The Hummingbird Rescue Lady Of Las Vegas
Some Of Nature's Tiniest Creatures
A Special Place In Heaven For Those Who Care For The Tiny Ones...
If indeed there is a special place in heaven for those who care for the very tiniest among us, a lady from North Las Vegas, Nevada named Marion Brady will surely be there. Marion basically fell into rescuing and caring for tiny hummingbirds in need in a very accidental way. Now she lovingly cares for them in three cages inside of her home.
There are a large variety of hummingbirds here in Las Vegas, something I didn't even know until we placed a hummingbird feeder out in our back yard and lo and behold, every summer like clockwork these tiny miracles hover and feed from our feeder. They usually would feed steadily for a month or so, then a few would continue to linger after that time. Once there is a crisp chill in the air, they almost seem to vanish for the winter and then return with the warmth of the next spring. Not that it is ever very cold here in Las Vegas, but it can get chilly during the winter months.
Recently, we have started to notice that hummingbirds do still come around in the winter as long as you keep a feeder outside, and keep it full of the red liquid they love. I thought that they leave, but this winter in particular, 2013, they seem to keep coming back no matter how cold it gets. So, it doesn't hurt to keep a feeder for them even in the winter months.
Marion Brady works pretty much full time now as an unpaid steward of these tiny little lives, helping those that have been injured or abandoned to become strong enough to live on their own again. Many of the birds need to learn how to fly and find nectar and how to perch, along with other skills that they will need to return successfully to the wild. Marion doesn't keep them, she simply nurses them back to health. When they are ready to leave, they always let her know in no uncertain terms that they are ready to go.
She says that they are not like tiny little tame parakeets that you can keep as pets. In fact, it is illegal to keep hummingbirds as pets. They are always wild birds and they always let her know by becoming pretty feisty when they are finished being rehabilitated and are ready to go back to the wild. They won't ever be "pets" in the household pet kind of way, but some have been known to stick around for a while in the feeders in her yard even after she has released them.
By day, Marion Brady is a crime scene investigator employed by the Police Department in North Las Vegas. Several years ago, she was volunteering at a local nature sanctuary when a little tiny newly hatched hummingbird showed up at the facility. She was helping out at the Gilcrease Nature Sanctuary here in Las Vegas. Up until then, she had only cared for a couple of doves and one other type of bird. She had never cared for a hummingbird before, but decided that since the bird needed her help, she would step up and help him.
Hummingbirds are fascinating little creatures, but they are also incredibly high maintenance. Baby hummingbirds need to be fed about every 20 minutes! And yes, you did read that right, they are fed every 20 minutes as babies. To have the patience, persistence and love to care for these tiny beings, surely there has to be a special place in heaven for these amazing caregivers.
At first Marion Brady was wary of picking up the baby hummer because of its very tiny size and fragile looks, but she has said in interviews that you learn how to handle them properly the more experience you get. She named the first baby hummer "Squeak" and took care of him until he was old enough to be set free. The only real help she got was from research she had done on the internet and by calling Cornell University and speaking with the ornithology department there. She found out that this baby might not survive if it didn't get some protein into his diet along with sugar water.
She ended up buying some worms from a pet store and mashing them up and mixing them with the sweetened water, making kind of a protein shake for "Squeak". After taking in this first little hummer and caring for him, she was hooked. She has since taken in about 35 other little ones. She cares for every size of hummer from adults that have been injured to tiny babies. When they are first born, baby hummingbirds are about the size of Abraham Lincoln's image on the surface of a penny! Now that's tiny!
She has lost only three of the tiny little birds that were very fragile anyway. Her record for caring for these birds successfully and bringing them back to a healthy enough state that they can be released back into the wild is amazing. Her purely unselfish dedication to these little creatures has been astounding.
In a funny note, her dedication extends far above and beyond the "call of duty." She shared in a recent interview that the little tiny baby hummingbirds, since they need to be fed every 20 minutes, go everywhere with her! It's kind of like caring for a human newborn. She talked about taking them with her to stores when she needs to make a trip to the store, and she said she has even fed baby hummingbirds in public restrooms and during girl scout meetings. She's even been known to go out to the CSI van at a crime scene to feed one of her "babies".
She will retire later this summer after 25 years in law enforcement, and she looks forward to dedicating even more time to caring for these tiny, fragile and beautiful creatures. She has said that she wants to go back to college after retiring to learn more about these little hummingbirds and to take part in a biology program in college. And it seems that people are always finding her and sending her more of these little hummers to take care of. She has received at least 18 of them this year alone.
She shared a really cute and funny story about one of the first hummers that she rescued, the one that she had affectionately named "Squeak." She has since released him back into the wild, but he still hangs around in her yard near the feeder. He got together with another rescued bird and he is now a DAD and has little hummers of his own. She joked that she now has her "feathered grandkids" looking into her windows at her. Absolutely amazing!
She was quoted in an interview saying that it is truly a good feeling knowing that you've saved one of these tiny precious little lives. They are some of the smallest creatures, but they seem to have such sweet little hearts.
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I've read some advice recently about the best thing to do if you find a hummingbird in need of rescue. If you find a baby or an adult that looks as if it is in trouble, the best thing to do is to call a rescue service immediately. Then the next best advice is to look for the nest in the case of a found baby and if you notice that the mother is still nearby, you can very gently pick it up and place it back in the nest.
Something I had always heard is not to pick up a baby bird because if the mother smells a human scent she won't take care of it. I learned recently that this is not true, it is only a myth that has been spread. It is advised not to tamper with the bird's nest or remove it from where it is unless you see that the baby bird has truly been abandoned.
If you are attempting to bring a baby hummingbird to a place of rescue, it is advised to put it into a tiny box with ventilation. The baby in the box should be covered with a towel, and not exposed to air conditioning in the car. It's best to keep the box on the floor of the car. You can attempt to feed the baby with an eyedropper if it is going to take a while to get to a rescue operation.
You can even make homemade nectar to feed a hummingbird by mixing a tablespoon of sugar with four tablespoons of warm water. Use white sugar only. Don't ever use an artificial sweetener, brown sugar, corn syrup, confectioners sugar, nectar or agave. Just plain white sugar is all you need, completely dissolved in water. The baby can be fed until you are able to get it safely to a haven of rescue that will take care of it from there.
An Update On Marion Brady!
I received a pretty exciting email this summer (2015) from Marion Brady, the lady from Las Vegas who rescues hummingbirds here. She wanted me to know this: (Quoting here):
"I have FINALLY received both my Federal and Nevada State rehab licenses for hummingbirds. I appreciate the article you did on me and thought it was very nice."
It's incredibly NICE to receive such kind words for something you've written! I sincerely wish Marion all the best in her future endeavors caring for these tiny souls! She also told me she is trying to get a website up and running and a Facebook page going as well. I'm not very good at those things, so I'll leave those up to her to do them the way that she wants them.
Hopefully many of these tiny, beautiful birds will be able to benefit now and in the future from such good care!