Saskatoon wildlife rehab releases rare hummingbird


A rare hummingbird stranded far from home in Saskatoon has been set free.

Costa’s hummingbirds are native to desert regions in the U.S. and Mexico. But last October, a Saskatoon resident found one in their backyard.

“The terror of over-wintering a rare Costa’s hummingbird receded as we proved we could do it,” Living Sky Wildlife Rehabilitation said in a social media post announcing the bird’s release.

The wildlife rehab cared for the young male bird following its discovery.

“We jumped through the hoops to get his food ingredients, and we developed a routine with him, ensuring he had fruit flies, (and) nectar.”

Earlier this year, a researcher determined the bird likely hatched near Yosemite National Park. Following the revelation, the wildlife rehab named the bird “Yosemite Sam.”

While Living Sky had hoped to release Sam closer to home, the Canada-U.S. border proved an insurmountable obstacle.

“We finally heard from the U.S. government that they denied the (import) permit despite our having met all the other requirements,” Living Sky said in its post.

“This left us no option but to release him locally. He was the happiest bird ever to be out.”

The post said Sam “sat for a bit enjoying the greenery” before taking off for “parts unknown.”

During his stay in Saskatoon, Sam attracted the attention of nature publications and researchers, including a California-based academic interested in the hummingbird’s song.

“His beauty, courage and uniqueness captured the hearts of folks across the country,” the Living Sky post said.

According to Living Sky, a children’s book author is interested in telling Sam’s story.

“We know he has the wherewithal and the courage to make it back home. We wish him luck on his journey.” 

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