The University Record, November 1, 1999

‘Buzzy’ headed for warm, sunny south

By Joanne Nesbit
News and Information Services

Buzzy enjoying a feast in his playpen from the special feeders devised by art Prof. Sherri Smith. Photo by Bob Kalmbach
She named him Buzzy, short for Buzzard. She fashioned him a “playpen” in her home, hand-fed him until he gained some strength and maturity, took him to the office with her and prepared for the day he could be on his own.

The juvenile Ruby-throated hummingbird with a beak once too short to manipulate flowers or a feeder found a temporary home with art Prof. Sherri Smith, who doubles as a volunteer with the Bird Rescue of Huron Valley. A 10-year veteran with the rescue operation, Smith said she was called to rescue Michigan’s smallest bird from a feeder, where she found him too debilitated to fly. That same day she rescued Michigan’s largest bird, a trumpeter swan, from a traffic median in northeast Ann Arbor.

Now Buzzy’s beak is long enough for him to feed on his own, and he is strong enough to join others of his kind. But there are few of his kind left in Michigan in late fall. Buzzy needed to head south, but how to get him there and avoid cold weather?

Smith contacted Regent Andrea Fischer Newman, a vice president with Northwest Airlines. A deal was struck, and last Thursday Buzzy left Detroit Metro Airport in a cat carrier on a flight bound for Tampa, Florida.

Once in the Sunshine State, personnel from a bird sanctuary in that area met and evaluated Buzzy before releasing him to travel still farther south to join his brethren for the winter.