Elissa Fazio and other Hummingbird Monitoring Network volunteers are uncovering the secrets of hummingbirds.

A chance encounter with a friend of a friend has made a huge impact in Elissa Fazio's life.

In 2006, Fazio was asked to help some people who were studying and banding hummingbirds in the Chiricahua Mountains southeast of Tucson. She's been hooked ever since.

Fazio is a volunteer with the Hummingbird Monitoring Network, which is learning about various aspects of the little bird's habits, habitats and biology, including the details of its longevity, migration, species abundance, and breeding patterns.

Fazio says being involved in the organization is a great way to make new friends, get in touch with nature and learn much more about the different species of this New World bird, which is as far north as Alaska and as far south as Chile.

"For me, it's finding answers that I'm most interested in," Fazio says. And she adds that she'll continue to volunteer so she can learn still more about this quick and colorful little bird, a living laboratory with wings.