Hummingbird feeds on sugar water during recovery

Rufous hummingbird

This hummingbird baby was likely a casualty of fooling around a little too precariously on the edge of a nest before being swept out of its home by a gust of wind.

Prior to being scooped up by a predator, a very sharp-eyed Powell River resident spotted the fluffy nestling, which weighs fewer than five grams and is no bigger than a quarter, lying on the ground.

The bird is unable to fly and the famous, long slim beak has not reached its full length, but it is able to vigorously pull sugar water out of a dropper.

If the water/sugar mix is not made with white refined and sterilized sugar, and turbinado, organic, or brown sugar, or honey is used instead, there could be bacterial content in the mix that will kill the bird.

For example, honey favours the growth of a black fungus that causes fatal liver and tongue diseases in hummingbirds.

Artificial sweetener usually contains a red dye that has been proven to cause birth defects in hummingbirds. Other studies indicate that it is carcinogenic.

Powell River is a destination breeding ground for hummingbirds and, judging by the number of feeders in the region, residents love having them in our environment.