Local birdwatchers who kept tabs on the bird decided to rescue it before a cold front moved into the area Monday evening.
Scott Diehl, manager of the rehab center, said the bird is doing well. It's housed in a screened-off area with feeders and perches and is being fed sugar water and a "nutritionally complete nectar" that zoos feed captive hummingbirds.
The mango most likely will be taken to the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago. The zoo has an accredited aviary that Diehl called a "rich environment" for birds.
The capture has sparked a debate on Humnet, an email listserv, about the legalities and ethics of capturing hummingbirds. I asked Diehl for his thoughts on the matter. He said the capture was legal because the Green-breasted Mango is not protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service official who handles wildlife permit requests told him that no permit was needed to take the bird into captivity.
Diehl calls the situation "an animal welfare issue." Had the mango been left alone in the wild, "there's no reasonable expectation that it would get back to where it came from," and it would have died. The hummingbird is native to Mexico and Central America. Stepping in to save it from the cold, he says, was the humane thing to do.
We'll likely learn more about the mango in the next few days, so stay tuned. — M.M.