The tiny bird was just a little iridescent green spot on the floor of the Richburg Fire-Rescue engine bay.
The hummingbird couldn’t stand or fly, but it landed in the right place.
Firefighters found the bird “exhausted and dehydrated,” the department wrote on Facebook Aug. 29.
Chief John Agee, Fire Marshal David McCain and firefighter Jobeth Holmes sat beside it, offering it water from the plastic cap of a water bottle “until it was able to stand and fly away,” assistant fire chief T. Melton told The News & Observer. The little bird was smaller than a firefighter’s finger.
“You can teach almost anyone how to be a firefighter, a medic or just about anything imaginable. What is virtually impossible to teach is compassion,” the department wrote. “We are fortunate that we have a tremendous group in our department that has passion and desire to help, regardless of the situation.
“This isn’t the first time this has happened and knowing our members, it will not be the last!”
The firehouse is considering putting up a hummingbird feeder, Melton told The N&O.
“I think we are going to have to,” he said. “They are finding their way in, but can’t figure out how to exit. They never attended any of our fire prevention programs about having an exit plan.”
Richburg is located between Charlotte, North Carolina and Columbia, South Carolina.
Hummingbirds begin appearing up in the Carolinas usually in late March, but they peak in midsummer, according to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
“Hummingbirds consume 50 percent of their body weight daily in sugar, which makes it one of the most important food items in a hummer’s diet,” according to SCDNR.
People can mimic a hummingbird’s natural diet of nectar and tree sap by placing a sugar solution (not honey or artificial sweeteners) of one part sugar to four parts water in a hummingbird feeder, according to SCDNR.
While hummingbirds may peak in the summer, SCDNR encourages people to leave feeders up during the fall, to give a safe place for late migrants to feed and rest as they head to Mexico and Central America for the winter.