Sunday, September 6, 2009


On Friday I tweeted about the insane number of hummingbirds that were at the feeder closest to the back door. It was quite an extraordinary sight. I had to fill the feeder three times that day - even after having filled it on Thursday. It generally takes about a week before this feeder will empty completely.

Normally, these birds claim a feeder and will not let any other birds anywhere near their feeder. Shawn and I have mentioned before that if they would spend less time chasing the other birds away they would not need as much food. But it is very entertaining watching their aerial acrobatics. So to have seen all this activity at a feeder was pretty amazing.

When I was talking to Shawn on Friday evening he suggested I blog about the hummingbirds because I was so bummed about the school thing and I needed to stop thinking about it. I began to look up ruby-throated hummingbirds and came across some very interesting facts.

They build a walnut-sized nest and the female will lay two white pea-sized eggs. The male does not help with the raising of the young (what a bum) and in fact, after mating will probably mate with another female. The mother will incubate and raise the young. By the time they are fully fledged they will actually weigh more than the mom because they have been fed insects instead of nectar. When the young do leave the nest she will tolerate them at her feeder for a little while but then she will treat them like any other intruder. Talk about family unity!

RTH's are also the most common species of hummingbird that breeds in the east to center of North America. They can be found as north as Canada. This makes their fall migration even more spectacular. Even though these birds have been doing this same trek for eons without our assistance, birders do encourage that we help these little guys along the way by leaving out the feeders. Southern states should leave their feeders filled until Thanksgiving. And no, having the feeders available does not distract them from migrating. Though there have been cases where a bird has over-wintered in a northern latitude this does not really happen very much.

Hummingbirds have incredibly small legs so they don't really walk or hop. The legs are used for perching and they can use them for scratching.

Hummingbirds drink water! Who knew!

While hummers do seem to like the color red they will also go to flowers of a different color. We have plumbago and yellow bells that they like just fine. Most feeders that you buy in the store do have some red on them but their is no need to put a red dye in the nectar that you feed them. Speaking of nectar - we used to buy it in a powdered form but now we just mix it ourselves. One part sugar, four parts water. Use really hot water. Does not need to be boiling, just real hot.

That's my hummingbird blog. Hope you enjoyed it.

Video can be found here.

Now for the rest of the story...

So I took this video yesterday after Erin, Angelo and the kids left from celebrating Ian's very belated birthday. I was glad that I was able to locate the tripod because, well, you all know how things have been lately in my lost and not found department. I felt fairly confident early in the day that I would find the camera, which I did, and the charger. I charged the camera and all seemed to be working fine. Set the camera up, sat down in the shade, adult beverage in hand, I shot 27 minutes worth of video (aren't you glad I did not post all of it! I did zoom out twice and once filled the feeder.) I am happy that worked and I went upstairs to download my soon-to-be
masterpiece cable!

Looked everywhere. We have about 1.2 million cables in our house but not one of them was the cable I needed. I am extremely frustrated at this point and wondering if this was the direction for the rest of my life. After spitting and foaming at the mouth for about a half hour I go online to look up what kind of cable it is that I need. Well, what do I know? To me this stuff is like a car. I put the key in the ignition and I drive it. Don't ask me how it actually runs. I don't know if it is four-pin or six-pin. I know that I put one end here, the other end there, I click "download" and it happens. I think that I may have found the cable that I need and it was about $8.99. I say to myself, "I will go to Best Buy tomorrow and pick up a cable." I'm pretty well soothed at this point.

So I go to Best Buy and even thought ahead and brought my camera. I walk into the store, the people greeter puts a sticker on my camera so no one thinks I stole it, and I tell him that I need a cable. He points out Devon and says that I should talk to him. I say "oh, the guy in the blue shirt?" I did quickly recover and said "of course, you all have blue shirts. Except you (people greeter) have a yellow shirt." We all laughed and one of the other employees pointed out that he had a black shirt (GeekSquad). I go to Devon, the cable guy, and he takes me to the cable rack and finds the one that would work and hands it to me. I look at it and say "I am supposed to plug this into my computer or lock up my bicycle with it?" No kidding, this thing is a gray cable encased in clear plastic that looks like the cable with the combo lock at the end. He tells me that it is for heavy data transmission and that is why it looks like that. I assure him that none of my data is heavy and asked if he had anything cheaper because the price of this heavy data/bicycle lock cable was $34. And also if they had anything less than 6ft because I put my camera right next to my computer and not across the room when I am downloading. No, of course, they did not. I go and pay for this thing and think that I will go to Radio Shack and see if they have anything a little more reasonable.

Well, their cable was shorter and it was your standard thin, black cord but it was also $2 more. I'll stick with the Best Buy cable. If I don't ever use it to download video again at least I will have a new cable lock for my bicycle!

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