Personal
Experiences
with
Hummingbirds

Group One of Added Stories

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1.  Taking a Hummingbird for a Walk

Last week I was able to walk up to a hummingbird sitting on a bougainvillea bush and pet it on the chest. I was able to do this for about 10 seconds and it flitted off to one of the feeders we have on the terrace.

On another occasion, while the bird was feeding, I was able to go up to it and put my finger under it's feet. The bird continued to feed but let it's feet dance on my finger.

On yet another occasion I was able to unhook the feeder while the bird was still feeding and take the bird for a "walk" as the bird continued to feed. I was able to walk the bird for about 10 feet, almost into the house when another hummingbird came and the first one got territorial and flew off to chase the second bird. It has been a great deal of fun to watch the hummingbirds everyday.

Submitted by Shyan Roberts in Cabo San Lucas

 

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2. The Hummingbird That Came Inside

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I have a male Costa's that has set up his territory in my living room. I live in West Hollywood, CA on the hillside up in a second floor condo. I have a feeder on the balcony with lots of trees all around. I have hummers year round( yeah!!) I almost never close my balcony door as it is so lovely outside.

Monday morning I walked into the living room to hear a hummer chirping very loudly. There he was, on my hoya, right over the fountain defending himself against himself in the mirror (one entire wall of my living room is 8' sheets of mirror). He has been here all week, flies out to eat then comes right back and starts with the head bobbing and chirping all over again.

I have walked up to within 1' and taken pictures (including pictures of my cat (completely uninterested) sound asleep in the chair below). Every day he comes back.

- Lynn

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3. The Day I held a Hummingbird.

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     I live in Mississippi and the weather is very hot in the summer.  One day, before I had my air conditioners set up, I had my doors open to let in
the slight breeze.  One of the five hummingbirds that made home in my yard flew inside the door and tried to get out of the big bay window in my
kitchen, knocking itself out.  I gently picked the little hummer up and held it in my hand, caressing it, until it came to.  The hummer sat in my
palm for about two minutes after it awoke, then flew away.
     The experience was probably once in a lifetime and will be remembered for that long.

                                              - Shawn

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4. A Warm Drink

I came home one evening to find a cold and hungry hummingbird drinking the last of the nectar in the feeder.  I removed the feeder en proceeded to go inside to clean it, and mix some new nectar.  I felt eyes on me! The hummingbird was hovering at eye level, looking into the kitchen to see what was taking so long. I hung the feeder while still luke warm.  The hummingbird came along landed on the perch, took a drink. 

The following I never expected. He gave a leap of pure joy, made a singing noise and proceeded to fly around the feeder drinking at every little flower.   It was amazing.  He proceeded to do this for quite a while, flying away to return immediately and do it again.  He was obviously enjoying the warm nectar on a cold winters evening.

A couple of weeks back, the same hummingbird came to hover right in front of my face just to look at me while I was working in the garden. He was very close.  At first I thought that it was a huge bug or bee.  The sound their wings make are amazing.

- Heidi van Niekerk

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5. A Mother's Day Gift


Two years ago on Mothers Day I was standing out by the window feeder on bow window in the kitchen.  All of a sudden I kept getting bombed in the head by the little feet of a hummer.  Next thing I knew there were two or three.  They would take turns eating from the feeder.  So I took my index fingers and put them on top of the perches to the feeder.  I couldn't believe it when one actually landed on my finger and fed from the feeder.  What a wonderful gift for Mothers Day. 

I live in Ohio and have my feeders up early this year just in case with the good weather we have had that the hummers will come early this year.
                               -- Donna Stroth

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6. I Picked a Hummingbird's Nose

I found your site yesterday, as I was holding a hummingbird.   Here's my story (feel free to change the title). I was returning to work from lunch yesterday and found a group of my co-workers gathered around a table.  I went to see what they were "hovering" over and saw that it was a tiny hummingbird, on the table, wings extended (as if to hold himself up).
One of the guys was carefully trying to feed it sugar water through a coffee straw.   The bird wasn't taking any water, and I noticed the little fella was rocking back and forth, as if heaving, with each breath.  I carefully picked him up and brought him in to my desk.  Looking him over, he didn't seem injured, but still, was having difficulty breathing.  I then noticed that he had what appeared to be a foreign object in one nostril.  I asked if anyone had tweezers, and lo and behold someone did.  I carefully touched the foreign object and could move it.  So I gently held the bird in my hand, grabbed the object with the tweezers and plucked it out.   Whatever it was was white and hard.  Almost immediately the bird's breathing seemed better, and I got him to take a bit of sugar water.  I decided to hold him (or he me, because he wouldn't let go of my finger), let him rest a spell, and with my other hand I started a Web search on what to do with a sick hummingbird.  That's when I found your site.

Found nothing about hummingbird with my bird's particular symptoms, however, so I continued to let him rest.  By this time he had stopped the rocking, but was still breathing fast which, I now know, is normal.  After awhile I took him back outside, held him up with extended palm and he took off--but didn't get far.   So I took him back inside and let him rest about another half hour, and then went back out to try again.  This time he made it into a tree, although his flight brought Woodstock to mind. 

I went back out an hour later and he was still in the same spot.   Then I became concerned that if a strong gust of wind came along, it might knock him off the branch and he'd become another hapless victim of the food chain.  So, I had one of the guys bring a ladder out for me, I went up and carefully put my hand up, and Hurray!!!.....he flew up to a high branch in another tree, but this time his flight looked good and strong.  Sigh!!!!!   I've been giddy ever since.  And told my 12 and 14 year old daughters when I got home that I picked a hummingbird's nose!   And...after thinking, do you suppose that the small white hard object I pulled from his nose was a piece of his eggshell????

[It may have been pollen.  -- L.G.]

 

7.  A RESCUE

I went into the garage one day this past spring and heard the familiar sound of Hummingbird wings.  A Hummer had gotten into our garage.  he was way up in the rafters and couldn't find his way back outside.  I tried to figure out how I was going to show it the open door but it just would not fly down that low.  I had just planted Impatiens and petunias in pots to put around the house the week before so I went out and brought the one with the most flowers on it into the garage.  I got the ladder out and set the pot on the top of the ladder.  The hummer finally found it and boy did he look happy.  I tried moving it down to the floor at that point but he still would not follow it but instead stayed at the level of the top of the ladder.  So I got a rope and suspended the hanging pot from the highest rafter.  When the Hummer finally found the pot again I began to slowly lower it on the rope.  The Hummer got the idea and kept following it to a lower level.  It now would fly into the rafters and back down to the impatiens on the floor but still wouldn't fly out the door so I just kept moving it closer and closer to the opening until he saw it.  It was like watching a light bulb being turned on in that little head.  The hummer saw the opening and came over and buzzed my head as if to say thank you and out he went. Now the really cool thing is that Hummer has stayed around here all summer.  Every time I go out and water those pots he is there buzzing around while I water them and he buzzes my head and looks right into my face.  He follows me from pot to pot while I water.  I am sure it is the same Hummer and he is just letting me know how grateful he is for being rescued that hot spring day in my garage.
                            --Val McClellan

 

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8.  AFTER THE HURRICANE

After being "held captive" for 24 hours by Hurricane Bonnie, I was anxious to go outside and survey the damage to my garden as soon as the wind had subsided a bit. A red zinnia was lying on the ground, so I picked it up thinking I could take it inside and put it in a vase. It was an older flower and not really vase-worthy, but I noticed that the stem was cleanly cut....not torn or broken. As I examined the stem closer, a ruby-throated hummingbird flew up and stuck his bill right in the flower. After a few seconds, he flew up a little higher...looked me straight in the face for an equal length of time...and then flew away. It was one of the coolest things that's ever happened to me. Needless to say, I went inside immediately and brought the feeder back out.
-- Paula Beckham, Myrtle Beach, SC

 

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9. THE BAY WINDOW

I took off the screen to one of our bay windows one summer. I had put up 2 window feeders and 2 hanging on the crepe myrtle. I opened the window after a thunder shower, cause all the hummers were wet and looked so funny. I was sitting at the 'puter in my chair when one hummingbird flew right in the window. I closed the door real quick and turned off the ceiling fan. I got my kids butterfly net and caught it. Its tiny feet were stuck into the netting so I gently pulled it away from the net , it stayed in the palm of my hand for about 1 minute then I let it go, It was a mango type green hummer. When I told my kids that afternoon, they were so disappointed they didn't get to pet it. Its feather body was as smooth as silk, I will never forget that day I held a hummer.
                       --Jackie from Kemp Texas

 

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10.  FINDING A NEST

My husband Bruce and I were canoeing down a tiny river amid a swamp in Chesapeake,VA. It was a spring day, on this tiniest of rivers. The water was very dark almost black, and the swamp was green and shady. All was very peaceful and quiet.
We canoed along till we came to a dogwood branch that hung low before us. It almost touched the water. It was gently swaying in the delicate breeze. Suddenly we noticed a beautiful little hummingbird zipping about the branch above our heads. She seemed to be almost irritated, so we ducked under the branch and continued on our way. Looking up at her from the canoe with the light above her, made her difficult to see, as she blended so well with the tree branches, and was moving about at, well, hummingbird speed!  We went our way for a bit, and decided we needed to turn around and go back the way we came. When we got to the dogwood branch again...there was our little friend!
My husband said," She is acting territorial." I said, "Gee, I bet she has a nest nearby then." As soon as I said that, I did notice a nest on the low hanging dogwood branch! It was so tiny, I still cannot believe I even saw it. It seemed to be made of mud, and was covered in moss
and little bits of dry, grayish lichens. It was cup shaped, and nestled
perfectly in a fork in the branch. At first I thought it was just a burl in
the wood. We carefully paddled over to it, ever so gently bent the dogwood branch down, and peeked at the two tiniest glowing white eggs! They were incredibly beautiful, like two little pearls! It was better than Christmas!

I only took a very quick peek, but I still remember those two little eggs like it was only yesterday. I do not know how common it is to stumble across a hummingbird nest like we did, and be able to peek inside, but I personally felt like one of the luckiest people in the world that fine spring day.
                           --Lisa Ann Hurley

 

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11.  HUMMER IN THE MIST

I was watering my garden and having trouble shutting off the sprayer.
Some dirt must have got into the mechanism, because I was only able to shut it down to a fine mist. As I was struggling with the apparatus, a small hummingbird landed five feet away on the wire fence.  I immediately froze, garden hose still spouting a fine mist. The little fellow was in profile, but turned toward me several times. He then flew even closer, hovering above the plants only 3 feet away. I knew that it was too early for blooms on these particular plants, so I stood puzzled, while the hummingbird spun in place, as if examining the situation thoroughly. Then, with a flash of decision, he flew into the mist of my garden hose, and began rotating in the delicate spray. This is why I had such a good long look at all sides of him. Once satisfied, he returned to his place on the fence where he preened his damp feathers. In a few moments he went on his way. I guess hummingbirds don't bathe - they prefer to shower.

--Carolyn Nordin

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12IN MY HAIR

One summer morning I'd just gotten out of the shower and my hair was still wet when I noticed the dog's water dish out on the patio was
empty. I opened the sliding glass door, got the hose and was running fresh water into his dish when a humming bird came out of nowhere and began hovering around my head. I held perfectly still as it came up and drank the little beads of water still in my hair. It took about 6 tiny drinks and then buzzed off as rapidly as it had appeared. It was such an amazing experience I think my heart stopped!

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13.  I, TOO, HELD A HUMMINGBIRD

One day last summer (1997) I was sitting out on our deck reading and listening to the hummers buzz around one of the two feeders we have for them. It had been quiet for a while when I heard a loud bump against the window.
A humming bird (Rufous I think) had flown into the window and knocked himself out. I'm always fast at jumping up to see if any bird that has flown into the window is all right and this hummer was just fine. He'd just knocked himself out.
I held this little bird for almost twenty minutes in my hand (he apparently had a very bad knock) and finally he came to. He buzzed up and perched on my finger for almost two minutes examining me and then flew off, only to return a minute later and land on the banister by my head. Then he flew off again and didn't return.
This was such a great "Thrill of a lifetime" that I've talked about it
constantly. It was also a great opportunity to examine one of these little fellows "up close".  What a coup for myself.

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14. The Hummingbird Angel

On September 3, 1998, our family experienced the most devastating turn of our lives when our 10 year old disabled daughter died suddenly and unexpectedly.  The day after her death, as I looked out our patio door, I noticed a beautiful hummingbird visiting a flower on our small deck.  Having never seen a hummingbird visit our small backyard, much less a few feet away on our deck, I watched its movements.   We later discovered that the same hummingbird would remain on our deck or in close vicinity for the next two weeks.  Once it flew up and around my husband's face as if to communicate with him.  We put out feeders in the hope that the bird would stay, but at the end of two weeks, it left and we have not seen a hummingbird since that time in our backyard.

We believe that the hummingbird was Erin's way of saying goodbye to her family.   Whatever you might believe, you can be sure that that little hummingbird brought us comfort and hope during an unbearable time in our lives.  The hummingbird has become a symbol of Erin's memory, her spirit and her victory for our entire family.

  

15. An Unusual Predator

It was around 6 p.m. but still fairly light when ... out of the corner of my eye I saw something unusual was on the feeder which as hanging in the mesquite tree.   I walked closer and saw a little hummer on its back with wings slightly fluttering and a large green praying mantis eating from the hummers neck.  Actually, it appeared to me as though the mantis was sucking the blood from the hummer and within a few seconds the little hummer's movements stopped and its eyes glazed over.... I must confess that the sight made me very queasy and also I thought for a moment that there might be a way to save the hummer from the predator.  But it was clear that the wound to the hummer's neck was a mortal wound.  The praying mantis' abdomen was swollen with the blood of the hummer and it all had something of a vampirish quality....   I think the hummer is an immature rufous....

Ultimately, I felt helpless to do anything as I watched the little hummer finally give up the ghost, as it were.  It seemed to make only the slightest attempt to get away...the slight fluttering of its wings. So I think shock must have been a factor here.... The mantis was completely in control of the situation & escape for the hummer was out of the question.  It could be that the mantis was holding on to the hummer with its front legs or arms or whatever...but the mandibles were locked on to the hummer's throat and its juices were being sucked from it. 

Once it was clear that the hummer was dead, I decided to intervene; I removed the feeder from the mesquite tree as the foliage had provided camouflage for the mantis. The mantis climbed back into the mesquite. I took the body of the hummer, put it in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer intending to give it to an ornithologist later, which I did.

I told this account to a biologist friend who was very skeptical but he came to look at the carcass of the hummer, checked the wound on the neck and looked at the praying mantis which I had retrieved from the mesquite. As an experiment he put the mantis on another feeder and watched as the hummers came near the feeder. When the hummers saw the mantis, who was looking at them with great interest and who almost caught one who came too close, the hummers kept their distance and did not land on the feeder.

-- Junella Haynes in Arizona

 

16. Right Hanger, Wrong Aircraft

One day last year what appeared to be a large moth flew into my office in a US Air Force B-52 Bomber maintenance hanger.  After banging around for a
while, the "moth" became lodged in some metal screening above my desk.  My curiosity got the best of me so I climbed up on my desk to get a closer look.  It was then that I realized this was not a moth at all but a
beautiful and delicate hummingbird.  Totally exhausted, it wasn't moving and was hanging precariously from the screen. 

Being as gentle as I could, I removed the tiny bird from the screen and slowly sat down at my desk.  I
guess because it was so tired, maybe because it was thankful (or a little of both) it sat quietly in my hand.  Though I am not a birdwatcher, I knew I was the recipient of a rare and special treat.  A few moments to hold and closely see a hummingbird that was still and quiet.  It was indeed a special treat and I thoroughly enjoyed our few moments together.  I knew that if my little friend decided to fly away it would immediately be in trouble again.  So, I gently closed my hand and took my precious cargo outdoors.  Well, that tiny creature knew all too well what to do.  As soon as I opened my hand it was back in the air, wings beating furiously.  As if to say thank you though, it didn't fly away that second.  It took a few moments and flew a large circle around my head and then was gone.

Recalling that my Wife's Aunt was an avid hummingbird watcher, I relayed my experience to her right away.  She confirmed what I already knew, that I
had indeed been granted a special visit and a rare experience.  Although I have over 20 years of my life invested in the maintenance and upkeep of our
Nation's war birds, this adventure with the tiniest of birds is one I shall never forget.

                                -- Steve Brown

 

17.  Campground Hummers


    Back in 1988 my wife I were in our travel trailer at Three Forks Campground. On Route 2, along the southern edge of Glacier National Park. That
was a VERY special year for the some 400-450 people also in the park. (We were all present on the third weekend in July for the Glacier-Waterton International Hamfest. A meeting of amateur radio people from the USA, Canada, and quite a few foreign countries and a couple of dozen of the 'states also.)

    No doubt the specific location of the campground is right on the "flyway" for the North-South migration - or something like that. anyhow, in the tall pine trees along three sides of the large campground the hummers stopped for a few days. It was mostly a coincidence I do believe. The day before we arrived the hummers arrived, friends told us later. And about two or three days later they were all gone. Disappeared.

    But what we witnessed was something wonderful. EVERY camping unit had to take a quick drive of several miles to buy feeders, sugar, etc. for feeding the
hummers. Our trailer awning had a feeder on each end of it. I even strung a small nylon cord between the end of the awning so the could (hopefully) "take a break from flying" and sit on the nylon cord and rest. Which they did. And we spent HOURS just sitting watching their little eyes moving around as they even looked into the windows and saw their own reflections, I presume.

    And we stood about ten inches from the feeders, which hung about at "head height" for us. And we could watch them CLOSEUP. Which we also did for hours.
And you could see their little eyes moving about as they fed, and their little tongues going in and out as they lapped up the nectar from the feeders. Most fun was feeling the wind from their little wings as they flew between the feeder and our faces (we were about ten inches from the feeders). And we didn't seem to bother them. But we had to stand really still and no talking of course.

    My wife wanted to do her "thing" also. So she put on a red blouse with small white flowers and stood by the feeders too. After five minutes the hummers used her shoulders as a "rest stop" and she had pictures taken by
others with about seven or eight birds on her blouse.

    That was quite a summer weekend. I shall never forget it. The next year only about half the number were there when we were there. And the years since produced only about a dozen hummers during the third weekend in July.


    But while we were there in 1988 the hummers, almost by the clock, began visiting the feeders from six in the morning to almost ten in the evening. And
needless to say when the one feeder was "dry" it had to be taken down, washed, and refilled, then put back up. And some of them even tried to feed while I was
putting it back up under the awning.

                    -- Joseph Heyde in Montana

 

18. Two Cobweb Stories

While in my garage putting away gardening tools, I heard a loud buzzing. Thinking that a big ol' bumblebee
had caught itself in a cobweb I went to investigate. Lo and behold it was a hummer caught in the spiders
web! The poor thing was so caught that it even had a foot wrapped around its bill.

My eight year old son came up to see what I was doing getting up on a ladder at the window. I told him to
find his dad and grandparents who were there for a visit to come outside. As gently as possible I lifted the
little guy out of the web and went out of the garage so that if all was well the hummingbird might fly off.

With audience in toe, I proceeded to remove the cobwebs from a very quiet little one (he seemed to know that all would be ok soon). Only one web left and it was the one that trapped the foot to the bill.

Presto all done! A few seconds on my finger to catch his breath and off to freedom he flew!

My family (and myself) felt that this was a once in a lifetime experience! I have been fascinated with the little
hummers ever since. A co-worker, shortly after I shared the incidence with her, brought in a cartoon from
the comic section in the Sunday paper, "For Better or Worse," about the mom rescuing a hummingbird that
had flown into her home. She said (I believe but don't quote me—it's been a few years ago and I lost the
article), "The closest she may ever come to experience the hand of God"

It sure was a nice experience!

              -- Connie Schmidt, Greenfield, IN

Hello, I was in your web site last week and really enjoyed it. I read the story about the preying mantis.  Spider webs are dangerous too.  Last year we had a hummer in one but it was to late to save him.  The second one we found was more fortunate. I gently pulled the web from his beak and held him up to drink from a feeder. My husband worked off the web from his wings and body. The little bird finally got off my finger and stood on the feeder to drink. He then flew off. We now go on "web" patrol every morning and remove any web that was spun during the night.

                        -- Janey in Clanton, Alabama

19.  The Cat

One day I was working in our greenhouse and my husband called me outside.  He said the cat had caught a hummingbird.  The cat was standing in our yard with nothing but tail feathers hanging out its mouth.  I tried to catch her but she ran from me.   I was so mad at her I
decided she wasn't going to eat the poor thing even if it was dead. So, I gave chase around the house and under our deck she ran with me right behind her.  I grabbed her and made her drop the hummingbird. It was still alive.  I picked it up and held it for about five minutes.  When I opened my hands it flew off.  I can't imagine what it thought with it's head down the cat's throat.
              - Peggy B. in Chehalis, WA

20.  A Sad Story

We were so excited with anticipation each day as we waited and waited for the little ones to be born.  Each time we would open the front door she would fly away, then come back and sit on her eggs. We talked to her through the office window and she seemed to enjoy our soft voices.  I would even sing to her very softly. We named the unborn babies Clyde And Semore.  The first family of babies on the same nest were named Burt and Earnie.  Well one day I opened the front door like I did every day and expected to see her fly off as she always did, but she just stayed there.  My first thought was that she didn't hear or see me. I made more movements and knew something wasn't right.  I got up on the porch chair and touched her.  When I realized she had died I couldn't hold back the tears.  This precious little hummingbird died protecting her babies----still sitting on her eggs.  What a story of a mothers love for her babies!!!!  I was in awe thinking about this, and even now there is an ache in my heart just reliving this again. We really became so much a part of them, you know, like parents all over again. 
                            - Lasette White

21. UPSIDE DOWN

I work at a plant nursery & have been an avid birder for 10 years. Two weeks ago an Anna's hummer flew into our retail store. It couldn't seem to find its way out, it flew around for over 11/2 hours trying to get out. It would fly & land & fly & land. Some of us tried to help it get out but couldn't. I could see it was really getting exhausted.  We threw a towel on it & caught it.

I told the man that caught it to put it by the hummingbird feeder & he did. Its tiny feet latched on to the feeder & it hung upside down for 20 minutes. Then it woke up, drank from the feeder & flew away. We took a picture of it & I guess it was his lucky day.    -- Sheila

22. Foster Parents

A friend of ours works for a city utility and he and his crew were out, after a bad storm, cleaning downed limbs from power lines.   After they had returned to the garage, he kept hearing strange noises coming from the back of the truck.  Upon closer inspection, he found two very tiny, fuzzy hummingbird babies. They were both barely 1" tall and one had been injured. He took them home with him and tried to figure out what to do.  Being an avid camper he had seen several hummers at the campground we all frequent.  He fixed the babies a tiny nest and put it in a large hanging fish basket.  He and his wife filled a bulb syringe with warm feeder solution and offered it to the little guys.  Believe it or not, they drank and drank.  Unfortunately, the smaller of the two expired from it's injuries, however, the other thrived on the love and attention it received from it's foster parents.  When our friends went back home for the week,  the hummer went with them.  It became the talk of the campground.  The little hummer was with them all summer.  It could fly in the cage and not have to worry about predators.   When it was with them at home, if was allowed to fly around in the  house.   It would follow them everywhere.  As it grew they would leave the patio door open and it would come and go as it pleased.  That little bird made "friends" with other hummers as fall approached and one day came to say "good-bye" before it left for the winter.  The following spring our friends were planting flowers when a little hummingbird "buzzed" them both as if to say "Hey! It's me! Thank you for taking such good care of me!" That is one little camper none of us will soon forget.
                         --   Judy from Indiana 

 

 

 

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