Hummingbird Healer
Critter File
Posted: November 01, 2023
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    Catia Lattouf cares for hummingbirds in her apartment in Mexico City, Mexico. (AP/Fernando Llano)
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    Catia Lattouf lifts a baby hummingbird that fell from its nest. (AP/Fernando Llano)
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    Helper Cecilia Santos uses an eyedropper to feed a hummingbird in Catia Lattouf’s home. Ms. Lattouf calls Ms. Santos the “hummingbird nanny.” (AP/Fernando Llano)
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    Catia Lattouf, left, speaks with Marcelo Brito about a baby hummingbird he found in his garden. (AP/Fernando Llano)
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    A hummingbird hovers inside Catia Lattouf’s home. Most of the hummingbirds she cares for are housed in the bedroom where she sleeps. (AP/Fernando Llano)
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    A hummingbird drinks nectar from a feeder hanging from framed art. (AP/Fernando Llano)
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“Hello, cute little guy. Are you very hungry?”

Catia Lattouf holds her newest patient in her hands in Mexico City, Mexico. It’s a baby hummingbird.

The little bird relaxes bit by bit. A young man watches nearby. He rescued the bird after it fell from a nest onto his patio. Mrs. Lattouf moves an eyedropper to its beak.

This is often how Mrs. Lattouf’s days go. Her apartment has become a clinic for hummingbirds. About 60 buzz overhead.

Bird lovers across Mexico and other parts of Latin America look to Mrs. Lattouf as a bird expert. Mrs. Lattouf began her work more than a decade ago. It started with one hummingbird, which she named Gucci (GOO-chee).

Another bird had hurt Gucci’s eye. A veterinarian friend encouraged Mrs. Lattouf to try to help. She kept the little bird in a Gucci brand glasses case.

Mrs. Lattouf and Gucci became pals. The bird perched on her computer screen while she worked. It lived with her for nine months. Before Gucci, Mrs. Lattouf felt sad and lonely. Her husband had died. She had battled cancer. She says caring for the bird helped her heal.

Later, friends brought her more hummingbirds. She studied how to better care for the birds.

“Most come to me as babies. Many come to me broken,” she says. Some flew into things or fell from nests. Some have infections from drinking dirty water from feeders.

She never turns away a bird.

“Nothing is guaranteed,” she says. “I believe God gives life and God takes it. But we do everything possible.”

Like Mrs. Lattouf with her birds, God never gives up on you.

Whoever comes to me I will never cast out. — John 6:37

Why? Caring for needy animals can help them—and comfort us.