Sunday, April 25, 2021



Remember those two cute little Allen's Hummingbirds in a nearby SoCal city I previously wrote about that hatched in a patio nest built on a string of Christmas tree lights?  During one of my occasional live streaming video visits I discovered their world has been more dangerous than I ever imagined as compared to those much larger Bald Eagles I've written about previously.

Here's a short video of Allen's Hummingbird from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles:


Streaming video site of the hummingbird nest I've been writing about here had dialogue reporting a Kestrel (member of the falcon family) had swooped in grabbing both hummingbird nestlings grown to fledgling size, almost ready to make their first flight -- expecting to fly independently, not to be carried up in the sky by a large raptor intent on a meal.   This predator Kestrel dropped one hummingbird nestling named Clover -- the other named Crimson likely did not survive.    

Here's a National Audubon Society Kestrel video.  I was surprised to learn they can hover in midair.


Alik of "Nature With Alik" who has been monitoring this nest was alerted to this kidnapping and luckily found one nestling, Clover, on the ground nearby.  He returned that nestling to the nest.   Reports were the nestling was traumatized, thought to be in shock for a time, apparently not visibly injured.  Fortunately, the mother, Emerald, eventually returned and Clover resumed feeding her one remaining nestling.  

A day later I visited again, coincidentally shortly before unexpectedly another hummingbird threateningly swooped in at Clover as I was watching.  Later, on the streaming video chat there was a report that the Kestrel had also returned and was observed to be spying from a distance on the nest containing Clover.  Also reported was an "aggressive female hummingbird ... with intent on harming Clover ... " had been harassing the nestling.  This led to the conclusion about Clover, "...this bird will not make it until tomorrow".

Alik is reported by Carole Turek at "Hummingbird Spot" to have been chasing away the aggressive female hummingbird and he reportedly planned to take Clover from her nest to the Ventura Hummingbird Rescue.  When ready to fledge Clover wold be released.

Unlike the Friends of Big Bear site of the Bald Eagles I wrote about here who simply observe whatever occurs naturally in nature without interference,  these Hummingbird folks apparently do involve themselves in some instances as with this nestling, thus altering nature.    Of course, the Eagles nest at the top of a tree in the mountains is hardly as easily accessible as that of this hummingbird's nest on a residential patio.  Also, I would think should two parental eagles decide they didn't want trespassers at their nest, given their size, dangerous-looking beak, the consequences for any visitor(s) could be more dangerous than the one tiny hummingbird mother might inflict who is the nestling's only caregiver, but I'm no bird expert.

I continued watching, expecting to see Clover removed from the nest, when suddenly the streaming video went black.  Soon, chat reported Clover had unexpectedly fledged when the effort was made to cover her with a small blanket in order to remove her from the nest.

Time passed, the video and chat remained inoperative with no report specifically describing what happened.  I was left to wonder then if the Kestrel had swooped down to capture Clover again as she fled ... and did she actually fly on what would have been her first flight, or did she fall out of the nest ... or did that other hummingbird attack her?  I visited a site where Carole reported Alik observed Clover had strongly flown to a tree and was thought to be safe where her mother, Emerald, could look after her.  

What an introduction to the world this newbie had!  Does give us thought to consider just how tough is our life?    

Hummingbird Spot (click on link), a web site sharing colorful photographs and videos started by Carole Turek, may be of special interest to hummingbird fans as her effort is to film all of the many varieties of these delicate-looking little birds all over the world, some quite unique in appearance beyond their flashy iridescent colors.  Of note, reportedly ......                                           

"Carole is photographing EVERY hummingbird species?!  180/363 are already done!"

(Permission I requested in the past to share a YouTube video of that local SoCal hummingbird nest here but never received a response.)

Emerald is reported to possibly be building another nest elsewhere in which to lay more eggs for a third successful clutch this season, but I don't know if a live cam will be streaming video of that new site, but I don't expect to follow it or others here.

Sunday, April 18, 2021



Periodically as a redhead I have shared my philosophy here endorsing aging naturally.  This is only my experience and point of view that may not be shared by all redheads.  What aging naturally means to me is that I avoid most concoctions said to create an eternal youthful appearance, substances that temporarily disguise actual aging facial effects, cosmetic surgical procedures, most so-called beauty products, coloring my hair.  

Most specifically I've been especially interested in what naturally happens to my hair color as I age.  I have a curl my mother saved from a haircut when I was very young preschool age.  My naturally curly red hair was a very definite but light red color.  My hair became slightly but more intensely red as I grew older into my teens, twenties and thirties.  I was always quite proud of the golden red shade of my hair, a perspective that was repeatedly reinforced by the many compliments I received from others, sometimes perfect strangers.

Entering my fourth decade I again styled my hair in a short cut.  When cut off I did retain the pony tail of hair  I had grown the previous less-than-ten-years during the time after we moved.  During that time when I had stopped working I unexpectedly became pregnant.  My hair color had slightly darkened but unquestionably still would be seen as red by everyone.

My older brother had red hair, too, though neither of our parents did.   My father's hair may have had a reddish glint in certain light, but he would not have been considered a redhead.  I don't recall seeing any other redheaded relatives on either side of my family including grandparents.  Both of my brother's children had red hair as their mother also had sufficient red hair in her darker locks to be considered somewhat of a redhead.  This is interesting only as confirmation of what genetics has learned about who acquires red hair.

By the time I was in my thirties I was married with two children when the decade ended.  My red hair which had always quickly became oily requiring frequent shampooing became less so.  We had moved to a dry climate from one where humidity was more prevalent.  Also, I had birthed two children during those years with expected hormonal changes..  I've always wondered how much either or both of those factors contributed to my hair changes, or was this simply the aging process?

My blond-haired older husband had very little hair left when I met him years earlier, but he had a red beard when allowed to grow.  Our oldest child had red hair a different shade from my own.  The younger child was a blond who also grew a red beard when he became older.  My daughter's child is not a redhead since her father's dark hair color has dominated.  My son's son is what has been characterized as a strawberry blond much like his mother's hair color.

When my fourth decade ended my red hair had become darker and I noticed what I have described as a few silver threads among the gold.  These years for me had become distressful, harried ones with many life pressures.  I have speculated this contributed or maybe even caused what I considered to be why silver/grey hairs invaded my coiffure, but maybe that was just all part of the aging process, too.

The next decade or two my life stressors altered and some new ones emerged.  My red hair color continued to darken but also gained an increasing number of silver threads.  Eventually, I could no longer best describe my red hair as having silver threads among the gold.  Now, I described my red hair as having a few gold threads among the silver.

The darkened red of my hair began to take on a brown color during my seventh decade to a degree that most people no longer perceived me as being a redhead.  Some even expressed skeptical surprise when I told them I was a natural redhead.  The silver threads continued to appear in greater numbers as I also began losing more hair with every shampoo and brushing.  Quite possibly hormonal changes may have been an issue for the continuing hair loss but that has been an unresolved matter.

Now in my eighth decade as I've allowed my thinning hair to grow from my longtime shorter hair style ever since I retired from work at age 79,  the dominant silver threads are quite obviously white.  Six inches or so of the darkened brownish red hair exist only in the curls of my lock's ends.  I find less hair in my brush each time I use it and hope that my once very thick hair thins little more.  Never had I anticipated hair loss would become an issue for me given the thick locks I'd always had.

Reports of genetic studies explanations of how red hair develops in less than 2% of the world population appear to be confirmed by the development of red hair in my family, except I can't verify a history of red hair in either maternal or paternal grandparents.  There must have been some recessive genes there that didn't manifest themselves in those person's actual hair color, or maybe some had red hair when they were young and I never knew.

I'm always interested in what scientific studies reveal about redheads.  One such conclusion has centered on finding the level of pain tolerance higher for red heads.  I had thought my pain tolerance was high before I ever knew about the studies.   Should a redheaded woman ever need to have anesthesia, I think knowing redheads possible heightened pain tolerance is important for doctors to be aware of when considering the amount of medication to be administered.

Redheads have also been said to have volatile tempers.  I have never believed that for me and still don't based on my emotional life all these years.

Genetic studies also reportedly concluded redheads never get grey hair, that the hair only becomes white with aging.  My hair is becoming white now but my experience when my hair first began losing it red color did go through a grey-appearing transition before reaching this white state.  My hairdresser spoke of my having grey hairs during those early years.

I haven't attempted to describe all that is being learned genetically and otherwise about redheads but am always interested in new research findings.


Those two baby hummingbirds mentioned in earlier posts continuing to grow at an amazing rate will likely fledge 'ere long.    Moderator on that site reports to watch for fledgling behavior beginning this coming week Tuesday the 20th.  

I've been intrigued by a couple matters I've observed on occasional visits via the live stream.   One, is noticing the rapid growth of the beak each day from barely present visually at hatching to increasing length, compared to what is needed to feed as an adult  The other surprising matter to me was that the hummingbird nest is stretchable.  I could actually see the nest being expanded as the mother and at other times the nestlings pressed against the sides enlarging the space as they became larger.  

EARTH DAY this week -- Thursday the 22nd !

Sunday, April 11, 2021



Our rainy season is past, and we didn't get enough of those moist drops from the sky to fill our reservoirs or snow to build deep packs for summer melting into mountain streams and rivers.   Californians are being told we are definitely in a drought.   Forest fires may well be an exceptional risk.  There reportedly is sufficient water to meet our needs through the coming year and the next one despite the low reservoir levels.  I wonder if any special water conservation measures will become necessary?

I've not incurred the expense of converting my yard to desert landscaping, especially after having to repair a corner of my concrete block back wall's separation caused by pressures from my neighbor's leaning wall.  Our city regulator's inspected and allowed me to separate his wall from mine so I won't encounter this issue in the future.

Meanwhile, I just received notice that our trash/recycle/sewer/street sweeping rates are increasing 12%.  We're told other cities across the country will be having to increase their rates, too, at least by 10%.  Eventually we may have to sort our trash for separate disposal of food waste which will be composted.  This is all an effort to compensate for dwindling land-fill sites and control where the majority of man-made methane gas is emitted which contributes to smog.  We have 3 bins now for weekly pickup -- trash, recycle (paper, cardboard boxes), greenery for compost.

PATIENCE ... Patience ... patience !

These are the words I said so many times to so many of my different patients when I provided all sorts of communication rehabilitation in speech-language-hearing-voicing-cogniltive and swallowing due to a variety of causes.   Patience -- a word easier said then practiced as I focus now on doing what I preach.

I'm finally reconciled to the fact my physical activity has slowed a bit from what I hoped might never occur, or expected at the very least not until I was older than my present eighth decade.  I may engage in physical therapy again, but my once-expected gains are being limited.  I ponder if surgery is warranted with benefits outweighing potential deficits.

Pain with movement experienced the past several years has significantly lessened but is not eliminated.  I recently read a report that redheads have a high tolerance level for pain.    I can attest to the truth of that for me, surprising even some medical people I've encountered.  

It does get tiresome having to spend more time than I had been accustomed to, just doing ordinary activities.  Also annoying are limitations even engaging in some activities.  I've been trying to wait out the pandemic before seeking some much-needed assistance here.


California's Western Scrub-Jay looks somewhat like a Blue Jay, "are bigger and longer than bluebirds"; have lots of "attitude" as described at  in an article with photos by Garrison Frost, "Ten Birds Every Californian Should Know".  This handsome blue bird with a splotch of reddish-brown feathers has been flitting between the large leaves through the lower levels of my Bird of Paradise just outside my living room window that looks out onto my back yard.  This is the first time since we've lived here that I've observed this particular bird species in my yard visiting every afternoon for several days this past week though it's described to be common here.

The other day the Scrub-Jay finally came to the window, apparently attracted these several days by the perpetual motion of mini-solar powered figures sitting on the inside windowsill.  One realistic-looking figure appears to be a large bee hovering with rapid wing movement over colorful flowers.  Touching the window glass gently with his beak, the blue bird soon discovered penetration was restricted, keeping him from reaching that fake insect.

Apparently not completely discouraged, the Scrub-Jay then hopped further down the window out of my sight.  I soon heard pecking sounds which was obviously the bird determined to find a way inside to get to that tasty-looking bug.  Scrub-Jay quickly discerned entry was a futile effort there, too, and flew away.  Fortunately, my window is dirty enough the bird hadn't mistakenly flown into it, unlike a small bird I noticed one year repeatedly butting against a then clearer window.   I miss seeing Scrub-Jay and wonder if he will return another day but hasn't so far.


Now that -- presumably, going out in the world is safer for those of us who have our vaccinations, if we've waited the two weeks following the injections(s) for antibodies to fully develop in our system -- I don't feel any real drive to do so.   We have yet to see the full effect of variants.  I haven't set foot in a store or restaurant for over a year.  I've grown accustomed to ordering more items online and having other deliveries.

I rather like making pick-ups at grocery stores, other businesses, various restaurants and drive-thrus.  I hope some of these services continue after the pandemic is in our past -- assuming it will be eventually.  Perhaps I will evolve into using more of a mix of such conveniences than I've used in the past.  I wonder if others may alter their future shopping routines, too, from past patterns before this pandemic?

Sunday, April 04, 2021



Have these coronavirus days brought on the doldrums for me?  Doldrums are described in Google quotes as "a state or period of inactivIty, stagnation -- a spell of listlessness or despondency, blues -- a state of bafflement, quandary".

I think of being in the doldrums as less than being depressed -- perhaps just a matter of degree.  I'm wondering if that might describe my state of being?  One of the manifesting symptoms for me is I haven't been blogging as much.  My sleep patterns have been topsy turvy, but is that because I'm in the doldrums or am I in the doldrums because of my sleeping issues?

Also, I wonder has the vagrant continuing to periodically violate my property I've previously written about here triggered my subconscious self to heightened alertness levels upsetting my sleep?  Even though consciously I am not fretting about possible concerns given my security measures, has this ultimately evolved into my developing the doldrums?  I am baffled and in a quandary.  I'm not sure how these doldrums have come about, but does it matter?

Incidentally, did you know "doldrums" is actually a variable place?  "An equatorial region of the Atlantic Ocean with calms, sudden storms, and light unpredictable winds."  That describes the range and variability of my feelings.

"The Intertropical Convergence Zone, known by sailors as the doldrums or the calms because of its monotonous windless weather, is the area where the northeast and the southeast trade winds converge.  It encircles Earth near the thermal equator though its specific position varies seasonally".  Wikipedia

"Monotonous" is how I might describe what some days have become despite my weakened efforts to inject variation into them.  Maybe monotonous leads to the doldrums.  Whadda ya think?  Whatever!

Perhaps this is how the coronavirus confinement has taken a toll on me.  I will make an effort to counteract that effect by maintaining a more regular sleep schedule to dispense with this perpetual tiredness I feel during daylight hours until the sun goes down.  I think, too, I will engage in some more regular indoor exercise routines I can maintain throughout our expected outdoors summer heat.  Maybe that will be rejuvenating.  

Life didn't seem to have these complicated feelings in previous years.  On second thought, I guess the feelings were complex -- just with different complicating factors in each decade of my life.  I ponder -- are these reverse sleep patterns, altered energy levels,  issues characteristic of the aged?


I previously introduced Allen's Hummingbird, petite iridescent green feathered Emerald,  referred to by some in chat as "Em" or "Emmie".  Her second clutch of 2 eggs this year hatched this past week as expected.   You may view the nestlings at this live feed:

Hummingbird Spot live video Allen's Hummingbird.                                                                       

(No infringement on copyright intended per Creative Commons.)

Reflecting on why I find this bird world activity appealing, perhaps this is to compensate for the disappointment I felt when this year's Big Bear Bald Eagles clutch failed for the second consecutive year to produce living eaglets to fledge and join the wildlife world.

Seems not what might be expected -- the large strong eagles having such difficulty producing surviving offspring -- the tiny fragile-looking hummingbirds producing more than one clutch of nestlings to successfully fledge each year.

Incidentally, I notice different language is used in YouTube chat discussion of these opposite in size bird species.  Maybe it's simply a matter of academic versus laymen verbiage.  The Bald Eagle folks awaiting eggs to hatch refer to that process as a "Pip Watch".  Pip referred to the eaglets making that first shell break to eventually hatch, often emerging over a long period of time, from inside their egg.

The hummingbird folks are writing about a "Hatch Watch".   Those baby birds emerge soon after the first break usually.  For both bird species it's all the same process but having not researched the intricacies of bird life I don't know if there are actually some definite baby bird development differences inside the shell  between the two besides the size of their eggs.

I've wondered if my attraction to periodically visit these birds may well be prompted by my desire to seek feeling the enthusiasms for living that new life brings, whatever our species?


Questions seem to occupy my thoughts presently, when I review the topics I wrote about this week.  More questions not mentioned here are also prevalent in my mind, including about my own future.   Do you think about your future?   

I query what is the cause of my doldrums?  Then  I wonder what is attracting me to hatching birds -- the promises that new birth, youth, offer for the future?  They also serve as distractions from the everyday world.  

Do you sometimes find yourself caught up in self-reflection, muddling about in your mind about what you do and wondering why?  Maybe it's the isolation from others that brings this on.  Are you attracted to seeking positive offerings and life-affirming promises for the future?  A good dose of humor usually enters into this mix for me, too.