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Distractions on a Slow Day

One of the reasons I like what I do is sometimes I don’t do much.Today was one of those days.  We are waiting on the loggers to come in here and thin the pine trees. Yeah, we have big a$$ dozers and we could go in and just knock ’em down to clear out the new roads and the spot where we are going to build the lake.  That would be taking advantage of the land owner.  We would bill him for the bulldozer work and we would make humongous piles of pine trees here and there on his property.  If we wait on the loggers, they will take the logs off to the chipping mill and we will just have to clean up the brush.  We don’t bill as much and the land owner makes some money off the timber.  We can afford to wait a bit to make him happy.

This morning, my brother rolled in with a 40′ gooseneck trailer  loaded with equipment.  We unloaded a big job box, an eight foot square wooden platform to set it on,  my front porch which is 2×4 landscape timbers that keep me out of the mud when I enter the RV,  some 4″ PVC sewer pipe for an upcoming project and our Kawasaki Mule.  I was glad to get that Mule on the ground.  That means I can go exploring.  I have been walking the property quite a bit but 800 acres is a lot of ground to cover!

I noticed some blackberry bushes trying to leaf out and it occurred to

Ruby Throat Hummingbird

Ruby Throat Hummingbird

me that maybe I needed to get my hummingbird feeder out.  The hummingbird feeder has been a staple feature of each and every jobsite we go to.  I love sitting at the dinette and watching the hummers swoop and dart and fight right outside my window.  I feel fortunate to live in Texas where we have a large range and variety of these interesting little creatures.  I have been on jobs where I din’t think there was a hummingbird within 200 miles.  Like out at Coleman,TX where everything green would scratch you and everything crawling would bite you. Inhospitable, rocky arid country that I found not to my liking at all.  I pulled into that jobsite and it was pretty depressing.  115 degrees on a June day, not a cloud in a brassy blue sky and humidity so low you couldn’t even spit and I figured ‘what the heck’.   I popped the hummingbird feeder on the window and before supper I had a steady stream of hummers.  I had to wonder where these energetic creatures were getting their sweets before I  pulled up in the Fish Bus.  We were there for 30 days and this is kinda heart wrenching.  We mobilized to get out of there and when I got to the entrance at the end of the driveway which was a good mile long I was really surprised when I got out to open the gate.  There was a cloud of hummers at the dinette window chirping and clicking at me.  I felt really bad but what are you gonna do?

The early Spanish explorers to the new world called them Joyas Volardores or flying jewels and I love that.

Interesting Hummingbird facts — this stuff intrigues me:

* Hummingbirds are part of the Trochilidae family found only in the Americas. They are unknown in the Eastern Hemisphere. With 343 species, hummingbirds make up the Western Hemisphere’s second largest family of birds.

* The most astonishing quality of hummingbirds is their ability to broadcast color. Hummingbirds radiate like hot coals in the sun. The color that reaches your eye is created by pigment, which absorbs some colors and rejects others. Like soap bubbles, hummingbird’s color comes from iridescence, not pigment. It winks on and off, depending on the light source and the angle of the viewer. This allows hummingbirds to flash colors or hide them which is useful for males who want to impress females or threaten other males.

* Hummingbirds are built for power and dazzle, hummingbirds are little more than flight muscles covered with feathers. 30% of a hummingbird’s weight consists of flight muscles.

* Hummingbirds require lots of energy. They have the fastest wing beats of any bird and their hearts beat up to 1,260 beats per minute.

* In their non stop quest for fuel, Hummingbirds may visit 1,000 flower per day. For protein, hummingbirds eat spiders and strain gnats from mid-air. They will pull insects out of spiderwebs including the spider itself.

* The hummingbird’s tiny brain, 4.2% of its body weight, is proportionately the largest in the bird kingdom.

* Many species that migrate to the U.S. travel impressive distances. Many ruby-throats make a 2,000 mile journey between Canada and Panama. The trip includes a non-stop, 500 mile flight over the Gulf of Mexico.

* A hummingbird can rotate each of its wings in a circle, allowing them to be the only bird which can fly forwards, backwards, up, down, sideways or sit in sheer space. To hover, hummingbirds move their wings forward and backward in a repeated figure eight, much like the arms of a swimmer treading water. Hummingbirds can move instantaneously in any direction, start from its perch at full speed, and doesn’t necessarily slow up to land. Hummingbirds can even fly short distances upside down, a trick rollover they employ when being attacked by another bird.

* Hummingbirds can live a decade or more in the wild.

My feeder setup is not fancy.  I use a PERKY PET 217 Window Mount HummingBird Feeder – 8 oz.

Perky Pet Window Mount Feeder

Perky Pet Window Mount Feeder

It is pretty tough and cheap at less than $10. As far as what I put in it, I tried using that powdered concentrate because it is cheaper. I don’t use it any more because if you spill just a few bits of it on the counter, the ants come out of nowhere and just cover it up. I hate ants in my RV. I use the liquid concentrate from Wal-Mart now. Just pour the feeder about a third full and add water and you are good to go.

No hummers yet here north of Newton,TX in late February.  I am sure they will not be long in coming.  I know they will be hungry and tired after flying across the Gulf Of Mexico.  Honestly, I can’t wait for the energetic little birds to arrive.

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