“He became a part of the family.”

By Meghan Overdeep
May 02, 2019

Michael Cardenaz is the last guy you’d expect to have a multi-year relationship with one of the smallest birds in the world.  But this tattooed former SWAT officer from Grovetown, Georgia, has a softer side—a side that’s earned him the nickname “Dr. Dolittle.”

Cardenaz, who is currently nursing a chipmunk back to health, gets a yearly visit from a hummingbird he rescued. The hummingbird (his name is Buzz) migrates South every year, but around Masters time, always seems to find his way back to the friend who saved his life.

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The flowers on Cardenaz’s front porch attract hummingbirds, and as he recently explained to WRDWfour years ago he found one that needed help.

“Several of his feathers in his wings were broken off and he couldn't take flight,” Cardenaz recalled. He named him Buzz and nursed him back to health with Pedialyte, sugar, and a safe place to heal.

“I had to wait until he molted and regrew new wings. That was eight weeks. And he became a part of the family,” said Cardenaz.

Image courtesy of Michael Cardenaz.

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Buzz eventually got his strength back.

“He would fly around the yard and come back when he got exhausted because that was his comfort zone until he finally took off for the winter. And he's been coming back for the last four years,” Cardenaz told WRDW. This year, Buzz made his annual appearance just a few weeks ago.

For skeptics who wonder how he knows it’s the same hummingbird, Cardenaz has a simple answer.

“Random hummingbirds don't land in your hand,” he concluded.

This story originally appeared on SouthernLiving.com.

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