Lifestyle & Human Interest

SWAT Officer Says Hummingbird Returns Every Year to Visit Him After He Saved its Life


Comedian and actor Eddie Murphy may have popularized the character of Dr. Doolittle, but he didn’t invent him. The idea of the specific physician who cares for animals rather than people originated in 1920.

The brainchild of author Hugh Lofting, Doctor Doolittle was a quirky chap indeed, preferring the company of a parrot, a pig, a dog, and a duck to that of people. Why? Well, it turned out that he could speak the animals’ languages.

A former SWAT officer in Grovetown, Georgia, may not know the tongues of animals, but the story he has to tell about the rescue of one tiny bird is every bit as unusual and charming as Lofting’s creation.

“That’s what people call me, Dr. Doolittle,” Mike Cardenaz told WRDW/WAGT. The nickname seems only stranger once you know more about him.

With a shaved head, tattoos and a penchant for muscle cars, Cardenaz hardly seems the cuddly type. His stint on a SWAT team as an officer only reinforces his image as a Really Tough Guy.

Taylor Swift Faces Fury from Fans, Sparks Backlash Over 'All the Racists' Lyrics - 'So Many Things Wrong About This'

But he seems to have a soft spot for animals, which was illustrated when an injured hummingbird reportedly showed up on his doorstep.

He said he had grown used to seeing the flitting little birds, and the flowers on his front porch drew them year after year. But he told WRDW that in 2015 he discovered one of the hummingbirds couldn’t fly.

“Several of his feathers in his wings were broken off and he couldn’t take flight,” Cardenaz said. “I had to wait until he molted, and regrew new wings.

“That was eight weeks. And he became a part of the family.”

A two-month commitment to a hummingbird only becomes more impressive the more you know about them. The Spruce reported that these tiny creatures have some amazing physical and behavioral characteristics.

For instance, their hearts pound away at over 1,200 beats per minute, and every 60 seconds they draw roughly 250 breaths. Such rapid movement means they eat — a lot.

Hummingbirds typically need to eat about half their weight in sugar every 24 hours. That translates into feeding up to eight times every hour.

'Ultimate Betrayal' as Meghan's Own Family Turns on Her in Savage YouTube Video

Cardenaz said he ended up using a mixture of Pedialyte and sugar to nurse his hummingbird back to health, and he named his small, feathered friend “Buzz.”

“He would fly around the yard and then come back again when he got exhausted, because that was his comfort zone, until he finally took off and it became wintertime and then he left for the winter,” Cardenaz said. “And he came back every year so far for the last four years.”

“This is one of three I’ve rescued,” he wrote in the comment section of a photo he posted on Facebook. “2 used to show up for two years. Buzz and Hummer. However, Hummer didn’t show back up last year. Maybe he’ll show this year, but I’m afraid he may have lost his way or perished.

“The third one never showed back up, or if he did, doesn’t come to me. Buzz has been like clock work for 4 years now.”

For most of us, one hummingbird looks pretty much like another. But the ex-SWAT officer says he always knows which one is Buzz.

How? It’s simple. “Random hummingbirds don’t land in your hand,” he said.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

, ,
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
Wheaton College
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Entertainment, Faith, Travel