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It Won’t Be Only Your Heart that Flutters ...

In a world filled with wildlife parks, zoos and petting farms, how often do you get to enjoy a close encounter with the illusive ruby-throated hummingbird?

Groups that visit southeast Ohio's Hocking Hills this summer are in for a one-of-a-kind opportunity to hand feed the state's tiniest bird—the ruby-throated hummingbird.

Thanks to the extensive planning of Park Naturalist, Kaylin Callander, guests are taught how to attract the little hummingbirds. First, they wind a bright red pipe cleaner around a tube filled with nectar. Then, they must sit in near perfect stillness as they wait for the magical moment when the ruby-throated hummingbirds approach for a drink.

"Typically, if guests sit or stand really still, the hummingbirds will buzz all around the area and will come and feed right out of our guest's hand," Callander said.

But how do they get so many of the beautiful hummingbirds to the park? Callander has a specific method. She attracts the hummingbirds by placing more than a dozen feeders around Lake Hope in early springtime. This draws the birds in as they return to the area from their winter migration. Having a strong food memory keeps the little hummingbirds coming back for more.

The special program won't be around forever, so be sure to take advantage while you can. Groups can visit from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at Lake Hope State Park, through Labor Day weekend and concluding September 2, 2018. Visit Explore Hocking Hills for more.

Written by Sarah Suydam, Staff Writer for Groups Today.

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