Monday, April 9, 2012

Ruby-throats Arriving Earlier than Normal

While on the road in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, we periodically checked the ruby-throated migration map at We were amazed to watch as birds were spotted further and further north, including into Canada, in March. The first sighting here at the Lake of the Ozarks is usually around April 15, and yet there was a sighting report nearly a full month earlier than that. As we enjoyed the warm air blowing in from the Gulf of Mexico and watched the weather maps that showed no Artic air blowing down from the north, we speculated that these little birds were taking advantage of the warm air currents to move them along from their southern winter homes. Apparently our suppositions were not that far off the mark. Lanny Chambers, noted Missouri hummingbird bander and expert, gives his explanation for these early hummers on his website at His explanation makes a lot of sense as we've seen only a lone male at the feeder so far.

Artscape at the Dallas Arboretum was a fantastic show again this year. Joy and Megan and their crew of volunteers are absolutely super to work with. We hope the recent tornados and storms have not impacted any of them. The Spring Festival at Oak Alley Plantation was impacted by the heavy rains that pounded the area before the Festival. Attendance was down on Saturday as visitors had to be shuttled in to protect the grounds of the plantation. Sunday was much better when parking on the grounds was permitted. The folks who coordinate Art in the Pass in Pass Christian, MS, are the most artist-friendly crew we have experienced. Everything about that show was perfect!

While meandering between shows, we tracked down a couple of locations we've seen on television (VexCon, home of Billy the Exterminator, and Red Jacket Firearms), did some sightseeing in and around New Orleans, and learned first-hand about the impressive seafood industry in the Gulf Coast states.

Next up is the Stillwater, OK, Arts Festival and then we'll help Terrie's mom celebrate her 80th birthday.

Hummingbird fact for today: Since the mother starts incubating the first egg as soon as it's laid, that chick will hatch and fledge earlier than its sibling; it will remain close to the nest until the other chick is ready to fly.