After nearly two months, two of our baby hummingbirds were ready to be released back into the wild last Saturday. We’ve watched them learn how to hover, figure out how to drink nectar from flowers, and practice catching fruit flies out of the air. These skills seemed hard-wired into them and it took very little coaxing on our part to get them to stop gaping and learn how to feed themselves.
The last thing to do before releasing these birds was to show them how to ’stand their ground’ at the hummingbird feeder. Normally I made sure that they had a variety of food sources (such as classic hummingbird feeders, live flowers, and small syringes filled with nectar and fake flower tips on the ends) but a few days before release, I removed all but one feeder. The purpose of this was to let the birds practice ‘fighting’ over the feeder so that they would not become intimidated if another hummingbird were to come along. Being competitive and solitary birds who like to defend their territories, this is very important!
The release went beautifully, you can watch it here on our YouTube Channel. We watched both birds leave their cage and begin to explore their new surroundings. They drank from some flowers before darting off into the sky, and eventually…to Central America!