Saturday, October 18, 2014

The arrival of Fall means the departure of the hummers

It's been two weeks since we have seen any hummers here. This video was shot on October 1. It's rather sad to look out the window and not see any buzzing activity at the feeders. We went through about 200 pounds of sugar this hummer season, tho', and it was sure fun and entertaining. They are such amazing little creatures!

Now is the time that we have to get the house and yard prepared for winter because by the time we return from our next trip, Old Man Winter will be right around the corner if not already moved in. We're also preparing for two fun festivals in south Texas. We'll be at the Texas Butterfly Festival hosted by the National Butterfly Center in Mission. Butterflies and hummers tend to hang out in the same locations, and this area has some of the best concentrations in the country. Following that we will move up the road to Harlingen and the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival. This is one of the biggest birding festivals in the country and a lot of fun. The people in south Texas are very supportive of the snowbirds that descend on the area to escape the northern winter weather.

April and the return of the ruby-throats seems so far away right now, but we can enjoy feeding the winter birds until then. Just hope that we don't "enjoy" too much winter weather *lol*,

Hummingbird fact for today: The brilliant iridescent colors of hummingbirds are are structural colors, not pigment, which means they are reflected by microscopic structural features of the feather surface.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Nearly Fall and We Still Have Hummers!

This is the first year that we have been home consistently through the month of September in quite a long while. So we really have no idea when the ruby-throats leave the Lake of the Ozarks. So far so good! There's even a couple of males hanging around. Yay!

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.