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Hummingbird stuck to Easter bouquet survives trip from Courtenay

Nancy Packard wasn’t surprised to receive an Easter floral bouquet from her sister — but the discovery of a live hummingbird inside was a shock. “I heard something buzzing,” Packard said. “I thought it might have been a bee.
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A fledgling hummingbird is tended by Wild Arc branch manager Kari Marks. The bird's feet were affixed to tape around cellophane packaging.

Nancy Packard wasn’t surprised to receive an Easter floral bouquet from her sister — but the discovery of a live hummingbird inside was a shock.

“I heard something buzzing,” Packard said. “I thought it might have been a bee.”

Instead, it was the hummingbird, trapped with its feet stuck to the tape on the cellophane packaging.

Packard’s son untangled the bird’s tiny feet, and they took it outside their Victoria home.

“But it didn’t fly away, it just sat there,” she said.

Knowing the bird was cold and likely hungry, Packard filled a feeder with nectar-like liquid.

The hummingbird remained flightless, still and uninterested in feeding. It became more active as it warmed up, peeping and chirping, but still would not eat.

By this point, Packard had solicited the advice of neighbours, family and bird experts — and contacted the SPCA’s Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre in Metchosin.

She put the bird in a box with a warm towel and drove to the centre. “On the way there, I got stuck in the Colwood crawl and this bird is chirping away and I thought: I’m never going to get it to them. It will die on the way.”

Wild ARC manager Kari Marks said staff immediately recognized the bird as a fledgling Anna’s hummingbird. The bird, common on Vancouver Island, feeds on nectar from flowers and can consume small insects.

The bird was not feeding because it was only weeks old, Marks said. “That incessant peeping sound was it calling [for its parents].”

Staff began feeding the bird with a small syringe. By Saturday, it was feeding itself.

“I’m so glad it survived,” Packard said. “Who would have thought it would make the trip.”

The bird arrived in an elaborate bouquet of roses, lilies, chrysanthemums and bird of paradise from Courtenay Fifth Street Florist, the favourite florist of Packard’s sister, Louise Gage-Cole.

The arrangement left Courtenay on Thursday morning and arrived at Packard’s house about 3 p.m.

Store owner Steven Meier said a tiny bird’s nest was discovered underneath the shop’s salal greenery, which is added to the flower arrangements.

He said the bird could have been in the salal stored in the flower shop’s back cooler for days. “It’s kind of a miracle, that little guy.”

Marks said the cold storage the bird endured during the floral design and transport might have helped it by slowing down its metabolism. “It’s a very lucky little bird because it could have perished,” she said.

The hummingbird will remain at Wild ARC for a couple of more weeks until it matures and then it will be released.

“It’s a nice Easter story,” Marks said.

ceharnett@timescolonist.com