ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A hummingbird has finally made its way south for the winter after accidentally ending up in Minnesota.
The rufous hummingbird was released Sunday in Texas after being flown there on a private jet supplied by an anonymous donor, according to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota.
"We are delighted that the rufous hummingbird is free in the wild and able to decide when and where he goes on life's journey," said Phil Jenni, executive director of the Roseville wildlife center.
The bird was brought to the center earlier this month after it ended up at the feeder of a St. Paul homeowner. The woman rescued the hummingbird after she realized it wasn't likely to survive the unseasonably cold weather at the time.
Experts believe the same system that brought the wintry weather blew the rust-colored bird off its migratory course, the Star Tribune (http://strib.mn/1FkKfFH ) reported.
Federal officials said the bird should have been allowed to find its own way to Mexico, where it typically migrates for the winter.
But the bird, which weighed less than a penny, was considered somewhat underweight for migration, Jenni said. And with temperatures dipping close to zero, the wildlife center decided to transport the bird to a wildlife rehabilitator in Texas.
There have only been 16 documented sightings of rufous hummingbirds in Minnesota since the 1970s, according to Jenni. The bird is most commonly found in the Pacific Northwest.
Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com