World of Hummingbirds .com

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Jay Mills
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Hummingbird Stories


We feed hummingbirds around our house and so they are quite regular in our yard. They have gotten to be fairly calm around us as well, often coming to drink from the feeder even while we are within a couple feet.

This morning I heard a lot of small bird chirping (not Hummingbirds) on my patio. When I looked out from my window I saw a few small sparrows flittering around on the ground and a couple of them were making more noise than usual. When I opened the door to investigate, two small birds flew away from the busy area over to a picnic table 30 feet away. One of the birds was some kind of small sparrow, but with distinct yellow on its feathers. The other bird was a hummingbird, and the two of them flew together to the table. The sparrow sat on the table and the hummingbird hovered only a foot or two away, clearly giving the sparrow its full attention. At first I thought perhaps the hummingbird was being defensive of its young or something, or for some other reason trying to warn away the sparrow. But I came to see that the little sparrow was a weak bird and not much of a threat to anybody. He had flown the 30 foot distance with some effort. He remained on the table for several minutes, and the hummingbird kept close the entire time! At one point the hummingbird perched on a tree branch nearby but was clearly still attentive to the sparrow. Eventually I approached the sparrow to see if I might be able to handle him and inspect him for an injury. I got very close before the sparrow picked up and flew (weakly) another 40 feet over to a wooden compost structure, where it again sat still. The hummingbirds (there were two or three by now) flew over with him and again, continued to hang close to the sparrow, often flying within a foot of it. The hummingbirds were making plenty of their chirping noises too. They stayed this way for several more minutes until I approached again. The sparrow let me get very close and then flew a few feet into an apple tree, and still ,the hummingbirds remained very close to it, perching themselves as well in the same tree.

The total time was now about 10 minutes and the hummingbirds never left the side of that sparrow the entire time. I stopped observing at this point. After several more minutes I came back to find the sparrow sitting on a bird feeder we keep right in front of our window, and which is also next to out hummingbird feeder. He was pecking away at seeds but not very aggressively. Still, the hummingbird was with him. I got some fresh bird seeds to put on the feeder and when I reached it, the sparrow flew up to the roof of my house where he sat near a gutter. A hummingbird was now hovering near him, only a foot or so away, in a constant formation. They stayed this way for a couple minutes until I turned away.

My overall impression is that the hummingbirds were somehow trying to give support to this sparrow, which was an unusually colored bird (for my yard anyway) and which appeared to be somewhat weak for some reason, though I don't think it was a young hatchling type bird. It seemed to have mature feathers etc. The sparrow was, of course, a much larger bird than the hummingbirds and so it seems odd to think that small hummingbirds would take an interest in another bird that looks nothing like its own young, or even another adult.

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