September 27, 2016

 Flying Migrations and Flowing Colors

"In the garden, Autumn is, the crowning glory of the year, bringing us the fruition of months of thought and care and toil. And at no season do we get such superb color effects as from August to November."
-- Rose Kingsley
I counted six ruby-throated hummingbirds in the yard yesterday morning. Overnight, the temperature had dipped to 45 degrees Fahrenheit. The hummers will soon fly south. I'll miss them and their glissando twittering and buzzing fly-bys. Good thing I'll have this little video of a hummingbird in the yard that I took last week. This year they've become so accustomed to us that we can hold out the feeder and they still come to it.
According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, "most Ruby-throated Hummingbirds spend the winter in Central America, and most get there by flying across the Gulf of Mexico. Some birds stay in North America along the Gulf Coast, parts of the southern Atlantic coast, and at the tip of Florida." 
A male Ruby-throated Hummingbird -- photo by Gary Fairhead via Birdshare.
Recent research indicates that these amazing thumb-sized birds are capable of flying more than 1,300 miles or 2,000 kilometers without a break
Also, the monarchs are making their last rounds of the season here. There's a great photo chronology here of their awesome cycle from egg to larva to chrysalis to butterfly.
The Xerces Society has pointers for attracting and supporting pollinators. Even if you have a very small area you can plant a pollinator feeding station. 
For the winter months, the Cornell Ornithology site offers great bird-feeding tips.
Butterflies and birds give me a daily uplift, especially the ones I encounter in the early morning. In fact, the birds in our yard were the main inspiration for my latest fabric collection Early Bird... for Moda. This line and two quilt patterns I created for it will debut at the International Quilt Market in Houston next month, October 29-31. I hope to see some of you there.
We're also offering "Early Bird" as a limited-edition print on the shop.
As the birds and butterflies fly south from the North Woods to warmer Latitudeslook out, look up, be inspired, and keep creating and sharing. Be sure to follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
"Happy we who can bask in this warm September sun, which illumines all creatures...."
-- Henry David Thoreau