Monday, August 11, 2014

The Hummingbirds Are Back!


Every year arrival of Summer is announced by a zinging noise going rapidly by your head and you know the hummingbirds have arrived.  

This always puts me in motion looking to see if we have the hummingbird feeder out.

Then I create some sugar water for the new arrivals (a sugar water mixture- 4 parts water to one part sugar cooked together till the sugar melts and then cooled).  To keep it fresh this sugar mixture should be replaced every 4 days.

Apparently the little mini-birds will create a route when they arrive of the available flowers and feeders and you need to get on their radar sort-of-speak in order to insure you have them all summer long.

They have to constantly feed & fly in order to keep their high metabolism fed.

According to Starsmore Discovery Center Hummingbird Garden- A Haven For Hummers in Colorado Springs:"As is typical with birds, the males have the most distinctive colors. The body is green and white with tawny wings and a characteristic rose gorget or throat patch, which flashes with an iridescent sparkle when it catches the sun. The female is more muted, mainly green and white without the showy gorget." STARSMORE DISCOVERY CENTER They also say the difference between male and female  is the male makes a trilling sound with his wings as he flies, the female is silent.

The Audubon Society describes them: "Few animals are as charismatic as hummingbirds. A heart that can beat 1,260 times per minute and wings that can circle 200 times per second enable this aerialist to hover, spin, duck, and dive."Audubon   

For more information on hummingbirds see the Audubon Society article: Hummingbirds See Red.  And watch a short podcast on them: Hummingbirds: Magic in the Air

 In Colorado there are four different types of hummingbirds and again according to The Starsmore Discovery Center Hummingbird Garden: "There are over 300 species of hummers, four of which are found in the park. The Broad-tailed hummingbird shows up first, about mid-April. The Black-chinned hummingbird - the rarest of the four in this area - and the Calliope follow, from the end of May to mid-June. Last to arrive is the Rufous, which turns up in early July." Starsmore Discovery Center  I think I noticed the Rufous a few weeks ago- it seems larger  and a bit more aggressive.

One imposter to hummingbirds here in Colorado is the Sphinx Moth or Hummingbird Moth:

But he has 6 legs, not 2 like the hummingbird and instead of a beak, he has a flexible proboscis which he inserts into the flower.  Also this little guy has two antennas. But he flies like a hummingbird, darting from flower to flower.

 I saw one when my porch got dark and suddenly this LARGE bug is darting into the flowers right next to me. I moved- in case he was clumsy- but he seemed intent on his dinner. Feather Tailed Stories

To hear a Hummingbird and a description of an Audubon project to protect Hummingbirds and report on your hummingbird activity to help them out! Hummingbirds At Home.

If you want to see more hummingbirds and also help them build and create a Hummingbird garden. 

Many of the flowers are perennials- meaning they come up every year and therefore are easier to maintain once they are established. 

Hummingbirds love Bee-balm!

Check local nurseries or garden clubs for information on what to plant in your are.  Here in Colorado Springs the utility company has a garden center to help you decide what plants are best for your garden. It's bit trickier here because of are semi-arid conditions (at times). Here's one site on what plants to pick and why. Many are red and have fluted flower petals for the little hummingbirds. Attracting Hummingbirds

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

When You Can't Go on Vacation- Stare at Nature Pictures!

OK- so this year I'm not off to some exotic spot somewhere for my vacation (not that I am usually!).

I decided it must be my vacation since my co-worker went away and I have no work for over 2 weeks- so I'm on "Vacation"!

(My view from the road I take to drive to work! I always drive through The Garden Of Gods- the red rocks. And in Manitou Springs where I live is in the background at the base of the left scar at the base of the mountain- Pikes Peak.)

So, kinda bad of me to complain since I live 24/7 in one of the best vacation spots in the USA, Colorado and it's always gorgeous outside my window...

 but since I haven't been in a writing mood, I thought I'd just fill a blog with wonderful pictures of nature- some of which I can label and some the source doesn't mention the place, but ultimately- who cares? It's just lovely to look at!

 William Neill 

William Neill 

William Neill 


William Neill 

William Neill 

William Neill

 William Neill

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Encore- Freedom From Hijab

I have found the past few weeks have meant a lot to me. 

 from the moment I opened to the My Stealthy Freedom آزادی یواشکی زنان در ایران
 site on facebook and saw the pictures posted to now, I feel like my life itself has been touched.

I have made Iranian friends and a Pakastinian and an Israeli.

I feel like I have reached across an unknown void to touch warm and loving hearts in countries that to me before were only names.

I feel richer for the experience and I just want to post a few more pictures of my new friends and some of their thoughts and pleas for freedom!

She says: "Freedom of thought is my right.. awareness is my right.. Freedom of speech is my right! The hijab is not the one and only problem I have. Actually my major problem is living in a prison made up of rotten thoughts.. . Tajrish square, Tehran"

Bare with me- my interest sticks as I contemplate how much they risk for a moment of freedom, for wind in their hair.

I applaud as they reach out to grasp a moment of what I have in abundance!

How I wish I could package what I have and just give it away to them- 

like water to those who are thirsty. 

What do you say to a young man who is so thankful just to be a friend because "you are from the largest democracy in the world"? He was in awe- I was humbled.

What to him would be a heaven- to me was common place. 

It makes me appreciate what I have and yet I am surprised 

She says: "My stealthy freedom and me in Mazandaran. I wish someone would make us understand that being free is not being loose"

when I am with another American that they are not also talking about this,

but no they drone on about their own mundane concerns and I feel like saying- "Did you know there are others that are trying to steal a moment of freedom and you sound so petty in comparison?"

She proclaims: "Stealthy freedom on top of mountains! They echo my screams of freedom and turn them back to myself though!  I am from this country and I want my freedom right here. I wish somebody would hear our screams."

 Our pettiness as Americans- caught up in our purchases, our bills, our smallness of life- do we have no clue that others suffer for wanting what we have so easily? 

That others risk so much to just have a whiff of what we barely value? 

She says: "The only thing which is ignored in this society is freedom; We were never given a chance to talk about it before."


I appreciate what I have,

and these women on My Stealthy Freedom make me appreciate 

the air I breath freely 

and the wind that goes through my hair.