Monday, August 10, 2015

Fastest Things on Wings by Terry Masear

Fastest Things on Wings
Rescuing hummingbirds in Hollywood
by Terry Masear
2015
*****
5 stars - delightful
ALR Green - yes, some of the birds die and some are kind of beat up, but the mood of the book is so uplifting that I think even sensitive readers will have a Green feeling by the end


Hummingbirds are cool. Do you need anything more?

Terry Masear is a hummingbird rehabilitator in Los Angeles, California. Who knew? She stumbles in to rehab and rescue in the same way many caring individuals do. It starts with her discovery of an injured bird, a casual remark to the hummingbird rescue where she takes it of "if there's anything I can do to help" and before she knows it, Ms. Masear is caring for dozens of hummingbirds every year. 

It's a labor of love and quite a labor. During the busy breeding months, her days start before the sun comes up and end sometime around midnight. During waking hours she's managing birds in different stages of healing while juggling constant phone calls from concerned citizens who have found birds. 

Her book takes the reader through one season of rescue while also providing some background on Ms. Masear. It's informative and engrossing. 

While never preachy, Ms. Masear does impress the reader with a couple of very important points:
  1. Never assume you know how to care for a wild animal. If you find an injured or trapped animal, call your local wildlife. Do not use "common sense" to try and take care of it.
  2. Don't listen to folks who say "let nature take its course" regarding animals in distress. If an animal is anywhere near where humans dwell, it's likely that nature has already been disturbed. Nothing natural about a bird getting a concussion from flying in to a window or chicks being stranded after a landscaper trims their nest out of a tree.
  3. If you are going to feed hummingbirds, then you need to stay on top of it. Sugar water should be changed out (and feeders cleaned) every couple of days and if you've made them dependent on your feeders as a food source, then don't let them get empty.
Fun fact! Hummingbirds preparing for their annual migration sometimes gorge themselves to the point that they are too fat to fly and might be seen laying under a feeder for half an hour or so while they burn off that excess weight.

For the first time this year, I am attracting hummingbirds to my yard. They are magnificent. I'm not sure how many I have because they are so territorial that it's one at a time only at the feeders. I do have two feeders that each might sport a bird now and then and I've seen two different coloration. Maybe it's a male and female. Who knows? They are great fun to watch. 

As much as I love animals, I'm not cut out for rescue. I know from this book as well as friends involved in dog rescue that once you hang your shingle there is no peace. Your phone will ring constantly and you'll eventually be in the "just one more" situation. It's so easy to get overwhelmed. Plus I would go coo coo talking to idiot people.


Bonus! Despite all of Ms. Masear's descriptions of how tiny baby hummingbirds are, well, nothing works like a photo, or, even better, a video. Click here to see a short video of a nice person feeding baby hummingbirds. 

1 comment:

  1. I saw a hummingbird at one of my rhododendrons several times this spring. I then put out a feeder, but I have not seen any hummingbirds at them. Still, I keep filling the feeders.

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