Posted by: helens22 | February 14, 2011

gift of the baby hummingbird

An experience I had while we were visiting the Loma de Ensueños:

I don’t hear the thwack against the window. I’m in another room having a cherished quiet moment alone. But my son’s wail brings me quickly. “A bird hit our front window hard! How terrible; it’s probably dead already.” Geared for tragedy and loss, he is, and near tears.

Something in me feels ready and able, knowing what to do. I go outside and find the baby hummingbird, stunned on the cement porch near the front window. I look carefully and see it is breathing. Slowly approaching, I somehow know it will let me pick it up, so I do with great care. I hold it between my two hands, giving it life energy to use as it will—either to leave the body quickly and easily, or to stay. I don’t presume either way. I truly only want to serve its desire and need.

Shock allows for a swift, painless exit from the body. Birds are good at that—so alive when here, so easy to let go when their time comes. But this bird’s breathing continues, so very rapid—3 times a second or more, letting me know that for this moment anyway, it is still here, alive.

As more minutes pass and I warm it with my hands and feed it energy, the growing likelihood of it choosing to live dawns in me. I peek between my hands. Fifteen minutes have passed. One small black eye, then the other opens for a little, shuts and then opens again.

I watch for my healer friend to return. I can see him in the distance, talking to a neighbor, too far away to hail. He just recently nursed a stunned bird that he found on the hillside, back to life and freedom again. Yet this bird has come to my care, and she’s staying minute by minute longer.

Finally I see him walking up towards the house. I call to him and get up carefully, disturbing the wee bird in the process. I feel a fluttering of wings between my hands. But the wings are all askew. Will they ever be able to fly again? A hummingbird is such a delicate creature. I wonder how the long, curved beak could have withstood the force of the impact with the glass, unharmed, yet I see no signs of injury or blood.

My friend arrives and I show him the tiny bird. He immediately smoothes its wings into their proper place and I’m relieved to see them, looking normal again. He makes up some water with a bit of sugar and tastes it to be sure it’s not too sweet, finds a spoon and gently taps at the beak, pouring out a few sweet drops. A second and third time he does this, and then we see the bird’s mouth move and drink. My friend gives her a few more sips and then goes to get a birdcage he has at his house, so she has a safe space to recuperate where we can observe her. This cage is never used for keeping birds, except as convalescents. The house has perches on the ceiling for whatever birds might want to live with him, for whatever time.

My healer friend fans her, blows strongly on her. “She needs air to help her breathe, to remind her to fly.” He happily notes her tenacity in keeping her balance when he blows extra hard. “She’s a strong one!” He fans her again and again, knowing the power of air, the affinity of bird and air, the necessity for her to reconnect with the power of air.

We open the bird cage door and I carefully put my hand, with bird, inside. Her black eyes watch, but she still seems somewhat stunned. Her mouth takes in more sips of
nectar. It seems time to withdraw my hand. I sense that she needs to be left alone, that she’s received from me whatever was needed. In the process of taking my hand out, she startles and flies to the side of the cage, tiny claws grabbing onto the metal bars, and beak and tiny head trying to push through the bars to escape. Her short flight leaves us hopeful and happy. We move away and leave her alone, to continue regaining her strength.

After about 45 minutes my friend tries to feed her again, but now she responds like the wild creature she is, flying desperately away from him, wings whirring, bumping into the sides of the cage, trying to escape. “She seems strong, unharmed and clearly wants her freedom.”  So we take the cage outside. He manages to close his hand around her, remove it from the cage and release her. She flies, like a shot, straight to a flowering bush about 3 feet away. At first it looks like she’s made a bee-line to the nectar of a flower, but then my son sees her hanging from a stem, beak-down, looking stunned. “I don’t think she’s ok! We should never have let her go!”

But I feel hopeful, and I also know that our part in her life is now over. She continues to hang upside-down, motionless, but holding on tightly. I decide it’s time to continue on with my own activities, and I say good-bye and wish her the very best. About fifteen minutes later, I come back out to see her. The branch is empty—she’s flown free!

Two mornings later as I’m waking—suddenly the little hummingbird’s image and spirit is with me. She’s well and I feel she’s come to let me know and to say thank you. In the physical we never see her again, but I have the happy sense that she is living out her nectar-sipping life on our hillside.

I’ve often wondered since then why I was given this gift—the presence of such a delicate winged spirit—and why I was given the chance to offer healing energy. It was a precious gift to my heart to open and give love, to surrender to life’s will, and then to be delighted at her recovery.

When I received my Reiki 2 initiation, the first opportunity I had to use it was in the less happy circumstance of watching a mother duck and her babies cross the highway right in front of the onrushing cars. My friend saw the horrific physical results in the rear-view mirror, but I was spared that and given instead the focus of offering energetic assistance for a speedy and painless transition.

In both cases, I was given the gift of experiencing how loving energy is a blessing—to giver and receiver alike, regardless of the physical outcome. I guess for me, it’s easier to give to animals, than to people. There are less complications and animals wear their bodies so much more lightly, teaching me, by example, how to easily relinquish the body when the time comes.

My heart has lessons to learn from this experience with the baby bird. It also has something it needs to nurture and to cultivate. This heart of mine holds an energy as delicate and nectar-seeking as the hummingbird’s. I have a heart-bird who lies stunned within me, waiting for my gentle energy to encourage her back to life. No need to know what pane she hit, what pain stunned her. And no one else is nearby to help—it is my heart and hands that are called for.

The moment is now—tender, uncertain, full of sweetness and—a growing hope.



  1. I enjoyed the story about healing the bird. My grandchildren remind me to be aware of healing energy and helpful when its the right time. Thanks for sharing this part of your life.

  2. Nice story Helen and it’s great to be reminded about the balance of life and what a treasure it is.
    What does the hummingbird mean to the Shamans in Ecuador? Perhaps there is something in their folklore to help you understand why you were gifted with the healing.

    • What a great idea to ask. I’ll let you know what I find out.

  3. oh, dear soulful woman….what a special story. thank you so much for shaing it with me. the last paragraph is profoundly beautiful. And how true it is that “no one else is around to help–it is my heart and hands that are called for.” Brings tears to my eyes. One of the hardest lessons to learn on this planet.

    i feel so blessed to have been a hummingbird in your hands, in so many ways….

    much love to you, dear sweet hummingbird….

    • thank you, Elizabeth! may your hummingbird heart be well and happy!

  4. Lovely story, Helen. I relate to many aspects of it–the voice of your son, the stunned bird inside, the healing hands. Thank you!

    • thank you, Jean! yes, all parts of me as well

  5. Helen, this is beautiful and I esp. like the bridge from the bird to the human heart!

    • Thank you, Irena – the feeling of the experience made that bridge

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: