'Hummingbird Nanny' Finds New Life in Caring for Feathered Friends

Aug 17, 2023

Life went sideways for Catia Lattouf in 2009. Her husband passed away and she was diagnosed with colon cancer that same year. It sent her into a period of both sadness and loneliness.

Two years later, Lattouf still lived in Mexico City and she had survived cancer. But she found herself struggling with moments of loneliness. Then, one day, she spotted a hummingbird with an injured eye. It regularly hung around in her Polanco neighborhood. She talked to a veterinarian friend about what she could do to help it. Her friend encouraged her to take in the bird and try to nurse it.  

The tiny hummingbird soon became her closest companion. It would even sit atop her computer as she worked. Lattouf enjoyed writing. The hummingbird was by her side each day as she wrote. She credits the bird with helping her to recover from illness. “It wrote me a new life,” she said of the nine months that the bird stayed with her. 

Soon, friends and neighbors began bringing Lattouf more hummingbirds. Many had illnesses or injuries. She studied how to care for the small birds. They usually weigh just a fifth of an ounce.

“Most come to me as babies,” she told The Associated Press (AP). “Many come to me broken.”

Last May, someone videoed her work with the birds and posted it on TikTok. The video went viral. The 73-year-old is now known as the “hummingbird nanny,” looking after and nursing countless birds back to health. She has about 60 at any given time.

“Nothing is guaranteed,” she told the AP. “I believe God gives life and God takes it, but we do everything possible.”

Photo from Unsplash courtesy of Dulcey Lima.

Reflect: Do you think helping and taking care of animals can make a person's life more meaningful? Explain.

Based on the details in the story, which word best describes Catia Lattouf? (Common Core RI.5.6; RI.6.6)
a. competitive
b. boring
c. critical
d. compassionate
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