Thursday, June 18, 2015

Wonderful Anniversary, Birthday, Sales Trip

We headed west. Stayed in Colorado Springs for a couple of days. Rode the cog railway to the almost-top of Pike's Peak. Snow and wind gusts kept us from reaching the top. Went to the Garden of the Gods. Visited the Air Force Academy. Then we headed off to Wyoming. Found a dinosaur center before we headed to Yellowstone.

Spent two days going through Yellowstone. What am amazing place! So much varied geology and ecology. Saw bears and bison and elk oh my! And pronghorn and geysers and so much more! Discovered a bear and wolf rehab/discovery center in West Yellowstone.

After "vending" at the Western Field Ornithologists Conference in Billings, we headed down to Devil's Tower before we got serious about getting home. While traveling we celebrated Terrie's birthday and our 14th wedding anniversary. Terrific time!

The owner of The Front Range Birding Company of Littleton, CO, saw our feeders at the WFO Conference and took some home to put in his store! Stop by and see them if you are in the Littleton area.

While we were away, our neighbor kept up with the hummingbird and oriole feeders for us. He obviously did a good job, because we still have lots of hummers and orioles hanging around. Now we can look forward to the Hummingbird Festival in Sedona, AZ.


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 2, 2015

This is So Much Fun!

May 2, 2015, Lake of the Ozarks, our front porch. Courting season. The nectar is fresh and not boiled, there are no red feeders, no red nectar, no natural or fake flowers, no red ribbons, no red fountain (it's copper), no red plastic imported feeders, and no drips from the bottle feeders. Soon the females will abandon the feeders (for the most part) to lay and hatch their little brood of 1 or 2. After hatch, she will feed them a diet of mostly digested bugs. When the fledglings leave the nest, they will be almost as big as mom and ALL of them will be at the feeders :-)

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Gang's All Here

After seeing just a couple of males several days apart mid-April, it is now apparent that the charm of hummingbirds that left here last fall has returned. We've counted at least 4 males feeding at the same time, and countless females. Today I happened to catch one of the males wooing the ladies with his big sweeping U-shaped flights back and forth in front of her. The nesting material we put out is being pulled and plucked, so the mama's are getting their nests ready. The crowd on the front porch feeders is such that Terrie's already started hand-feeding every evening.

We also had quite a surprise when a male orchard oriole showed up on April 17. We had no oranges, but Terrie got the grape jelly out for him, which seemed to make him happy. So luckily the jelly was already out when a male Baltimore Oriole showed up 5 days later! Usually it's May 1 before we see any orioles. Terrie was beside herself! Still no signs of female orioles, but they will be here.

There's a new store opening in Delmar, NY, and Ozarklake feeders will be featured in it! Merriman and Pfister's Marketplace is so new that there website isn't finished. We're honored they chose our items for the new store. Ozarks Classic Crafts Mall in Hardy, AR, just got a new shipment of Ozarklake feeders, too.

The Illiana Pond and Garden Expo in Crown Point, IN, was a new venue for us. Thanks to all who visited our booth and made it a successful show for us! Next week we're off to The Biggest Week in American Birding on the shores of Lake Erie in Northwest, OH. It was a good show for us last year and we're hoping it's better this year.

Hummingbird tip for today: Female hummingbirds head for the breeding grounds about three weeks after the males when more flowers are blooming and producing nectar. In promiscuous species such as hummingbirds, which do not form pair bonds at all, breeding females are more valuable than males and a reliable food supply reduces their risk. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

It's Hummer Time!

After a cold, dreary winter, we're READY for our hummers to return. We live in that part of the country that only sees Ruby-throated hummers and only in the summer. We saw the first one on April 8. Not a lot around here yet, but this is the week they will be showing up. The BirdCam is set out daily so that we don't miss the fun as they repopulate our yard.

Now is a good time to get your feeders all cleaned up and ready to use. Nectar must be changed out regularly, every 5 days or so this time of year. The mix is 1 part of cane sugar to 4 parts of water. You can boil the water if you have chemically-treated water, and then add the sugar. We have well water so we don't boil it. Prepared nectar will keep in the fridge for 3-4 weeks.

Do NOT use red coloring or the red pre-mix nectar. These pictures were shared by a hummingbird rehabber. It took weeks to get the red off the bird. They will wear themselves out trying to preen the red color off themselves. If you want to help them find your feeder(s), use red ribbon or fake red flowers. Some scientists believe that the red dye is extremely harmful to their internal organs. Since a hummingbird weighs about the same as a dime, even a small amount of dye can do serious damage. You won't see the damage it causes; they will go off and die somewhere else.

You also won't see the damage you cause by letting your nectar get cloudy or moldy. But the fungus that develops on their tongues will eventually prevent them from eating and they will die of starvation. Do NOT use honey, or Kool-Aid, or Jell-o, or beet juice or any of the other wild concoctions I have heard of. Cane sugar and water. That's it. Clean feeders thoroughly before refilling.

Hummingbirds don't need us or our feeders. They can get along fine without us. We put up feeders so we can enjoy watching them. But the first rule is DO NO HARM.

If you will be gone for an extended period and you have no one to tend to your feeders for you, take them down. Hang them back out after you get home and the birds will re-find them. Do NOT leave nectar unattended because it WILL go bad.

Hummingbirds will also check most anything red to see if it is a food source. This includes the emergency release pull on an electric garage door opener. PAINT IT A DIFFERENT COLOR OR COVER IT WITH A DIFFERENT COLOR TAPE. If your garage door has been left open for a while, check for errant hummers before you close it . They will fly in to check out the taillights, the red cooler on the shelf - anything that catches their eye.

If you find yourself on South Padre Island in Texas, visit the Birding and Nature Center. Besides being an absolutely fabulous Center, they carry Ozarklake feeders. The Dickinson and Wait Craft Gallery in Shepherdstown, WV, just received a new shipment of items. And The Flying Pig Gallery and Greenspace in Algoma, WI, has some new items. The Harlingen Arts and Heritage Museum in Harlingen, TX, carries Ozarklake feeders in the gift shop. And Tar Heel Trading Company in Duck and Corolla, NC, just received a new shipment of feeders.

Hummingbird fact for today: Some species of hummingbirds will travel 1,000 miles to reach their breeding grounds.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

It's a New Year

The beginning of a new year means just one thing around here - only four and a half months until hummingbird season at Lake of the Ozarks! For now we're feeding and enjoying the winter birds.

We're beginning to get a show schedule worked out for 2015. Of course, we have to wait to get juried in to some we hope to do. In other cases, we're waiting on information from the people organizing some shows we hope to do. The ones we are sure of at this point have been updated in the list to the right.

The season for us will start in February at the Home and Garden Expo in Omaha, NE. We did an art festival in Omaha a number of years ago and sales were fantastic. We're hoping for that same kind of response this time, although the crowd will be different. Hopefully Old Man Winter won't dump a lot of snow or ice so that we can get there and back safely.

We stumbled upon four of the little red Avon strawberry bottles. This is what they look like now. I'm exceptionally pleased with this one. Somewhere out there is a buyer who wants this in their garden or on their patio. We just have to find that special person!

Polar air is moving in. Keeping warm this week will be the big challenge. Guess we'll just have hunker down and play in the copper and glass.

Hummingbird fact for today: Safe nesting material you can provide for hummers includes clean pet hair, short lengths of white or light-colored wool yarn, natural wool fleece, natural cotton or wool batting, and down salvaged from worn-out garments or comforters.

Friday, November 21, 2014

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.