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Video shows family’s attempt at saving frozen hummingbird stuck in snow: ‘What an amazing rescue’

“So lucky you found him.”

"So lucky you found him.”

Photo Credit: @loriculwell / TikTok

Anna’s Hummingbirds are uniquely well-adapted to freezing temperatures, but when one bird got stuck on a TikToker’s driveway, it prompted a rescue mission.

Lori Culwell (@loriculwell) posted a video to TikTok, which showed the tiny bird submerged in a deep blanket of snow. 

Though he could barely move, he was still alive. Culwell made it her business to bring him in from the cold.

She first brought a plastic bin out to transport the hummingbird indoors, but when she went to remove him from the ice, she found that he was stuck. Instead, she chipped away at the snow around his feet and put both him and the icy block inside the box.

She then used a heating pad to melt the ice and revive the cold bird. Once he was recovered, all he needed was a small nudge to encourage him to fly back into the wild — though he didn’t stay away for long.

“This spring he came back, and he brought his friends!” Culwell wrote in a caption.

@loriculwell An epic winter #hummingbird rescue! #hummingbirds #seattletiktok #uplifting #wholesome #hummingbirdsoftiktok ♬ original sound

According to Portland Audubon, the lack of movement shown by the bird is a normal behavior for Anna’s Hummingbirds. Known as “torpor,” it is a technique that helps the birds conserve their energy in freezing temperatures. 

Ordinarily, the environmental organization advises people not to disturb Anna’s Hummingbirds when they are experiencing torpor, but given that the bird Culwell found could have been in danger of being run over by cars, moving it was arguably more appropriate.

One way that everyone on the northwest coast of North America can help these hummingbirds through the winter is by leaving bird feeders out for them. 

In the past, Anna’s Hummingbirds survived the frigid winters by living off insects, flower nectar, and sap, but as urban environments have disrupted natural habitats, these food sources have shrunk. 

Portland Audubon recommends stocking your bird feeder with a mixture of four parts water and one part white sugar.

It is because of these year-round bird feeders, according to some scientists, that Anna’s Hummingbirds are one of the few species that are actually thriving. Over ten years, the population of Anna’s Hummingbirds increased by 10%, according to one study published in 2018.

It’s a heartening conservation story when so many other species, like the monarch butterfly or the red wolves, are endangered — and Culwell has helped to ensure the survival of one more hummingbird. 

“What an amazing rescue!” a TikToker commented.

“Sweet little bird was so lucky you found him,” another agreed.

One TikToker left an extra tip for any future wildlife rescuers: “Great thing you did but should have brought a blanket with the tote.”

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