Thursday, August 22, 2013

So Sad

It seems that our summer visitors have begun to leave us. There are fewer males, both hummers and orioles. Those still here are feeding like crazy though. The hummers try to double their body weight before they head south - that's a l-o-n-g journey for such tiny little birds!

The hummers seem to have a heightened need to guard their food source. This little bully guards from the front, from the rear, and seemed to win this particular battle!

Art in Bayfront Park in Duluth, MN, was a very nice show. The "breeze" coming off Lake Superior was a bit much at times, but the setting is beautiful. On our never-ending quest to find the odd and unique on our travels, we stopped at the Spam Museum in Austin, MN, and Deke Slayton and Bicycle Museum in Sparta, WI.

Our next show will be at Cedarhurst Center for the Arts in Mount Vernon, IL. We haven't been to this show in several years and hope to see old friends while making new ones. Then we'll head off to the HummerBird Celebration in Rockport, TX. Rockport is on the flyway for the ruby-throated hummingbirds as they head south, so it should be quite fun. We'll miss our fellow artists at Silver Dollar City this fall, but we have new places to see!

Hummingbird fact for today: Leaving your feeder up does not prevent the migration of the hummingbirds. They migrate according to the change in light.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Hummers, Bees, and Essential Oil of Marigold

What a fantastic country we live in! After exhibiting at the High Desert Arts Festival in Eagle Nest, NM, we headed to the Hummingbird Festival in Sedona, AZ, by way of Colorado and Utah! We visited the Great Sand Dunes National Park, Monument Valley, Canyon de Chelly, and all points in between! Fabulous scenery! Fabulous people!

Thanks to helpful neighbors, we returned home to find our hummers and orioles fat and sassy. Feeder activity really picks up this time of year as the Ruby-throated hummers begin to fatten up in preparation for the long migration south. Unfortunately, bees are also finding the feeders. We tried numerous remedies to try to keep the bees away, and at long last have found one that works. Soak a cotton pad (similar to a cotton ball only flat, available in the beauty needs section of your favorite store) with Essential Oil of Marigold and place close to the nectar opening.

With our bottle feeders, I punch a hole in the pad and slip it over the feeding tube, positioning it just behind the red tip. With the tube feeders, I place it between the tube and the copper coil that the tube sets in. Be sure to NOT put the oil anyplace that the hummers might get it on their wings or their feet. Hummers have no sense of smell, but the overwhelming concentrated marigold scent tells the bees to stay away. You can order Essential Oil of Marigold from The scent fades away, so keep it fresh to keep sending the message to those pesky bees. Bee traps also help keep down the population. I use the traps that you bait with juice, sugar, and raw meat. Bees go in and can't get out. This is a video I took today at the back of the studio.

People ask us if the birds use our feeders. Well, DUH!!! The near window has one bottle feeder, the glass door has 7 of our Onesie's, and the far window has one bottle feeder and two Onesie's. Watch the fighting over positioning and listen to the chatter as they fuss at one another. What fun!

Next weekend we will be at Art in Bayfront Park in Duluth, MN. This will be our first time in that part of the country and we're excited about going!

Hummingbird fact for today: The hummingbird is more than just beautiful. Its physical capabilities put the toughest human being to shame.