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Strange Hummer behavior - ¿sick?

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This male Rivoli's was behaving very strangely this morning. He kept perching in the position shown in the first two photos, then occasionally spent a few seconds vigorously grooming/scratching (both with beak and foot) his right flank area, up to the neck. Then he'd go back to holding out the right side of his tail and his right wing either extended or held down in front of his body. He was also looking scruffy and appeared to be having trouble breathing - his whole body was heaving with each breath; normally I can't see the movement when they breathe. (I wondered if he had lost his sense of taste and smell...) He did visit the feeder often and didn't appear to have any trouble drinking. Eventually he settled down but still appeared to be breathing heavily and looking ungroomed (despite all the grooming he had done).  There are some odd looking white feathers near his shoulder (they show on all of the photos and I saw them clearly in person too). The area he was grooming/scratching also looked messy, but maybe just from all the scratching?

So, do you think he's sick? Did he have a flea or some other critter bothering him? Something stuck in his feathers? Pin feathers making him itchy? He seems to be back to normal now so I hope whatever it was he was able to fix it!





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3 minutes ago, The Bird Nuts said:

Perhaps he just got into a fight with another hummer?

Oh, I didn't think of that! That could be it. They do fight a lot! That could explain everything I observed, including the heavy breathing. Maybe he was bleeding and cleaning it up?

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He's back at it today, but now he's "airing out" his left side. But it's not as persistent - he's just holding this pose for a minute or so, then resuming normal pose. He looks better groomed and breathing appears normal. Still shows some white feathers sticking out on the right shoulder. Hopefully whatever it is, it's getting better!


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Another update: bird seems to be behaving normally now. I'm pretty sure it's the same one, because he's a sub-adult and seems to have the same pattern of partial adult plumage. I've caught a glimpse of white feathers on the right shoulder but they don't seem as prominent anymore. But he has been hanging out in the morning as usual, grooming/scratching and drinking, but no birdie yoga anymore!


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