Fragile Captive–Hummingbird in Hand

fragile-captureFragile Capture

Daily Photo

Hands dirty and rough from gardening, my son gently encloses a hummingbird which frantically beat against his bedroom window.

UPDATE: Ernie wrote a piece about hummingbirds with two stories (one about a womanwho hand raised one and it lived in her garden and fed from an eyedropper she held in her hand!)  Check it out here.



  • Oh, wow. That’s amazing. How did that happen?

    These little guys and gals visit the feeder in our bedroom window daily, and I never get tired of watching them.

  • precious. your son will remember this and tell the hummingbird story for a long time.
    thank you for sharing yet another “heart-washing” photo kym…

  • I hope the little hummer has decided that banging his head against the window is not such a good idea. You might look for one of those hawk or owl decals for the window that are supposed to keep birds away.

  • Wow! What an amazing shot! I love how you can see the individual feather patterns. What a great capture (for both you and your son 🙂 ).

  • How in the world did he do that? Hummingbirds are so fast! Was it drunk? 😉 They do get drunk and they are kind of fun to watch when that happens. 😀

  • What a unique photo Kym, and the feathers are beautiful! Those little guys are so fast I don’t see how he ever got ahold of it. When he released it did it seem to be all right? Good thing you had your camera handy.

  • Yesterday was sunny and we had our back door open (which opens into my son’s room). Outside the door is a cascade of wild current blooming passionately. The hummingbird apparently darted inside and tried to exit a closed window. My little guy rushed outside to get me. I carefully swooped it up, called to a friend to bring my camera. “Please,” my little guy begged, “Can I hold it?” At first I was reluctant to terrify the hummingbird for a second longer and they are so fragile and six year old boys can be rough. But my little guy is very conscientious and I would be right there so carefully we transferred the hummingbird to my son’s eager hands. He held him loosely–just enough to keep it confined for four photos and then, “Let him loose,” I said. My son unfolded his hands as if releasing a prayer and the bird soared like an arrow shot strongly into the sky.

    And one of the photos turned out which, because of the speed I took it at, I thought unlikely.

  • What a gorgeous picture. Most of the time, the hummingbirds I’ve seen photographed have a blue sheen, but you captured one with a reddish glow. Beautiful.
    I’m so impressed with your talent, Kym.

  • One day, Young One caught a little bird and held it in his hand. He thought, I know how to trick Old One. I will ask a riddle that can’t be answered correctly. He covered the bird completely with both hands so that it couldn’t be seen. He went to Old One and said, I have a little bird in my hands, is it dead –or alive?, thinking to himself, if Old One says, ‘alive’, I will crush the bird in my hands and show him a dead bird and say –‘Haha! I tricked you!’ And if Old One says, ‘dead’, I will open my hands and let the bird fly free and say, ‘Hoho! I tricked you!’

    But Old One said, It’s up to you.

  • “How in the world did he do that?”.

    It’s because birds often can’t see glass, unless it’s dirty or is reflecting something, so they run into windows off and on. I believe the decals aren’t meant to scare birds because of their shape but just to let them know there is something there.

    As an aside, sometimes even people don’t see glass doors and such, with often horrific results. Imagine walking through a sliding glass door. It can rip you to shreds.

    Years ago, when we were little kids, we were playing on the back porch. My sister walked into the living room and saw us through the sliding glass door and walked over to join us, but didn’t realize the door was closed as the glass was so clean. She walked right into it. Luckily, the window didn’t break and all she got was bump on the forehead. I shudder to think what might have happened if she would have broke the window.

  • It’s a rare thing to get to see the shimmery little feathers or the look in a hummingbird’s eye. Thanks, Kym. I hope the little guy recovered from his encounter with your window. You shouldn’t keep the windows so clean! 🙂

  • “You shouldn’t keep the windows so clean!”
    LOL! Yeah! Where is that darn cat when you need it? (To muss up the windows, not deal with the bird!)
    To give you an idea of perspective, I thought for sure, before reading your comment, Kym, that those were Middle Son’s hands, not Youngest’s. That bird’s beautiful and teeny!

  • As you know, hummers are very territorial and will attack their reflection. Doesn’t sound like the case this time. Your sure ended up with a great photo. Thanks!

  • Jen, I’ve never seen one close up with this coloring either. It is even more extraordinary than shows here.

    Headwrapper, what a great short story/folk tale. I’ve never heard it before. It is one of those that in a very few words conveys so much about the character of the people. It also grabs me and shakes me and says, “GREATER TRUTH.” I want to write like that!

    Fred, there was a large ficus in front of the window so I’m sure that helped confuse the poor little fellow. It certainly wasn’t my clean windows. No one is in danger of running into them here!

    Indie, Seeing as how my windows are due for their bi yearly cleaning, I’m sure the hummingbirds are safe from me!

    Heather, I realized after looking back that the scale of the photo is off. It doesn’t show the delicacy and fragility of the bird. I tried to remedy that here in the comments by explaining it was my little guy holding him but I don’t think I really convey the tininess of the bird!

    Ron, Thank you.

  • In another house we use to live in we had a hummingbird that was a regular visitor and he was almost the color of the one in your pic.

    By the way…does anyone know what happened to Humboldt Hillbilly? His blog is down.

  • I noticed that two days ago. I hate when blogs I’m just getting to feel at home in up and disappear. His poetry impressed me and I’m going to miss him too along with Ekovox, SoHumBorn and Raincrow.

  • Hummingbirds have such beautiful coloring, and this one is no exception. Along with Heather, I thought this was middle son’s hands!

    Love this phrase “My son unfolded his hands as if releasing a prayer”…very evocative.

    Headwrapper, love that story too. What a wise “Old One”.

  • Bluelaker, Thank you.

    Ernie, I loved that and linked to it in an update above. People would enjoy reading that story.

  • I use a towel to gather them up gently. They are very fragile.

  • This morning there was a little brown bird with a hooked long beak flyng into the garage windows leaving beak marks. I wondered if it was tring to eat the bugs in the spider webs that are inside of the garage reminding me to get in there and sweep and clean. Meanwhile, the ducks are mating and quacking merrily this morning.

  • in my experience, the wee little hummingbirds usually wear themselves out trying to escape and when their “blood sugar” is expended they will alight on a friendly finger or open palm. having the featherweight of a hummingbird clutch to your finger is right up there on a scale of heartsmiles!

    i was reading on ernie’s post on the hummingbirds where a little daily torpor is an energy conservation survival technique. i had no idea that that part of me that wants to nap in the afternoon was my survival instinct screaming at me! nap for life!

  • Ben, we use towels for bats and often other birds but, honestly, I was so scared he would hurt himself I just wanted to save him fast. And he was easy to catch because the only evasion he tried to do was through the window.

    Carol, I’ve seen a similar bird this year that I don’t remember seeing before. I wonder what it is?

    OMR, I would enjoy a wee one perching on me voluntarily. I’m not sure I have the fortitude to watch it exhaust itself though.

    Forkboy, thank you.

  • that is extraordinary!

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