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Ecotherapy – Hospital Hummers 12December

Ecotherapy – Hospital Hummers

We have an exciting project here at Wickenburg Community Hospital that Patients, Families, Visitors and Employees are talking about!

Do you ever have the opportunity to spend time in or at least walk through our beautiful courtyard? Have you noticed a Hummingbird feeder or two? Would you believe there are actually 7 in the courtyard alone? “What is so special about that?” you may be asking yourself. Well there is a feeder on each of the acute care windows that faces the courtyard. We started putting these up a few months ago and the response from patients, family, the acute staff, housekeeping, and other employees has been incredible!

There is a great deal of evidence (Good Therapy, Psychology Today, WebMD) that having nature in the form of plants, animals (Hummingbirds), and beautiful landscapes, available to us can be very therapeutic. Studies show that anxiety and depression levels may ease in addition to pain sometimes becomes more easily tolerated! How many of us have noticed an increase in relaxation and maybe even joy that we feel while watching a beautiful sunset or cascading mountain waterfall? I bet each of us could add another one of those experiences to the list including watching the magnificence of a Hummingbird in flight!

Our project is going so well that we added 8 more feeders on the acute care windows on the north side of the hospital, and we have put together a laminated Hummingbird information card complete with photos of our more common species and some fun facts about Hummingbirds. One of these cards resides in each of the acute care rooms and we have displayed the information below. We hope you will take a few minutes in our courtyard and watch for our Hummingbirds. If you have a story to share about an experience you or a loved one have had with our Hospital Hummers, please share your story on one of our hummingbird comment cards or via email. We are gathering stories and testimonials to help document the success of our Hummingbird Project.

Below is the information provided in each patient room, printable copy.

Hummingbirds
A Hummingbird’s Grace is Medicine to the Spirit

We hope you enjoy the Hummingbird feeder we have placed outside your window. Watching these elegant tiny birds can be a nice way to pass the time. We have a feeder outside of each acute care room window. Share what you see with your nurses and help us keep track of our resident hummingbirds!

Hummingbird Fun Facts
• The only birds that can fly sideways, backwards and upside down.
• Their wings can flap from 50 -200 times per second.
• More than 300 species worldwide.
• They can consume their weight in nectar every day and still eat some insects.
• Their heart can beat 1200 times/minute.
• On average they live 3-5 years, but can live up to 12.
• They will go into a hibernation-like state called torpor at night to save energy.
• A Hummingbirds eggs are generally laid in pairs and are about the size of a jellybean.
• Some will migrate close to 2,000 miles each year.
• Hummingbirds cannot walk or hop, only slide sideways.

About Our Hummingbirds
We have seven species of Hummingbirds that we might see here at WCH. Three of them are the mostly likely to be seen, and only one that is here year around. The color we see on the hummingbirds’ throat is caused by iridescence from tiny air bubbles found in the feathers, not by pigments. This is why sometimes the color is very bright and other times it looks almost black, depending on the angle we are observing from. As in most species of birds, the male hummingbird is more colorful.

 

Anna’s Hummingbird is by far the most common and can be seen year around. They have been seen nesting here on the hospital campus. They are the largest of our more common hummingbirds standing at about 4 inches high. The male has a red crown and throat patch whereas the female only has a small red patch on the throat. The juvenile which might be seen from February – September has a very pale throat with no color to speak of.

 

 

 

Black-chinned Hummingbird can be seen from about March-July here in Wickenburg. It is a little smaller than the Anna’s at about 3.75 inches. Males have a dark head with a black and purple throat. The wings of an adult male produce a soft low whistle in flight.

 

 

 

 

Costa’s Hummingbird might be seen from about March-May. The smallest of the three types, measuring about 3.5 inches. The male has a purplish crown and long flared throat feathers.

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