Hummingbird sent home for the holidays by Medicine River Wildlife Centre volunteers

A hummingbird made it home in time for the holidays thanks to the Medicine River Wildlife Centre.

In October, the Anna’s hummingbird was spotted hanging around a property near Hinton.

Carol Kelly, Medicine River Wildlife Centre executive director, said the property owner had just taken in the hummingbird feeders when the small female hummingbird showed up.

Hummingbirds typically winter in British Columbia. The owner placed a new feeder was placed outside assuming the hummingbird would eventually move on.

By late November, the bird still hadn’t left.

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“Sometimes these birds from B.C. get caught in a storm and get blown into Alberta. Every now and then they end up being where they don’t belong.

“A little Anna’s hummingbirds is unheard of in the Hinton area, let alone that time of year.”

The property owners had a master bird bander help them catch the hummingbird on Nov. 22.

“After about three days they caught this little hummer,” said Kelly. “It wouldn’t have survived with that cold about to hit.”

Time was off the essence. The province had benefited from a warmer than normal November, but the looming cold snap meant the hummingbird had to get to a habitat it could handle.

From Hinton, the bird was taken to Lil Duperron’s home in Drayton Valley, Duperron is a volunteer with the wildlife centre. The bird was put into the bathroom with hanging fuschia plants and feeders. Duperron put gauze over the window to let some light into the bathroom, but to prevent the bird from flying into the window thinking it could escape.

It survived there for about three days before the final leg of its journey home could begin.

Darcy Will, a major donor to the wildlife centre and a volunteer, was flying his own plane to Campbell River, B.C. on Nov. 25.

“He took the little hitchhiker back to B.C.,” said Kelly, adding it was wonderful for Will to take the hummingbird home for the holidays. “We had it in what we refer to as our little ambulance. It was set up in a little box with flowers and a feeder and Darcy strapped it into one of the seats in his plane.”

It was released into a “much more hospitable habitat,” Kelly said.

Kelly said during the summer, she was on the phone 80 to 90 times a day with people requesting their services. This meant a very busy year for the organization. They had more than 2,100 patients over the year.

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