Dead Birds Tell Tall Tales

Yesterday there was a Hummingbird Incident here. Jack the labradork kept going to the sliding glass door and wanting to go out. So I would let him. He’d poke at the glass and the door mat and then want to come back in. After two repetitions I finally looked down to see what he was poking his nose and paw at and saw a male Anna’s hummingbird lying in the shallow space between the door mat and the door frame. For a moment I thought it was dead, then I noticed it was breathing–or palpitating, it’s hard to be sure which thing so agitated its breast: heart or lungs. So I went and got a box and put a towel in it so I could put the bird somewhere warm and dry.


But when I went to pick it up it fluttered suddenly into the air.

Jack bit at it and grabbed the poor bird in his mouth.

I yelled at him to drop it.

He dropped it and the bird lay still next to the door, only a few inches from the opening. So I again tried to pick it up and put it in the box, assuming it was injured.

Once again, the bird suddenly leapt into rattling flight as I tried to lift it and, once again, Jack lunged at it.

I grabbed Jack’s collar with my free hand and lofted the bird upward, thinking it was still too injured to fly, but as soon as there was free air under it, the hummingbird zipped around and buzzed out the door and away into the trees.

That’s the second bird I’ve rescued from the dogs when it was playing “dead.” I wonder if they’ve left a birdie hobo-mark on my house that means “sucker here”?


About Kat Richardson

Writer, editor, eccentric pain in the tail, bestselling author of the Greywalker novels.
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