Here we are, going on into our third year of the pandemic. Remember back when it started we all thought after two weeks of quarantining it would all be over? We were so clueless!
I hope everyone had a safe and happy Christmas. It was nice getting together with our fully vaccinated and boostered family for a few days. Although we didn’t get the white Christmas we were hoping for, it was still a very nice Christmas indeed. Lots of visiting with each other, talking, drinking, eating, and of course, opening presents.
Once again, Linda had a Christmas full of books, so she was definitely a happy camper. Looks like she is set for at least a couple of months.
We had lots of goodies over the holidays, but one highlight was this fruitcake that Emily made and brought over. When Em went home she left the remaining fruitcake with us. Linda immediately designated it as “her” fruitcake, but she did allow me to have a slice or two.
The award for the most fun present this year would have to go to the Easy Kabob Maker that Wendy gave to me. It is always a given that my Christmas gifts are going to consist mainly of kitchen stuff, and that is just how I like it. I had a lot of fun mixing up the ingredients to go into the Kabob Maker, and then squishing it out the tube. After I had formed the kabobs, I cooked them in the air fryer. They were pretty good, but as with most things, there is a bit of a learning curve on how to do it. Next time I will use ground meat with a bit more fat, because the 99% fat-free ground turkey meat that I used came out exceedingly dry. But the flavor was good!
We did have a very light dusting of snow on December 27th, but it was just barely enough to cover the ground. I’d say it was about the amount of snow we used to get back in Lumberton, on those rare occasions when it did snow there.
On December 30th I looked out the front window at 5:00pm (it was already dark) and there sat my little hummer, resting on her heated feeder. You have to look closely at the left side of the feeder to see her. It made my heart smile!
She likes to perch on the cord for the heated feeder, swiveling her little head back and forth to make sure no other hummers come to HER feeder. I took this video below with my phone because APPLE STILL HAS NOT RESOLVED MY ISSUE WITH iMOVIE!!!
It has been plenty cold around here for the past couple of weeks. This past week, the temperature got down into the low teens a couple of nights. Monday, January 3rd, when I got up at 6:15 there was 4 inches of snow on the ground and it was still coming down. I looked out the front window and my little hummer girl was sitting on her feeder, and it looked like she was in torpor (I explain what this is a little further down in the blog). She didn’t move for the longest time, but I could see her breathing. When she came out of torpor and woke up, she left the feeder for a little while then came back. I think she may have roosted during the night on the feeder because the temperature had gone down to 9 degrees! It snowed almost all morning and we wound up with about 6 inches. More snow is expected later today and tomorrow, so our accumulation will most likely go up some.
In addition to all the holiday happenings, I managed to get a few pictures of our bird visitors since I last posted. I was hoping we would get to see some quail, but so far they are a no-show.
That last picture above shows the Anna’s Hummingbird sitting on the wire that leads to her heated feeder. This is where she likes to perch on those days when it is so dark and cold. My sister asked me to include some information about the Anna’s in this blog, so I did some reading up on them. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology (click here for link) has a page with a lot of interesting information about them. I am going to summarize some of this information below.
I have mentioned before that the very colorful throat patch of a hummingbird is called a gorget. Anna’s Hummingbirds have a gorget that extends over their heads (males only), so it is much larger than other hummingbird gorgets. Also, the female Anna’s has a tiny red gorget while most other female hummers have no throat coloring. The body temperature of an Anna’s is usually around 107 degrees. When it is cold outside, they got into a condition called torpor, where their metabolic rate slows down and their body temperature can drop as low as 48 degrees. When the outside temperature warms up the hummers come out of torpor. There are no hummingbirds in Europe, they are found only in the New World . When this land was discovered, Christopher Columbus wrote about these so-called “flybirds.” They called the hummers that because people were not sure if they were birds or insects or a cross between the two. A flock of hummingbirds can be called a bouquet, a hover, a shimmer, a tune, or my favorite, a glittering.
The Anna’s Hummingbirds have been expanding their range from California to the Pacific Northwest for the past twenty years or so. Unlike other hummingbirds, Anna’s hummers do not migrate, but rather stay here in the Northwest throughout the winter. They have become more common in the Yakima area only in the last few years, but have been quite numerous in the Western part of the state for some time now.
Snow began falling on the Westside of the Cascade Mountain Range on Christmas day 2021, and with it came temperatures well below freezing. It is rare for that area to get a lot of snow, but some years they do get a few inches. This snowstorm, though, was heavier than usual, and the temperatures were lower. People were scrambling to figure out ways to keep the nectar in their hummingbird feeders from freezing so the little fellows would be able to eat the nectar that they need to stay alive. I belong to a group on Facebook called The Hummingbird Whisperer. People in this group began posting pictures and video of the various ways they came up with to keep their hummer feeders warm. Many wrapped the feeders in incandescent Christmas lights (LED lights do not put off enough heat), and some even used socks and hand warmers wrapped around the feeders. They tried whatever they could think of to keep the liquid warm, and the hummingbirds were very appreciative. This was evident by the number of videos showing feeders with 15 or more hummingbirds all gathered at the feeding ports. This just goes to show that when faced with a sudden weather apocalypse, some good, kindhearted people were concerned about the welfare of the smallest of creatures and figured out ways to give them the help that they needed. It gives me hope yet for the human race.
I couldn’t resist putting up a picture of Wendy’s dog Zorro enjoying the snow. He likes to play in the snow just like a little kid! Of course, since he is a Black Dog Ninja, he just looks like a black blob against a sea of white.
Join me every Wednesday (barring any unforeseen circumstances) for more from the Southerner in the Northwest.
4 thoughts on “SAME OLD NEW YEAR”
What a darling Little Red Schoolhouse feeder for your winter birds! Wendy’s fruitcake looks much like the Williamsburg White Fruitcake I used to make every year. These days I just bake tea breads such as Cranberry with golden raisins and grated orange rind. This week I’m making a Blueberry Orange loaf.
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I made a Cranberry yeast bread, tried to make it GF but it was a dismal failure! That blueberry orange loaf sounds delicious!
A glittering of hummers; I love that. It sounds much nicer than a murder of crows! Lovely post. Happy New Year!
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Thank you so much!
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