City bird moves to the country

Published 7:30 pm Monday, June 28, 2010

For Karen Zollars, a family visit in Suffolk turned into adding a new member of her extended family at her home in Carrsville.

While Zollars was visiting at her mother’s Nansemond Parkway home earlier this month, a hummingbird took a liking to her and decided it wanted to move with her into the country.

“I was getting ready to go back to my truck, and a bird landed on my head,” Zollars said. “I thought it was a huge bug.”

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She plucked the green and white bird off her head, placed it on a nearby tree branch and started back toward her truck. However, by the time she reached the vehicle, the hummingbird had landed on her shoulder.

“I thought, ‘Well, if you want to be with me, you’re going to have to go for a ride,’” Zollars said.

It wasn’t her first experience with a hummingbird. She keeps four hummingbird feeders spread out on her property in Carrsville, and cultivates bird-friendly flowers around the yard. A variety of hummingbirds visit her feeders often, she said.

Still, she wasn’t prepared for what she experienced that day earlier this month. The tiny hummingbird, which she named Jake, traveled with her from her mother’s home in Suffolk to a friend’s home in Windsor.

“He rode with me to where I had to go,” Zollars said. “I left him in the truck with the windows down.”

The hummingbird perched on a bucket outside the door for the duration of Zollars’ visit with her friend. He then rode with her to a doctor’s appointment in Wakefield, and rested on the outside of the truck while Zollars was inside.

“I told my doctor about it,” Zollars said. “She said she had to see it for herself.”

After a short visit to the pharmacy, the hummingbird rode back to Zollars’ home in Carrsville, where he explored the inside of the house briefly. He even used his tongue to lick her face, she said.

Jake has remained in the area, apparently preferring the country home with plenty of space to fly.

“You can still hear him peeping in the trees,” she said. “I can still tell him from the others.”

Although the hummingbird had no way of knowing Zollars was an animal lover — she also keeps chickens, cats and fish at her home in the country — Zollars thinks the hummingbird gravitated toward her for a reason.

“I have no explanation whatsoever,” she said. “I’m thinking maybe he was just a tad too young to get out of the nest. Maybe he was looking for a new mom. I really don’t know, but it was a cool experience.”