I just sent this comment to Nutmeg, and will update later with a link to her page (no SU for Safari – humph!) For now, enjoy the anecdote:

My sister’s a part-time ornithologist, and has done a fair amount of ringing – or banding, as it’s called here. i went to visit her a few years ago in the field, and had several birds thrust upon me to hold, one of which was a chickadee. I suppose every specialty has its in-jokes – I wondered why she had such a smug look on her face as she handed it off. Turns out chickadees are feisty little fuckers, and the thing started hammering my fingers and taking aim at my hangnail. My sister’s quote: “It’s like trying to hold a sewing machine.” Point taken! I was also tasked with reviving what my sis described as the fattest hummingbird she’s ever seen – so fat that it was snared in the mist net it should’ve been able to fly straight through. Hummers’ hearts apparently beat so quickly that their response to panic is to fall into a dead faint. I had to warm it up to get it wakened up, then “poke it in the butt” (a direct order from the professional) to get it to take flight. Quite the experience!

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