Monday, May 13, 2013

Wedding Invitations and More

Lately I've been designing wedding invitations (and one birthday invitation so far) for my Zazzle shop. Today Zazzle just happens to be having a 50% off sale on invitations so I thought I'd pass this along to you. Just type in the code HONORTAGRADS at checkout to receive a half-price discount on your invites.

Here are the invitations I've recently designed. You can easily personalize the information by clicking the "Customize" button.

Remember, the 50% off sale is for today only (May 13th). But check back often as I'm always adding new photographs and products and Zazzle has lots of sales throughout the year.
bleeding hearts art
forget me nots art

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Hummingbirds Are Back!

We have two kinds of hummingbirds here on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. The Anna's hummingbird stays for the winter but the rufous hummer winters in Mexico and returns mid-March to April. I rarely see the Anna's but we've had some busy little rufous hummingbirds buzzing around here for weeks now.

Rufous hummingbirds seem to be particularly territorial and will often do their best to keep other hummers from using "their" feeder. You can hear the angry buzz of the male rufous's wings (but interestingly, you don't really hear the female's wings), and if he's particularly upset with you he'll tell you off with a "chee chee chee chee" sound. The males are also experts at dive-bombing when they're really ticked off...they fly very high then hurtle downwards, of course topping it off with a "chee chee chee chee!"

The wild red-flowering currant bushes bloom in April and the hummingbirds really love the nectar, so I've been practising getting some shots of the birds around the pink flowers.

If you click on either of the pictures or links above you'll be taken to my Zazzle shop, Fun Nature Photography, where you can customize that particular photograph and have it printed on dozens of different products. But I thought I'd show you another hummingbird photo that I took where it's already printed on a product, in this case, a mousepad.

This colorful hummingbird photo is also available on many other products in my online shop.

I've been looking around for a rufous hummingbird nest but haven't had any luck so far. They're very small and hard to spot but I keep trying!

hummingbirds art
rufous hummingbirds art

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Mother and Baby Chickadees

Last fall my mom turned 80 and I went back east to help her celebrate at a family get-together. Last month I turned 57 and found that I could hardly believe it. How did that happen? In my mind I'm still in my 30's. Anyway, my mom and I have been discussing this age thing lately and we both agree that it kinda sucks. But what's the alternative? So I'm working on aging gracefully. We'll see how that goes.

With Mother's Day coming up in less than two weeks, I've been thinking about the role of mothers a lot lately too. I never had kids myself but I really marvel at the energy it takes to parent. I've been remembering last year's chestnut-backed chickadee family that visited my feeders. The mother chickadee was one of many who would take a peanut from my hand. I could tell this particular chickadee from the others because she had a bad leg with a foot that was slightly shrivelled.

Let me tell you, that mother chickadee worked her tail feathers off supplying her babies with food. She was constantly on the job feeding them and they seemed to be hungry every minute of the day. Once in awhile she'd grab a peanut from me and I could almost feel her exasperation as she flew to a nearby branch to be alone for a quick moment while she hurriedly enjoyed her treat. I felt really sorry for her. The demands of motherhood seemed especially tough for her. O.K., I know I'm given to anthropomorphizing but really...she looked plumb worn-out after a couple of weeks of raising her babies with their always-open mouths demanding to be fed.

All of mom's time was taken up with her offspring for three or four weeks. The little ones ran her ragged and seemed ungrateful at best. And then it was over. Once the baby chickadees were raised, the mother chickadee disappeared, never to be seen again.

I couldn't help but wonder...did her babies do her in? Was the experience of motherhood so difficult that she didn't survive it? I don't know if it's possible but I think maybe it is. She'd been a constant visitor beforehand and now she was gone.

My experience with the mother chickadee was repeated shortly afterwards with a red-breasted nuthatch. Nuthatches aren't normally as brave as chickadees, but this one would take peanuts from my hand. But then she had a family and she also disappeared. Hmmm...

I still miss both of my feathered friends very much and remember them often. I wonder if the babies that were born from either of these broods will be raising their own young ones around our place this spring.

Anyway, the moral of the story is, of course, appreciate your mother while you still have time! The years go by so quickly...
chickadees art