was a lot of new information coming in through the comment section. I love that!

    Feel free to link the post to your blog and Facebook. We love new readers!

    @ Sarah,

    So nice to hear from you too! Thanks for your congratulation. We were not sure how our little guy was going to end up. :-)

    Mrs. Yollis

  19. @ Bianca,

    You asked if we have seen Birdy and his mum since we released him. Yes, we released him and then saw him the next day. Then we left on vacation. He was doing very well and we're certain he will be successful. :-)

    Here are the answers to your other great questions:

    Do you know how fast they can flap their wings?

    • A hummingbird's wings will beat about 70 times per second and will beat up to 200 times per second when diving. Wow!

    How fast do they fly?

    • A hummingbird can fly an average of 30 miles per hour (48 kph) and can dive up to 60 miles per hour (97 kph). They are fast!

    Do the male hummingbirds take part in the nesting?

    • No, the female prepares the nest and raises the babies.

    Here are some questions for you!

    What is your favorite kind of bird? Can you leave me some fun facts about it?

    Your pal,
    Mrs. Yollis

  20. @ Julia,

    Thanks for leaving a great comment! How was your trip to Israel? Did you see any birds there? Which was your favorite. Maybe you can leave us some fun facts about it! (Remember, you can use the World Book Online link for research.)

    Say hi to Sam!

    @ Moraiya,

    I was so glad that Birdy made it too! Mr. Yollis and I were very worried at first, but luckily, Birdy's mother recognized his call and came for her baby!

    What is your favorite type of bird? Please tell us about it!

    Your friend,
    Mrs. Yollis

  21. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    I really enjoyed seeing the hummingbird.Has the humming bird start eating on it's own? I am glad it is finally flying! I'm amazed how much the humming bird has learned!

    Best wishes,
    Aaliyah :)

  22. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    I really enjoyed seeing the hummingbird.Has the humming bird start eating on it's own? I am glad it is finally flying! I'm amazed how much the humming bird has learned!

    Best wishes,
    Aaliyah :)

  23. Dear Mrs Yollis,
    well done you answered all my questions right.
    I really don`t have a favourite bird because I really like all birds.
    Do you have a favourite bird?
    I did some more research about the hummingbird and found out some more facts for you. In Australia we have no hummingbirds.
    Hummingbirds have no backbone and no sense of smell. Hummingbirds have very weak feet because they spend most of their time flying. They can also stop flying in mid air. I have got a couple of questions for you where does the green violet hummingbird live and
    where do the largest number of hummingbirds live?
    Hope you like my facts on hummingbirds
    hope to hear from you
    from bianca.

  24. Dear Mrs Yollis,
    I don`t know if you remember me but I am Bianca`s cousin.
    Bianca told me about your hummmingbird (Birdy) and I had to check out your post about Birdy.
    I really think its so wonderful how you and Mr Yollis saved his life.
    I think this would make such a wonderful movie.
    How are you enjoying your holiday? Have you saved any other animals before? My aunty AA did try to save a baby wombat but it wasn`t very well when she found the baby wombat so she had to take it to the vet and the vet took care of the baby wombat.
    I have never had the pleasure of taking care of an injured animal but I am sure if I had the chance I`m sure I would do a wonderful job.

    Take care from Bianca`s cousin

  25. @ Aaliyah,

    Hope you are having a wonderful summer! Yes, little Birdy has been eating on his own. His mother taught him how to drink from the feeder so all is well. :-)

    @ Bianca,
    Thanks for all your fun facts! I love it! Hmmm...I agree with you that hummingbirds have no sense of smell. However, all birds are vertebrates and that means they do have a backbone.

    We notice the small feet on hummingbirds and Birdy definitely enjoyed a little stick to perch on rather than standing. :-)

    I have tried to find the answers to your questions.

    1. Where does the green violet hummingbird live? I learned that hummingbirds ONLY live in North and South America. Interesting! The green violet lives in Mexico. (Am I correct?)

    2. Where do the largest number of hummingbirds live? South America...I guess I need you for this answer!

    You asked if I have a favorite bird. I really like the eagle, the blue heron, and hummingbirds!

    @ Kayla,

    Of course I remember you! :-) I'm glad you are back!

    Yes, it was very difficult to keep Birdy alive. I was so worried when he couldn't drink from the feeder, but luckily his mama was there to help out!

    Do you have a favorite bird or animal? Tell us about it!

    Your pal,
    Mrs. Yollis

  26. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    I'm so glad that Birdy learned how to fly! I really enjoyed watching him learn how to fly, but it would have been really fun if I saw him fly around outside.

    It is very intersting that Birdy's mother found him. I bet that rarely happens.

    I see a lot of hummingbirds around my neighborhood.

    My favorite bird is a dove. What is your favorite bird? Did you like taking care of Birdy? If you did, why?

    Yours truly,

    P.S. I really miss you!

  27. Dear Mr & Mrs. Yollis,

    What touching and wonderful story it is. I was really moved by what you have done to the little bird. My heart moved on with your writting. I was really getting worried and nervous when you wrote anther bird flew over and thought that the little bird was in trouble. But I was relieved to find out that it is the little bird mother. What a happy ending!

    Matthew, Paul's Dad

  28. @ Kendall,

    I'm so glad you are still following the blog and especially because you left a comment! :-)

    I was shocked when Birdy's mother flew down to him because I thought for sure Birdy would die of starvation. When his mother first approached him, he tried to fly away, but she forced him down and fed him. Then he flew and followed her to a flower! Amazing! What a surprise ending!

    You asked if I liked taking care of Birdy. Yes, I did. At first I was a little scared of him because I worried he would fly away from me or that I would give him too much food and hurt him. After a few days, I started to get to know him and his feeding habits and then I was more relaxed about it.

    You also asked me about my favorite bird. I would say I really like an eagle because it is our national bird. I also like the hummingbird. Perhaps it's because I just raised one!

    Why is the dove your favorite?

    P.S. I miss you too! :-)

    @ Matthew, (Paul's dad)

    My heart was pumping too when that bird flew to Birdy. The mother was very forceful with Birdy and he was trying to get away from her out of fear. Once she fed him, he knew she was there to help. What a happy ending! I was thrilled to be able to watch the reunion!

    Hope Paul is doing well! I invite him to leave a comment when he has time! :-) I miss all my students!

    Mrs. Y♥llis

  29. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    Thanks so much for all that you and your class taught me this evening! I stumbled upon your blog, but have spent quite an enjoyable time exploring.

    I was impressed by your third graders' knowledge, composure, and especially humor in their presentations and movies. What a kick!

    I was inspired by the depth of your website and blog and think of them almost as tutorials for how to get going in this vital area of technology. I'm a third grade teacher in the LA area, too, and am grateful for your guidance and many links. You've offered great support to "blog babies." Thanks again!

    Ms. Gibson

  30. Mr and Mrs Yollis and Birdy,
    What an achievement and what a fantastic post. I loved watching the videos and reading the story of the poor hummer. Wasn't he lucky to have such caring neighbours!!

    Also Mrs Yollis, thanks for commenting on the posts from students in my class.

    Your friend from downunder,
    Miss Wyatt aka tasteach

  31. Dear Mrs Yollis,
    thank you for writing back to me and you are correct the green voilet hummingbird does live in Mexico.
    Now most hummingbirds live in American specially in the North,Central and South America.Now Mrs Yollis do hummingbirds have any enemies and can hummingbirds fly upside down?
    Hope to hear from you again from your friend Bianca.

  32. The humming bird is so cute! You must of had so much fun with it!

  33. Dear Mrs.Yollis,
    I miss Birdie and I miss you. I will visit you at school. Whenevere I see hummingbirds I think of you and Mr.Yollis.

    Moraiya =)

  34. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    That hummingbird is so cute. We would like to raise a hummingbird.
    We loved the part when the hummingbird decided to finally fly. Also we liked when the bird's mother caaame back.

    Did you like taking care of the hummingbird?

    Amitia and Miriam

  35. Dear Mrs.Yollis

    I love the post about birdy. I especially loved when birdy found his mother !
    I have a question :
    How did you find birdy in the first place?

    Costa [ Ileanna's brother ]

  36. Dear Mrs. Yollis' classroom,

    Tucker recommended the Hummingbird post and I am so happy he took the time to care about me.
    Caring for living things takes quite a commitment and skill.
    You have to put their needs before yours and never give up.
    I sit in Tuckers' yard and love watching the Hummingbirds.
    Birdy's story will be one I will remember fondly and the facts I have learned will be passed on.
    I love caring and am glad Mrs. Yollis has taken all of you under her wing.


  37. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    This is Stefan, Adia's baby brother who is only two years old. Since I can't type and my sister can, I will have her type for me.

    What a magnificent post! I love all the pictures but my favorite one perhaps, is the one when Birdy and his mother came back together!

    I have a question:

    What is your favorite picture?

    When I am in third grade, I hope I get you as a teacher.

    I look forward to commenting back with you.

    Probably your first baby blogging buddy,

    Stefan (Adia's adorable brother)

  38. Dear Mrs.Yollis,

    I remember Birdy and when you brought it to class. Birdy is so so cute,and i'm so happy even now that Birdy is wandering around maybe near your house!

    Moraiya =D

    P.S. I have a pet bird and named it Birdy

  39. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    What a splendid story about Birdy. I sometimes see a hummingbird outside, but not very often. I love to see it fly and drink the sweet nectar from one of the flowers. His favorite flower is lavender. I named him Tweety. Have you ever named a hawk?


  40. Wonderful story with a happy ending. The story was delightfully documented with photos and video clips. I get ruby-throated hummingbirds in my backyard in northern Vermont, but alas, we are still in the throes of winter. We won't see the hummingbirds for a few more months. If I ever find an orphaned baby hummingbird I will know what to do thanks to your story.
    Greetings from Carol in Vermont, USA.

  41. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    What a beautiful story. It was incredible that you and Mr. Yollis nursed Birdy back to health and reunited him with his mother. This story reminds me of the book "Are You My Mother" by Dr. Seuss.

    The Hummingbird is a beautiful, magical little bird. If our family ever finds a sick bird, we will try to do the same. Thanks for the story!

    Best, Natasha ( Mia's mom )

  42. Mr and Mrs Yollis-

    I must say that your story makes me feel much better about my own story. Yesterday I found a baby hummingbird underneath the car, but he would not move. I knew his nest was in the tree, at the very top, as I had seen the mom hovering around a lot and observed her. I looked around for the mommy but couldn't find her. It was getting dark, and there are a lot of wild cats in our neighborhood. So I brought Baby inside for the night, fearing what would happen to him if I left him out so close to the ground over night. In the morning I brought him outside and set him on a low branch, then sat a distance away and watched. Sure enough, he started chirping, and his mommy came down and fed him. I just hope she keeps a closer eye on the little rascal from here on out :)

  43. Dear Mrs. Yollis and Class--
    This is Lea, Lily's Grandmother. Lily just showed me the photo of Mr. Yollis saving the baby hummingbird. How fortunate that Buck saw the bird and in his own way, pointed it out to Mr. Yollis. Otherwise a predator may have come and hurt the tiny bird. The hummingbird is so tiny, it looks about the size of Mr. Yollis' thumb. It is wonderful that the bird was able to fly away and probably meet up with his mother and rest of his family. I love watching hummingbirds, particularly from my kitchen window, as they come and hover over the flowers on the window box. They also remind me of my mother. Because she loved flowers, there were always flowers blooming in her garden, and many hummingbirds would come around. She also used to have hummingbird feeders here and there in the yard.
    Lea (Lily's Grandma)

  44. Hi Mrs. Y♥llis,
    I thought that Birdie was so cute. I just shared this post with my family. My brother said, "AWWWWWW!" My mother said, "She's so cute and tiny!" I don't know a lot about hummingbirds, but I just learned about torpor from your post. It sounds like hibernation. I know one other fact. Hummingbirds are the smallest birds in the world. My favorite part was when Birdie met his mother. From the mother's point of view, she must have been SO happy. Can you imagine? Thank you for sharing this post with us. I love it.


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