Those of us who are lucky see a few every summer; the ruby-throat, the rufous, the Allen’s or the Anna’s. More often than not, you only hear them as they go buzzing by with a drone reminiscent of an industrial-sized bee. Some people create gardens just to attract them, planting trumpet vines, morning glory, phlox or hibiscus; others put out feeders. Some folks do both! And all keep a sharp eye out for that flash of bright color or streak of brown; an ear tuned for the distinctive hum that gave the species its name.
At Lake Hope State Park, they go a step further with a hand-feeding the hummingbirds program from the beginning of July to the end of August.
This thrilling and unique event was created between seven and nine years ago by Dave, one of the naturalists on staff. He observed them moving through the area and decided to implement tube-feeding nectar to the birds as a way of giving visitors a better view of these swift, brightly-colored jewels of the wild. Today, it’s one of the most popular events at the park; as many as 150 people might arrive in a single day, said one representative. Each visitor is given a tube of nectar and instructions, and prepares to be enchanted by close-up glimpses of the tiny, fiercely hungry avians.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t last forever; two months each year as the birds move through the area on their migration south to warmer climates.