Hummingbirds Accidentally Invading Hammond’s Classrooms 


Aiden McKewan

Stanbery with crow

Constructed in 2018, the Innovation Center (IC) is one of Hammond’s newest and most extravagant buildings. Glass windows surround the 30,000 square foot area, complete with a sci-dome, three glass cubicles, a makerspace containing a 3D printer and other tools, and two glass garage doors. 

In the warmer months (which, for Columbia, is April through December), faculty will open these grand doors. Students will sit outside in red rocking chairs or couches while warm air rushes in the building.  

However, the humid air can have expensive effects, as Hammond needs to spend money cooling the IC back down to its normal temperature. 

Male ruby throated hummingbird, a primary species of hummingbird in South Carolina. Courtesy of Brian Kulvete from The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. (Brian Kulvete )

And warmth isn’t the only thing sneaking in the IC. Bugs and birds attracted to the glass will fly into the building and become trapped. Already, more than five birds have flown into the IC and gotten trapped. Last May, Russel Stanbery, an Algebra teacher, picked up a crow and released it after it got trapped inside, crashing into windows and collapsing on the floor. However, the most common visitors are hummingbirds, who are notoriously attracted to red, Hammond’s school color. 

Hummingbirds drink nectar, which comes from flowers. Bright colors, especially red, look like flowers, so hummingbirds are drawn to it. Multiple hummingbirds have died after getting stuck in the IC; they crash into windows, suffer heart attacks from stress, and starve due to their high metabolism.  

Some are worried the birds could be a distraction, as it’s become a daily occurrence to see and hear hummingbirds while in class at the I.C.  

Students and teachers alike are teaming up to help the hummingbirds; Rachel Barney, a junior at Hammond, has picked up hummingbirds from the floor of the IC and released them, while Biology teacher Michael Rice has rescued and fed multiple. However, hummingbirds will often fly to the ceiling of the IC, which is out of reach. 

Will we cease to accidentally trap our wildlife this spring, or will our red-loving friends be destined to continue their tragic fate? One thing’s for sure— nothing will change without action.