Hummingbirds are such elusive creatures. Just when one comes close enough for us to get a good look and hear the faint whirring of its wings, poof! It darts away, at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. If your house isn't surrounded by fresh flowers, the best way to watch hummingbirds is to hang a feeder of nectar from a porch or window. It might take them a few days to find it, but when they do, they'll return again and again, sometimes even bringing along their friends and family.
No amount of bird feeders, however, can support hummingbirds in subfreezing weather. While hummingbirds have been documented living as far north as Alaska, most retreat to warmer climates in the winter. Some migrate all the way to South America, while others stay in the southern United States. A small group has even taken up residence at the Outer Banks in North Carolina, one of the East Coast's favorite vacation destinations! Must be nice, right?
Every once in a while, though, a cold front comes through that hummingbirds (and humans) weren't exactly expecting. That's what happened in Sedona, Arizona, in February 2011. YouTuber “blueskeye” knew that hummingbirds wintered at his home, and had been feeding them for years, so when a hard frost caused their nectar to freeze, he knew something had to be done right away. After all, hummingbirds have the highest metabolism of any warm-blooded animal. His solution was a heating pad, but no one could have predicted the hummingbird’s reactions. How the two birds he came to call “Rocky” and “Adrian” survived the cold and made a human friend along the way is something that has to be seen.