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.

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.

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.

All is Right in the World

The flock is returning! This is the earliest we've had a Baltimore oriole at the feeder. We don't even have any oranges - just grape jelly! And we saw TWO hummers at the same time. It should fill up quickly now! Took these pix this morning.

Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole

Orchard Oriole

Orchard Oriole

Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Pileated Woodpecker

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hummers Have Returned!!!

You can almost set your clock by the annual return of the hummers around here - April 15. And this year is no exception. Real light activity at the feeders right now, but it WILL increase!

Our three Gulf shows were a disappointment. We were ankle deep in mud at the Oak Alley Plantation Spring Crafts Show. It was so bad, in fact, that the Plantation has cancelled all future shows. They want to keep their grounds looking nice (and who can blame them?) so after 23 years, they have called it quits on the outdoor shows. Art in the Pass in Pass Christian, MS, was a little better. It was just sort of rainy on Saturday, but the forecast for Sunday was for severe storms, so Sunday was cancelled. Of course, the storms didn't develop. Finished out at Festival de les Fleurs in Lafayette, LA. This show was indoors, so it was MUCH better. However, crowds were extremely sparse on Sunday. On the upside, Stokes Garden Center in Lafayette now carries Ozarklake feeders.

Still, we had a good time. We have now seen most all of southern Louisiana, driven out into the ocean to visit Grand Isle, learned about the persecution and exile of the Acadians as well as the cypress and Spanish moss industries, and discovered that Cajun food is VERY good. We've seen Pierre Part and Pecan Island, and have a better understanding of the lives of the Swamp People.We even visited Duck Commander in West Monroe.

We are completing some wholesale orders and getting ready for upcoming shows in Bloomington, IL; Indianapolis, IN; and The Biggest Week in American Birding in Ohio.

And best of all, the hummers have returned to the Lake of the Ozarks!

Hummingbird fact for today: A hummingbird's brain is 4.2% of its body weight, the largest proportion in the bird kingdom.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

So Close and Yet So Far

It seems as though it has been forever since the hummers headed south. We're both getting really anxious! And it seems that the northward migration may have begun at long last. The migration map that we like to follow is showing some late February sightings along the gulf coast. Check it out at

We'll be heading off for Mississippi and Louisiana in a few weeks. We're both ready! We're going stir-crazy here in Missouri. And the polar vortex is headed our way --- again. Spring can't come soon enough!

Terrie has had a project for me to do in her head for a long, long time. And it seems that the procrastination has come to an end. She's gotten all the parts for it and now I'll actually have to build it. Pictures will be posted in the near future (assuming that I actually get to work on it).

Hummingbird fact for today: Unlike most other vertebrates, hummingbirds can see ultraviolet light which may help them find flowers with ultraviolet patterns.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A New Toy for Christmas

A big Thank You to my son Sean and his family for the amazing Christmas present. He sent us a BirdCam since I guess it is rather obvious that we're "into" birds. With no hummers or orioles around this time of year, I put it out to get pictures of my woodpeckers and cardinals. It takes amazing pictures (when it is not pointed into the sun)!!! By the time the hummers get back I intend to have a wifi SD card so we can download pictures and videos without moving the camera. Sooooo excited!

We're ready to escape the winter weather of Missouri and head off to Florida for next week's Spacecoast Birding and Wildlife Festival. This will be a new venue for us. We've been pretty well accepted at the other birding festivals we have done and hope this new adventure turns out as well as the others. At least it's Florida in January - MUCH better than Missouri in January :-)

We'll be at several new venues this year. We plan to try more birding and nature festivals as well as a few garden expos along with some art shows. Watch the "accepted" list; we'll add the venues as we are approved by them. If you are in the Lake of the Ozarks area, plan to attend our March 4 presentation on Hummingbirds at Lake Career and Technical Center in Camdenton, MO.

Hummingbird fact for today: Male hummingbirds are the tiniest warm-blooded animals on the planet. Females need to be a tiny bit bigger to be able to produce eggs, to afford to share their body heat with the eggs while incubating, and to be able to share their food when feeding nestlings.