Feeding hummingbirds for 50 years


TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – Each day, outdoorsman Jack Ennis heads out the backdoor with his hands full and a hum rippling through the back country air.

For more than 60 years, Jack and Shirley have been flying by each others side, “we met in high school, and I went away to service and had college, and I knew I couldn’t live without her, so I asked her to marry me, we’ve been married since 1952,” said Jack Ennis.

But they’ve also spent the last half of a century married to these lovebirds.

“We’ve been tending to these since 1960, just been feeding them ever since, and it seems like every year there becomes more and more,” shared Ennis.

So this is how the buzz began, “we fill these three [feeders] up every day, and we will hang it outside,” said Ennis.

But you know if you put a little sugar in anything the outcome is usually sweet.

“I always carry this upside down because I don’t want the sugar water on the floor because momma doesn’t like it on the floor. It’s hard to believe that these little guys can drink so much, but we go through 4 lbs of sugar a week,” said Ennis.

But eventually the leaves turn red and yellow and the Ennis’ feather friends fly south. And they know it’s time for the cold to settle in.

“Usually they leave around the 15 of September, but this year they took off early and disappeared, so I said to my wife you know, I think it’s going to be a bad winter, and we had a bad winter,” explained Ennis.

But this year, after countless routines of filling the feeder, the Ennis won’t be there to welcome the hummers from vacation.

“It’s going to be tough, but it’s time,” said Shirley Ennis.

That’s a feeling sugar can’t even sweeten this time around. Now after a bond between sugar water, for over 50 years, with a birds eye view from the bay window the Ennis say goodbye to their family friends, who are about to be a selling point for the next family that calls this countryside home.

“I love the hummers, it’s one of my prerequisites for the buyers, whoever purchases the home, is going to have to take care of the hummers,” said Jack Ennis.

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