Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Last Hummingbird of Summer

At the edge of the woods.
It was a cold crisp morning at Frogbirds Farm. Kelly was in the shop, I was on my way to the pond with some food for the catfish and Aspen as usual was investigating the morning and all its wonders. She had already been down to the woods and back and the deer were feeding on the edge of the woods.

Female Rubythroat Hummingbird
As I walked by the shop I heard the chirp of a humming bird and mentioned it to Kelly. He said he had heard it as well. I started back toward the pond when the chirp became a cry and when I turned I saw that Aspen had found something on the ground. She wasn't hurting what ever it was it she was just curious.  Kelly rushed over and discovered she had found a hummingbird. A little rubythroat female lying on the ground. He picked her up and she did not seem to be hurt but he said he could feel its heart beating very fast and she looked very cold and hungry and a little shocked to be in such a spot.

While Kelly held her I ran to my work desk in the basement to look for an eye dropper. Finding one I went back outside to the feeder and filled the eyedropper. I always keep one feeder filled late into September for the last of the travelers on their way to Mexico. She drank a little food from the eyedropper. Aspen tried to jump on Kelly's lap to see what it was going on but Kelly told her "No, Get Down!". She got down and went of as if to say "Oh all right, there are other things for me to find."

"There are other things for me to find."
I moved a chair into some sunlight and Kelly transferred the little hummingbird to me, so he could finish his work, but he came back often to check on us as we sat in the sun and she continued to feed out of the eyedropper. She tried to fly a couple of times but fell to the ground. She moved up my arm and nested in the crook of my elbow, keeping warm in my jacket sleeve. I was not sure if she would make it but at least if she didn't it would not end on the cold wet ground.

Figuring she was still cold, I moved the chair into complete sunlight and held her in my open palm.  The rays of the sun fell on her back and warming her. I hoped she would soon feel strong enough to continue her trip.  I could finally feel her getting stronger as she continued to feed. She drank with her little tongue lapping up the nectar. She tried to fly again and once again fell to the ground, but at least this time she landed right side up. I could tell she was feeling much stronger and warmer and at last she was able to sit up, with wings neatly folded. All of a sudden she took off like a shot, flying to the road then she soared to the sky. I called to Kelly but it was to late she was gone. It was so wonderful to see! I know she may not make it, it is after all a long way to Mexico but at least she got another chance. I hope she makes it.

Throughout all this we where so focused on helping our little friend get back in the air, neither Kelly or I thought to take her picture. I don't think we will need a picture to remember her by but I am sorry I don't have have a photo to share.

See you next Spring!
When fall comes our little hummingbird friends, who have given us so much joy through out the summer, have a long and dangerous trip to Mexico. Kelly and I felt good today, because we helped one along their way. On first seeing these little jewels of the garden, these beautiful little birds, they seem so delicate but indeed are very strong and brave. I will keep them in my thoughts, wish them a safe trip and look forward to their return in the spring.

Amanda and Frogbird, wherever he is:-)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Have A Safe Halloween

School has started and Halloween is not far behind. With that in mind we should start thinking about making this Halloween safe. For our children and yes even for those of us who are still kids at heart and love the chance to dress up and go to a party, take the kids out for Trick Or Treat, or just stay home and hand out candy.

There is much posted about Halloween safety on the internet including, reflective tape on costumes, of course go with smaller children and teach older children the safety rules for a save Trick or Treat. You can find lots of ideas for a safe Halloween with a simple Google search. Here is the link to the CDC, one of many sites with ideas for a Safe Halloween.

You may notice the last item in their Safe Halloween List is: "Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes".

We all love candles especially on Halloween, so what can you do to keep everyone safe? Here are some stats and ideas about Candle Safety from Fema.

It is a good idea to have flame-resistant costumes but not always possible. One way to be safe is take the flame out of the holiday. This is important for children and adults. Using LED Flameless candles is one of the best ways to have the beauty of candlelight without the worry about the hazards of a flame. If you have a pumpkin to display, are using luminaries or lighting your decorations inside or outside your home, why not light them with LED Flameless candles, tea lights or votives. Turn them on at dusk and forget them. The wind won't blow them out, you will not have to worry about something or someone catching fire.  If you want to create some special effects with your lighting, you can even use a little colored cellophane for your LED tea light to shine through. The only thing you will want to keep in mind is that the smaller LED candles and Tea lights often use button batteries so be sure to handle and dispose of them properly. You can find out more online or read Button Battery Safety.

Handle and store them safely.

I like to have candles all around the room, in the windows and at the door when I am handing out candy. Like most of you I also like real candles, but Halloween may not be the best time to use them. Candles can be a fire hazard if they are close to curtains or Halloween decorations and with all the excitement it is not easy to watch all the candles and the the kids. The last thing I would want to do is have a candle cause harm to my home, my family,  or to anyone visiting my home so I decorate with LED's candles. You can find all shapes and sizes, with timers and without, some even have remotes. Learn more about LED flameless candles on this site Flamless Candles 101.

Flameless Candles 101

Again, when you use LED flameless candles it is all about using your imagination. Put them in a cool setting to light up your decorations, or make them into decorations. Use a candle wrap from The House of Frogbird  to create your candle decorations or for your children to carry with them Trick or Treating to help them be seen and stay safe.  

Halloween at Frogbirds House is for the kid in all of us!

Make it Fun, Keep it Safe and Have a Happy Halloween!!!

Amanda and Frogbird, wherever he is:-)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Wrens in Frogbirds House and How He Got His Name!

Frogbirds House will always be Frogbirds House and for those who do not know how it got its name here is the story.

About 2 years ago I was given a wren house by my stepfather and I brought it out to the farm so I could hang it up. I took it outside to hang but got busy I set it on the deck rail and thought I would come back out and hang it later. Several days later I came out to hang the little house but as I walked toward it I noticed a little face. As I got closer I realized it was a little gray tree frog. I came in and told Kelly, my husband, that we had a little Frogbird living in the birdhouse and his new name stuck.

Frogbird in his New House.

I didn't have the heart to move Frogbird out of his new home, after all, finders keepers and anyway I felt he should be commended on taking the opportunity of making the little birdhouse his home so Kelly went out and secured the little house and there he stayed for almost 2 years.

 It was about 2 years later when Frogbird moved out of his home and I like to think he went on to bigger and better things. We miss him and the little bird house is still called Frogbirds House. Kelly hung up the house for me and this spring the wrens moved in to raise a family.

We have really enjoyed watching the wrens darting in and out of their home feeding their family and warning the cat not to get to close. Wrens are small but scrappy. This weekend we let Aspen, our cat, out to spend time in her garden. I noticed the wrens where really yelling at her when Kelly pointed to a little baby bird. Sure enough it was one of their babies. Kelly got a glove and carefully picked it up and put it back in Frogbirds House. I finished my work in the garden watching but I could not see any signs of Mom and Dad but ever so often I heard the little one calling to them. I had to take some kitchen scraps to the compost and I heard Mom and Dad calling back from the near by wood. 

Baby Wren ready to fly.

 I told the little guy to keep calling and his parents would come to get him and I went in so I could take a shower.

I was getting out of the shower when I heard the wrens outside calling to their baby. I barely had time to get this shot before they all flew into the garden. I brought our cat, Aspen, in to give them time to get the little guy to the safety of the woods. 

Update: We now have a second family of wren in Frogbirds house. It is on the north side of the house so it has been a great place to raise a family is the dreadful heat. 

Family Number Two Summer 2012.

Good Night, Happy Dreams:-)

Amanda and Frogbird, wherever he is:-) 

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