Friday, August 22, 2014

Travels in the West

We just returned from a three-week business/pleasure road trip, and we had a great time. First stop was the annual Hummingbird Festival in Sedona, AZ, sponsored by the International Hummingbird Society. As in the past two years, this Festival is well-run with terrific hummingbird sightings and information. We put out a couple of our feeders at the Festival headquarters, and were delighted to see that the rufous hummingbirds took right to them. And of course we met some wonderful fellow hummingbird lovers.

From there we headed off to the Grand Canyon. Terrie's friend from high school and her husband, Ray and Vicki Gooseman Pena, kept showing up. First we had dinner with them in Sedona. Then we ran into them again at one of the overlook sites for the Grand Canyon. And then we met up with them again at a grill in Williams, AZ. Not sure if we were following them or they were following us!!

Rebecca Romney at Bauman Rare Books
Mark Patton-Hall at Clark County Museum
Dirk Vermin at Pussykat Tattoos
Agnes and the General at ATM
Then on to Las Vegas and we are proud to say that we were able to leave some Ozarklake feeders with some of the people we watch on television: Mark Patton-Hall at the Clark County Museum and Rebecca Romney at Bauman Rare Books, consulting experts on Pawn Stars, Dirk Vermin of Bad Ink, Count's Kustoms, Kelly Dale at Rick's Restorations, and the wonderful crew at ATM. We also took in some shows while we were there: Blue Man Group, Cirque's Zumanity, and Terry Fator. One day the voices in our heads told us to head west, so we drove through Death Valley in August where the temperature was over 120 degrees!

We then went to Yucca Valley, CA, to relax and unwind with Terrie's mom and her husband before heading to the Tucson Birding and Wildlife Festival. Unfortunately that show was very disappointing for us.

While we were gone our very kind neighbor kept our hummingbird feeders going, and we found about 40-50 Ruby-throated hummers buzzing around when we returned home. We're going to kick back at home for a while and enjoy these little guys before they had south for the winter.

Hummingbird fact for today: A Ruby-throat, like other birds preparing to migrate, stores fat as a fuel reserve, thereby augmenting its weight by as much as 100% and increasing potential flying time over open water.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Monday, July 7, 2014

Thursday, June 12, 2014

What is it about rain?

It seems that when it is rainy outside, the birds just go nuts! I don't understand. Does something happen to flowers in the rain? It's been a madhouse all day at ALL of our feeders. At this rate, we need to buy a sugar plantation and grow our own! This is the front porch alive with orioles and hummers.


This is the back deck and studio front, alive with hummers.


Had a good time at the Clara Brierly Festival of the Arts in Peculiar this past weekend. That group of volunteers is fabulous. A homecooked breakfast is above and beyond the call of duty! Thank you so much ladies!!!

Our next stop will be Artfest Midwest - the OTHER Art Show in Des Moines, IA.

Hummingbird fact for today: Some hummingbirds are so small, they have been known to be caught by dragonflies and praying mantis, trapped in spider's webs, snatched by frogs, and stuck on thistles.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Mama is on the Nest

Feeding activity has slowed down a bit here. That's because mama is on the nest. There are probably two pea-sized eggs that will hatch in about two and a half weeks. The baby birds are tiny, featherless, and stubby-beaked. Mom will feed them a diet of regurgitated tiny bugs and nectar for about three weeks. Until the babies have feathers, however, she will not leave them for long as they depend on her for warmth. When they finally go out on their own, they are about mom's size, so it's difficult to distinguish the juveniles from the female adults. So right now, activity at the feeders is slower than it was as mom was preparing the nest.

Is this where I sit?
Nice place to sit for a spell.
I'll share it with you.
That's not to say that the birds aren't eating, because they sure are at our house! At dusk our porch looks like the Indianapolis Speedway on race day! But through the day we are seeing just a few birds throughout the day as opposed to the droves of birds we were seeing all day. The feeders on the back deck and on the studio have about the same activity level. Terrie took these pictures today of one "bully" guarding the deck feeders from her Bully Pulpit, except she didn't seem too concerned when another bird slipped in for a drink.

Earlier this month we were in Indianapolis for Orchard in Bloom. Fantastic show but we had to make a visit to the Goodwill Store for heavier coats because it turned off so cold! Following that we were at the The Biggest Week in American Birding near Toledo. Another good show for us. It made no sense to drive home in between these shows, so Terrie was able to fulfill her lifelong dream of visiting the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton. Canton is also home to the Canton Classic Car Museum (worth visiting) and the MAPS (Military Aviation Preservation Society) Museum (definitely worth visiting). We had a good time and of course added to the magnet and shot glass collections. Our final stop in Canton was the Fannie May/Harry London Chocolate Factory! Luckily the weather remained cool and we got all the chocolate home without it melting :-)

In June we will be at the Clara Brierly Festival of the Arts in Peculiar, MO. This is a WAM festival - wine, arts, and music - and we had a really good time there last year. We will also be headed to Des Moines for Artfest Midwest - the "Other" Art Show. ArtFest is offered as an alternative, affordable art show and as a complement to the downtown Des Moines Art Festival. Plus it is indoors!!!

Hummingbird fact for today: Female hummingbirds will usually have two eggs laid on different days. Even though the eggs will be laid on different days, both the eggs will usually hatch on the same day.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Back in Full Force

We left for a couple of days to exhibit at the Spring Bloom Festival in Bloomington, IL. We came home to find LOTS of hummers and LOTS of orioles! It's really amazing how quickly they moved back into the area. So of course Terrie had to start hand-feeding them.

We also now have at least three male Baltimore orioles and their mates, as well as more orchard orioles and their mates. The male Baltimores are just exquisite.

So the neighbor has been recruited to take care of the feeders when we go to Orchard in Bloom in Indianapolis next weekend and the Biggest Week in American Birding the following weekend. Then we'll stay home for a while and just enjoy our birds.

Hummingbird fact for today: Migrating birds of all kinds have adapted to the weather and wait for favorable winds. The ruby-throated hummingbird takes advantage of tail winds constantly. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Project is Complete

Daytime picture
As mentioned previously, Terrie has wanted this project completed for a number of years. So she got hummingbird spitters and a pump and a copper tub, and then I built the innards and voila! We have a fountain. The hummingbird "spitters" are from Sprinklites. They came with all the tubing and fittings we needed. The birds have an LED light that comes on at night and changes colors. It's hard to see in the picture because the flash went off, but without the flash, all you can see is the birds and no fountain. The birds "spit" into the top leaf, and then the water falls from leaf to leaf until it goes back into the tub. We still need to get the rocks around it fixed up, but at least it is now in place and working. And the neighbors are all agog!

Nighttime picture

Hummingbird fact for today: Hummers like moving water. And they like to bathe, but the standard birdbath is too deep for them. There are pictures out there of hummers bathing in fountains so we hope our little birds discover this and use it as their own oasis.