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I've been lucky to have interacted with many amazing creatures in my life. Thanks to my wife I learned to appreciate all living things by dropping any limiting assumptions about them just because of what they are. The term "dumb animal" couldn't be further from the truth. If you're in the mood, join me below the fancy orange cloud and I'll tell you about an experience that started on a cold December night...

My wife and I can generally relax and enjoy the days just before Christmas without the pressure of last minute shopping, etc. This was the case around 1992; there was a good nip to the air and we might have some snow soon. We decided to go out on the 23rd for the ambiance; the chill of the air, neighborhood lighting, Christmas music and maybe even find one last special gift.
 We left the house about 7:30 and heard a strange little noise as the front door shut and we headed to the car. We turned around and discovered that a hummingbird had apparently been sleeping on our porch light to keep warm. We startled him when we left; he woke up and fluttered to the ground.
 Knowing he wouldn't survive awake and cold, we took the little bird inside and made him a shoebox nest with a heating pad inside a dresser drawer and he promptly went back to sleep. He was a beautiful little bird with a multicolorced head that kinda made it look like he had a patch over one eye. There was nothing more we could do for him at the moment so we continued our original plans and went out for the evening.
 When we returned he was still asleep. He was still okay the next morning as well; we asked my father in law to come by and release him a little later as the bird was still sleeping when we both had to leave for work. My wife called me later in the morning to relay that the hummingbird had in fact "flown the coup" and all was well.
 I got home that night and was looking forward to the holiday. As I reached for the front door handle, I heard the familiar sound of hummingbird wings behind me. We had two feeders within 15 feet of the door so this wasn't unusual. I glanced back and right in front of me, two hummingbirds appeared together, hovering at eye level not two feet in front of my face and looking right at me. The one on the left looked just like our latest house guest.
 They hovered there for a few seconds and then slowly lifted off and away. I was fairly stunned as I was pretty sure I'd just been told thank you by the little bird and his mate. Suffice it to say I will never forget that encounter.

Originally posted to Eagle Keeper on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 11:50 AM PST.

Also republished by Backyard Science.

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