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Moving at the Speed of 1,000 Beats a Minute: Visit the Hummer House

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What does it sound like to be surrounded by hummingbirds?

The Hummer House in Christoval, Texas, provides an oasis for travelers, as well as the opportunity to get up close and personal with hundreds of hummingbirds during spring and summer.

Moving at the Speed of 1,000 Beats a Minute: Visit the Hummer House

Photo: John Spaulding. Rancher/owner Dan Brown welcomes visitors to his hummingbird observation room.

It’s been nearly 60 years since 87-year-old Dan Brown placed the first hummingbird feeder on his property, tucked along the banks of the south Concho River, about 20 miles south of San Angelo. Since then, the Brown Ranch has become recognized as a flyway for 500 species of birds, including many generations of hummers. This refuge is not just for the birds; Dan and Cathy Brown have attracted many visitors at their bed-and-breakfast getaway to share this celebration of nature.

Moving at the Speed of 1,000 Beats a Minute: Visit the Hummer House

Photo: John Spaulding.  “The Hideaway” is one of the three lodging choices.

There are three guest houses to choose from – large, medium, and small – all stocked with provisions and plenty of hummingbird feeders to attract mainly black-chinned and ruby-throated beauties. Hint: Try standing in between the feeders with your eyes closed, and listen to the “whirrrrrrr” they create when flying right up to you in search of nectar. Don’t worry, they won’t run into you.  In answer to the question at the beginning of this article, they sound like a vacuum cleaning a shag carpet – on a small scale, of course.

Moving at the Speed of 1,000 Beats a Minute: Visit the Hummer House
Photo: John Spaulding. This father and daughter learned, during a rare bird banding session, that hummingbirds rest quietly immediately after the banding process.

With the help of master bird banders, Dan has banded over 50,000 birds of all types, and delights in sharing his hummingbird knowledge with visitors. The glass-enclosed observation room offers an unhindered view of the spectacular show. Saturday morning observation visitors can’t stop watching the hummers and other birds jockeying for that special perch by flowers, feeders, or fountain. Dan never tires of answering their questions, even if some are repeated many times.

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