MCARTHUR — Hocking Hills visitors have the one-of-a-kind opportunity for a close encounter with the illusive ruby-throated humming bird, thanks to an extraordinary program returning to Lake Hope State Park in southeast Ohio’s Hocking Hills this summer.
Through Sept. 2, park guests will have the opportunity to hand feed the state’s tiniest bird. The special program takes place from 1 to 3 p.m., Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at Lake Hope State Park.
The experience takes months of planning on the part of the Park Naturalist Kaylin Callander. In early spring, she places more than a dozen feeders around Lake Hope to attract the birds as they return to the area from their winter migration. The birds have a strong food memory that directs them to the site, she explained. Months later, when the fast-flying birds continually return to the feeders to drink, Callander helps guests enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to feed the dazzling birds by hand. Visitors are taught how to wind a bright red pipe cleaner around a tube filled with nectar, then sit in near perfect stillness as they wait for the magical moment when the little hummers alight and drink from their hand.
“Typically, if guests sit or stand really still, the hummingbirds will buzz all around the area and will come and feed right out of their hand,” Callander said.
Callander added that visitors are amazed by the bird’s tiny stature and the buzzing sound made by their fast-flapping wings, he said. There is no charge for this unique hummingbird experience, however donations are gratefully accepted.