a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: March 2015

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Wolfie Snow Dog

SUMMARY: Tika loved the snow.

Her whole life, people's first impression of her was, "She looks like a wolf!" (Or, when younger and scrawnier, a coyote.)  I didn't always see it, but sometimes--yeah.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Speaking of Changing the Environment--

SUMMARY: Yep, blog appearance changed.

Just felt as if, like other things in my life, it's time for a little change. Dang, should've done a screen capture of the previous format. C'est la vie.

So here's a capture of the new format. This should look freaky.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Clearing Away

SUMMARY: It's not that I don't want to remember Tika--I do--but I don't want things ambushing me everywhere I turn.

After she was gone, I started right away in clearing away everything that I knew would sucker-punch me in the gut if I were to see them.

In the first few days, I:

  • Picked up, washed, rolled up, and put out in the garage all the extra carpets that I'd purchased and gradually spread more around the house to help her get to her feet or stay on her feet. Most she hardly ever had a chance to use. I hadn't realized how quickly she was declining that last week when I bought several of them.  
  • Oh, and peeled off all the sticky reusable carpet holders, washed them in warm soapy water, and put them back into their storage box after they dried.
  • Emptied her weekly pill minder and hid that away. 
  • Offered all her meds to my agility club (most, no takers), so bundled them up--along with all the specialty foods and samples and baby food (lots of jars) that I had bought for her and dropped them off at the shelter.
  • Removed the carpet stair treads that she never used. (Took me four times longer to remove than to install--that was most excellent double-stick tape.)
  • Took her leashes out of the car and the front hall closet and put them into the garage for storage.
  • Likewise her food dish.
  • Washed the harness that a friend loaned us over 2 years ago for temporary use.  Not sure when I'll be seeing the friend again, so it still hangs in the laundry room, where it, yeah, sucker punches me every time I see it. I suppose I should package it up and mail it.
  • Cleaned out the special quilt and harness and water dish for her sleeping area in the car.
  • Took her ramp out of the car.
  • Gave the other 2 dogs what was left of the baby food and snacks that she didn't finish the last couple of days and tossed the rest.
  • Have been working at emptying (by feeding to Boost and Chip for meals) all the fractional bags of kibble that had accrued because she has been picky about kibble for so long now--a year? more?--and I'd rotate through a variety over a week or so. So far I've emptied 12 bags of various sizes, have almost emptied another. Have 5 additional open bags and one unopened one that I bought that last week because it was a new one to try.

I can't put away or dispose of all the places and times and actions that hit me suddenly when I encounter them.  I open the garage door after coming home, and there are only 2 dogs, and I wonder where-- oh.  After 2 years and 4 months of dispensing pills and treats every morning and every evening, no breaks ever, suddenly that ritual is gone and I feel an emptiness about that time every day, or when I think, Wait, did I give her her med.... oh.

When there's no dog lying on the back porch in the cool evening air.

When I think that I should go check on her to make sure she's OK.

When I pull out the bully sticks and give out only two.

When I can take Boost and Chip for a walk and don't have to make time to take her for her own, slow, walk. Wish I did have to make time for it.

When I pull out the treats and she's not instantly there, obsessing about how to get me to give her some.  The other dogs are not nearly that involved with their treats.

Noticing the ribbons and championship poles and plaques on the walls and remembering that they're almost all hers. And we'll never ever do agility together again, or anything.

So many things.  Crap, I didn't think that this would all make me cry, but of course it does.

I have been looking at photos of her, evening after evening after evening.  I think that maybe I'll pull out a big selection of them and make a slideshow. And then I think that I couldn't stand to do so.  But I can look at photos. As long as I remember to remember how much fun we were having and to not remember that she...


Chip is lying here with his head against my arm. Warm.   Boost is dozing on the floor near my place on the couch. They're good dogs.


Oh, Teek.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

She's Done With It

SUMMARY: Now doesn't want to eat anything.

During the afternoon, she happily ate most of two Girl Scout peanut butter sandwich cookies (a few pieces at a time, spread out) and probably a large handful of Zuke's minis (over 2 or 3 opportunities).

But she's now refusing the ground beef "soup" or even the broth or the meat separately. And the baby food chicken. Ate one Zuke's just a little while. Took four more into her mouth, then gently laid them back onto the floor.  Didn't want any of the fish or rice that I cooked for myself. Doesn't want peanut butter sandwich cookies now.

I wanted to give her fun things to eat. Hope that they're not actually the cause of her feeling worse--but I don't know how this works.

I just can see that she is, now, pretty much done.  I hope that someone is available to help us on tomorrow morning (Monday).

Ice Cream

SUMMARY: A tiny treat, a few licks and small bites.

For pretty much her whole life, Tika has eaten standing up. It's as if she couldn't eat while lying. Now, the last 3 or 4 days, it's all lying down.

Also, in the very old days, when she was done eating... oh, wait, she was never done eating. OK, in recent months, when she was done eating (yes, there'd be food left), she'd turn abruptly and go out the dog door. That was her clear message. Now, in the last few days to a week, while eating lying down, that's not an option, so she-- well, OK, hold on a moment:

OoooOOOH, that MIGHT be interesting, if you'd stop taking photos and actually give it to me.

Oh YUM! Nom nom nom.


Really? Are you sure? Do you want some more?


Holding Steady

SUMMARY: Sunday morning, first day of Daylight Savings Time.

Despite the fact that I slept fine Friday night (except for waking briefly to check that she had made it into the house, which she had), I didn't sleep much last night. Cried a lot. Coming to the conclusion that it will be kinder to send her on her way than keep her here breaks all the dams.

It's so hard to know with dogs. If I were in her state--aware, intelligent, able to eat, could go through the doggie door on my own--well, you know what I mean--but otherwise in a failing body, I don't know whether I'd want to continue.  I don't mean failing in any random way (I'm thinking of Steven Hawking, of course), but in this way, with organs failing and looks like no hope of recovery.  I applaud the right-to-die states that make it legal for someone with a fatal illness that's nearly done with to take a painless way out instead of a long drawn-out agony. Would my friend with cancer have chosen that as the last weeks came and everything fell apart? I don't know.

Anyway, Tika's about the same this morning. Mostly just lying there. Not going towards the light, yet.

Had some "beef soup" eagerly, but again not a lot.

However, she was delighted when I started tossing her pieces of my English Muffin Sausage/Cheese/Egg Sandwich. But-- she wouldn't move if I missed my toss and it was just out of reach, instead just staring intently at it until I came downstairs and fixed that.

(The other dogs gladly move around when there is food afoot for Tika.)

I've said through most of her life that, if Tika had a bowl of food and a squirrel ran past, I don't know which she'd choose. She had a very strong prey drive, and yet she loved loved loved her food. More than any other dog I've had, I think. (And, oddly enough, was one of the pickiest eaters I've ever had, which maybe ties in to how picky she's become over the last year or two.)

So--she is aware--watches me, sometimes, when she can, especially if I have food, but usually doesn't move anything but her eyes to do so. She is intelligent--still can "shake" and "touch" when asked, even if lying down, and just Friday I think was the last time that she was standing up enough for me to ask her to do Right and Left and she did. And she does still loves food--well, depending on what food and when/how often it's offered.

I don't know whether she's in pain. But her body is so clearly failing her.

I'm going to go try some ice cream on her for size.

It's Almost Over

SUMMARY: My good old girl.

Friday evening.

Message from the vet when I got home in the evening, giving initial blood-test results. Summary: "She's only somewhat anemic but in 90% renal failure." Details for my records:
  • Anemic: 36-60 is normal and she's 30.
  • Kidney measurement 1 (didn't catch the name): Normal is 6-31; in September, she was 78; now is 125
  • Creatinine: 1.6 is high normal and she's at 3.1
  • Phosphorus 6 is high normal and she's at 9

Vet should have rest of tests back Monday and we'll talk then.

Tika ate a whole jar of babyfood turkey, quite a few Charlie Bears, and--something I haven't tried in a while--maybe a quarter of a stick of string cheese (don't want to give her too much dairy at one time). That's a good "meal", one of the best in the last 3 days. Even if I do have to break it up into small servings every 20-30 minutes or so. She's still walking around on her own when she *has* to.

But--Tonight was the first time in her life, other than when she was out of hearing range, that she didn't greet me at the garage door when I came home. Just lying there on the carpet and panting. I have tears.

She has kept on going way beyond any predictions ("2-3 months") when the heart failure was discovered that ended her agility career (Nov 2012). Good old sweet noisy talented annoying clever now-skin-and-bones Merle Girl.

Saturday morning.

She wanted to be out on the lawn when I went to bed. This is normal, except that before now, that would be the back porch. Lawn usually during the early evening.

I didn't leave the sliding door open although I wasn't sure whether she'd be able to get through the doggie door on her own.  I woke up at half past midnight and went down to check on her. She had moved inside onto the carpet and was sleeping soundly, so I guess the dog door was fine, so I left her alone and went back to bed.

This morning, was in a different spot than when I went back to bed, so she is moving around on her own, just oh so rarely. I did insist once that she stand up (I'm leaving her padded harness on all the time now so that I can haul her or help her to her feet as needed) to be sure that she still could stand, but she went right back to where she'd been.

Her gums were pink again this morning, so ... intermittent anemia? Could be: Internal bleeding. Sporadic failures of the heart to pump enough blood. Random other things.

I cooked up a batch of ground beef, added a bunch of water, and gave that to her--I think that she's not drinking much now, so more liquid the better (except, oh, yeah, yesterday she was still insisting on drinking out of that rancid pond out there, walking right past the water dish)--and WOW she was absolutely delighted to make the acquaintance of Tika's Special Beef Soup.

Saturday evening

I left the house for a few hours after that, and then the rest of the afternoon and evening, same things--she laps/eats eagerly for a very short time and then is done again. She's not getting tons of food or liquid this way.  I added minced cooked green beans later to her Special Beef Soup, and she didn't mind that.

Still, not eating very much at any one time. Mere mouthfuls, really. Still happy to take a few mouthfuls more 20 to 30 minutes later. Until yesterday, Charlie Bears were awesome, but now they've joined the list of things that she won't eat. Can still walk out through the dog door to the back yard, but now can't remain standing after squatting to pee. After a rest, can get herself standing and moving again if she thinks there's a good reason to, which mostly she doesn't seem to. But still likes to have the ol' ear/face rub.

When I'd check on her, she'd usually be where I last left her--but then she'd suddenly be lying somewhere else. So, very little mobility. She's become like the Racetrack Playa stones in Death Valley: she has moved, but no one sees her move.

I found her at the base of the stairs inside the house twice; she maybe wanted to be closer to me in the living room, but not sure whether she tried to go up and slipped, or just lay there deliberately (or couldn't turn around and so lay down as the only other option).  The problem with having spread no-slip carpets out for her is that now I can't hear when she's struggling.

I don't think this is a good life for this dog.

I will talk to my vet Monday morning.

I've got the numbers for a couple of mobile vets who also do in-home euthanasia and I'll call them, also, and talk to them.

How odd--my face is all wet.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Twin Beaks -- The Hummingbird Saga Part 3

SUMMARY: Apres Nest

Backfill: Added February 20, 2016

(Read the earlier parts here: Twin Beaks Part 1 and  Twin Beaks Part 2)

Feb 24 10:33 p.m. A photo essay on learning to fly

Twin Beaks the final episode: One chick had flown the coop today; this is the only one I saw (who had still been in the nest yesterday). I got lucky to spot him at all.

I looked out the window and noticed that this guy was out. See him by the xmas light in the center?  He's just looking around.

So I went outside calmly, trying not to look like a stalker.  He watched me carefully. This is the best I could zoom in--

I got close enough to get this shot. For some reason using a 100mm prime lens (meaning not a zoom), so for a closer-in shot, I actually have to get close. Therefore, many of these are cropped from the original, hence not so sharp.  He's still watching me.

Even more fun if I crop that photo later, like this. Here he is, waiting for me to move away again.

I moved away again. He tried fluffing up and testing his wings (VERY fast--the motion is frozen here but it was a blur) and puffing up...

...then he settles back in, although feathers are still a little fluffed out (see him in front of the white flowers?)...

...--and then suddenly ZOOM-- He's gone!  Jeez, hummers can move! Even babies just learning to fly!

This was me trying to catch him in flight. I failed. Where'd he go?

I found him again wayyy over here.  (Above the colorful metal thingie.)

We waited a bit and Mommabird showed up. She always looks around carefully before paying attention to her chick clamoring FEED MEEEE! Now you can compare and contrast to an actual fully functionally feathered female.

Feeding; both are moving their heads pretty fast. And, that's it! No one is sleeping in the nest tonight (after both chicks were last night). So hoping that they're both happily on their way!

Feb 25 -- 4:42 p.m

Sigh. Literally suffering from empty nest syndrome this morning. (My palm is touching the nest. Tiny little thing.) So small, to fit those 2 birds in there!

Feb 25 -- 10:56 p.m

OMG OMG OMGGGGG! I heard those tiny high-pitched peeps like they'd been using to call mom, and went out to look--and sure enough, lucky enough to catch movement in this tree as one of the babies fluttered from branch to branch! See him? See him?

OK, here's a close-up--there he is, just to the left of center! OMG! I found one of them!  (And just to left of center, above!)

But wait! More fluttering (they've got the wing speed up, but not so good at darting around like an adult), and here's baby #2!!! O! M! G!

Really! See? Right in the center above.

Zip! Baby #2 flitters gradually (wings zooming but motion not so confident) over to the left towards his nestmate--and past him to perch again.  (Maybe they're sisters. Who knows.)

And here they are together! (#2 in upper left, #1 bottom right). O. M. *****G.*****!!!! I am so happy!

Feb 27, 10:19 a.m.

Hummingbird baby followers--saw them again yesterday in the same tree, still fluttering around, getting the hang of things.

March 3

Saw the babies this morning! I hear that stratospherically high monotone eeeee eeeeee as one called for mom. Found him on the edge of my porch (hummingbird feeder at top); see him very bottom center next to the stub post?

They're still hanging around, hoping that mom will reappear, I guess.  I happened to notice this little guy looking small and alone and forlorn.  Of course, that's just my interpretation--maybe he was simply basking in the sun.

Watching me carefully as I got closer and closer and closer--

He let me get within two feet of him! I wonder whether all those photos that I took of them in the nest made him more generous with my approach.

He gave me one last look--I'm two feet away now and still this photo is cropped in--and just after this shot, streaked away to that nearby unleafed tree.

I saw both of them a couple more times after that, together, right in this area, then after that, who could tell which hummer was which?

Friday, March 06, 2015

Update Post-Vet Visit

SUMMARY: Anemic.

Yes, Tika's breathing is labored as I noticed at home particularly last night. But the doc says that her lungs sound clear, despite still having a lot of fluid in her abdomen. Means that probably the right side of her heart is doing worse that the left side, because the left side more likely causes fluid in the lungs.

Her heart rate is much better than it has been in recent visits--I said that's probably because she's out in the car having the vet check her instead of in the office.

No, there's no sign of infection in her mouth--in some ways, darn it, as we could have thrown antibiotics at it.

When he took her inside for a blood draw and brought her back out immediately, he said that she was very good and probably the sedation contributed--I said, there is no sedation, I didn't give her a pill this time, that's all her deteriorating health.

Yes, her gums are pale. OMG they're almost white this morning; last night they looked pale to me, but not white.  So--very anemic.

And now, back home, I'm realizing that I'm recognizing the symptoms of anemia from when Rem had his cancer and it would rupture and start bleeding out. Lethargy, staggering when trying to walk after first standing up, lying there and looking around as if in a fog.

So we're doing a blood test. It might give us something useful. For example, if her organs are closing down, then that could cause the anemia and there's not much that we can do--it's been a long time coming.

But if all it shows is that she's anemic, we're back to the question of--how much testing do we do to figure out what exactly is causing it? On a 14-year-old dog with congestive heart failure who has outlived her predicted lifespan by two years?

But also, how quickly will the results come in, and will it be too late by then?

Vet says that he looks particularly at four things: Can the dog eat, drink, pee, and poop on their own or with minimal help from me? Then they might not be done yet. But it's becoming an observational game, I think, as in, is her quality of life good?

She has yet to miss greeting me at the garage door when I get home (except when she's been somewhere where she couldn't hear it.) That includes last night, even after not wanting to eat much, not wanting to walk much, and mostly just lying there. One of the other dogs bumped into her, though, and she droopped to the ground-- but, still, she was there.

I'm not sure whether that's enough. As of yesterday, she hasn't wanted to come up the steps to the couch where I spend most of my home time now, so she's a bit isolated--although she was always pretty independent and often spent her time outside or in another room anyway.

Soooooo,waiting for blood test results, some of which might be available this evening.


SUMMARY: Tika not doing well

She hasn't gone up any stairs since Wednesday evening (it's now Friday morning).  Wednesday evening (before yesterday's post), she didn't want to eat much. At a few mouthfuls of juicy canned dogfood. Ate a couple of teaspoons of Gerber baby chicken/veggies. Ate several Treats and several more of a different kind of treat, then vomited up the latter.

To summarize yesterday's food:

Morning: Most of a watered-down tiny jar of baby-food chicken. A few treats.

Evening. The same.

She's moving herself around--she stayed out on a far corner of the lawn last night, and when I checked on her during the night, she had moved inside to the den, near the stairs. Don't know whether she tried to go up and gave up or didn't even bother. I suspect the latter.

And this morning she's back out into the yard.

I have a vet appointment to see whether there's anything obvious like an infection, maybe do a blood test to see what state she's in-- renal failure? Something else? -- it's just that it has been such a fast slide from 2 weeks ago.

My long-time vet (multiple dogs, 30+ years out of that clinic although he's younger than that--at any rate, his whole career spanning a good portion of that) has agreed to come out and look at her in the car so she doesn't have to go in to the vet, which has always overwhelmed her (gave her tranquilizers until recently).  The receptionist told me that he never does that. So I'm grateful, but who knows what he can really check there.

Feeling: Scared.

I love you, Teek; hold in there.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Modifications for Tika, who is flagging

SUMMARY: Floors and stairs

Some amusement and some downers.

Over the last couple of weeks, Tika has had a harder and harder time getting to her feet, particularly on slippery floors. And has been giving me a "you can't really mean that" look when she's needed to go up or down the 4 steps on my deck or split level--and I could see why, watching her going up and down and seeing her feet slip as she goes.

So I've spent a few days poking around at Home Depot and Bed, Bath, & Beyond looking for solutions that are useful but not too drastic or expensive to help.

New treads for the steps up the deck leading to the doggie door and kitchen:

After I installed those, Tika put her foot on the first step, took it off again, and glared at me. Still, she managed to accept the change and to continue to go up and down them on her own.

On the stairs between my office/den at ground level and the main floor:

I figured that she needed these carpet mats only on one side of the stairs and I could continue to walk up and down the side with the railing. When she started to go up the carpeted side, she glared at me, veered off to the slippery tiled side, and slipped her way up to the top.  Maybe I should've gone with the light-colored one even though the colors and pattern were uggghly.

Dinette floor (doggie door feeds in here, and this leads into the front entryway where I have additional carpets that I already had, and from there into the carpeted living/dining area):

I decided to go ahead and get a 5'x7' gray carpet and some new runners with light rubberized backing to which I added sturdier no-slip backing. She seemed to be OK with that, as the next morning she was sleeping on the gray carpet when I came downstairs, instead of on a bed or the little mats that had been there before.

However. I hope that it's not in vain.

Her appetite has flagged more and more over the last two weeks. I began to worry when she started refusing her Guard The House Goodie (a Milkbone treat) over the last week. She went from eating nearly 2 cups a day of kibble just 2 weeks ago to eating less and less of anything. I thought that maybe it's because I stopped going for walks (with her or anyone) during February--before that, I'd been walking her slowly for about half an hour about every other day for the previous month and a half or so.

So I vowed that I'd start walking her again. This morning, she seemed semi-interested in going for a walk, but hesitated in the doorway. I encouraged her. Hesitated at the top of the porch stairs, and again I encouraged her. Walked very slowly down the driveway, staggering a bit. (She has been doing that off and on for maybe a couple of months, but so much more yesterday and this morning.)

We got past the house next door, no sign of sniffing at anything or looking at anything. Then she just abruptly collapsed. Head down. Didn't want to move or raise her head. I knelt next to her and petted her for a while. Wouldn't have been so bad had we not stepped off the curb and been in the middle of the street just around a blind corner. Nice choice, Teeks.

I finally convinced her to stand (by hauling up on her harness) and we walked very very very very slowly back across the street and home. She collapsed as soon as she hit the back lawn and didn't move for an hour.

Today, she doesn't want to eat anything. Ate two treats that are a tiny bit bigger than Zuke's Minis. And gradually, over an hour, a small jar of Gerber chicken baby food, watered down so that she could lick it up.

Won't eat anything else so far that I've offered her. She NEVER turns down treats. Until now.

She finally did come into the house, but just barely--I left the downstairs door open into the office, and she walked in just far enough to be on the carpet and lay down there. Hasn't moved since that I can see.

I stand (sit/lie) corrected: I just checked, and she did move a couple of feet from where she had originally lain, and was sleeping until I walked through to adjust the door. Her head came up, eyes bright, ears perked. Head down again when it became clear that nothing interesting was happening.

She has been on the down side of this roller coaster ride before over the last couple of years, but I think that this is the lowest dip yet.

Oh, come on, Teek, pull it together--I just did all this footing stuff for you; you need to take advantage of it! Pleeeze.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Twin Beaks -- The Hummingbird Saga Part 2

SUMMARY: Babies is all growed up!
Backfill: Added February 20, 2016

(Read Part 1 here: Twin Beaks Part 1)

Feb. 18 7:57 p.m.

Twin Beaks Wed evening update 1: Jeez, the nest is SO tilted! This is not an optical illusion: The ceiling is my slanted porch roof. I used a rope to pull one side of the attached vine so that the nest is less tilted. I hope that this helps rather than hurts.

Dang, these babies are BIG tonight! If they don't fly off tomorrow morning, I'll be surprised. Has to be in the next day or two, max.

Feb 19 9:28 a.m.

It is so hard to get the focus in the right place when you can't see through the camera and are just holding it against the roof and hoping.

The focus is the middle of their backs, too bad. But this gives a nice idea of their feathering and how adult they're looking.  (And see how the nest is still tilted.)

They hardly move at all, but yet they watch me very very carefully.

They are SO ready to be thinking about flying! [Sobs] Babies grow up so fast! (About 18 days, in fact.)

They are such twins!

Feb 20 11:36 a.m.

I've blocked off the deck (much to the dogs' confusion) to give them a chance if by chance they touch the ground when they leave the nest. Usually, they fly right off the bat, being proud hummers. It has been 13 days since I first knew there were chicks in the nest. They sure look pretty grown up, though.

Feb 21 4:43 p.m.

Saturday's babies are still here. They're moving around now, feeling more confident or wary or both, when I move around to take their photos, whereas previously they've frozen. If anyone missed yesterday's link, here's a summary of egg to independence:  Baby Hummingbirds from World of Hummingbirds.

Continues being tough to get them in focus--

Oops, just the feathers are in focus.

Oops, just the face is in focus. Mostly. 

Oh, yeah, pretty close!

I don't know how both birds fit in here!  I can't stop taking photos! I love the pattern on his neck/chin!

Feb 22 11:25 a.m.

I was way off on when the chicks would be flying. But that's OK, I get to see more activity. They sure are moving around a lot now--stretching, scratching, looking around, moving around in the nest. Haven't seen any wing stretching yet, though.

Mama continues to feed them regularly. I don't know where she sleeps. Hard to get a shot of her because she is very aware of motion or changed things in her environment.  So all shots of her are through the window, after standing there for minutes on end, trying not to cramp up while holding the camera against the window.

And speaking of windows--there is a downside to having a hummer nest right next to your windows.  The nest is in the very upper left corner. Check out my sliding glass doors.

Yes, this: Hummer poop everywhere. And I washed them not long ago to get rid of the poop that was already there so it would be easier to take photos. Didn't take long for the 3 of them to propel their waste everywhere once again.

From Understanding Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds (mine are likely Anna's):
Housekeeping, Hummingbird Style 
With two nestlings eating and growing in the nest, how does the mother keep the nest clean? What happens to the fecal droppings of the nestlings? 
At one nest that was observed, the mother had lined up the nestlings’ fecal sacs in a row on a branch just above the nest. But generally, the mother either eats the feces, or she removes them and drops them at a distance from the nest to avoid attracting predators to the nest area. When the nestlings are mature enough, they back up to the nest’s edge and expel their feces over the side. Most species of perching birds manage nest sanitation in a similar fashion.

Feb 22, 12:16 p.m.

Twin Beaks, Saturday a.m. -- Still here, but looking more ready every day even though mamabird is still coming in every 20 minutes to cram food down their eager throats.

Live View on a DSLR: *Perfect* for all the hummer photos, as the nest is pretty much up at the ceiling, so I hold the camera also against the ceiling, where obviously I wouldn't be able to look through the normal viewfinder. (I tried holding the camera upside down to be able to, but that was a no-go.)

But, oh, my, I think the poop & holding the camera are worth it!

Feb 23, 10:39 a.m.

Tired of hummerchicks yet? Three photos today--this is about the best that I can get through the window looking up into the light coming through the roof.

I've been saying for a few days now that this HAS to be their last day in the nest! Look at these gorgeous birdies!

Hooooh, wowwww, hummingbirds have eyelashes!

These are my babies as seen from outside looking towards the house. FINALLY got both of their faces in focus together. I can't believe that they're not flying-look at the one perched on the edge there! (You can see that they turned around in the nest to keep an eye on me when I came outside.)

Feb 23, 4:16 p.m.

Hummingbird chick's first flights!

Hummingbird baby is flying!   (This is a long video with a lot of me talking and very little of the baby flying)  I managed to get two very quick flutters from one spot to the next. Then Mommabird coming to feed him. Then it gets a bit dull after 3:00. Around 4:30, momma feeds him again, then from 5:00-6:00 roughly he's stretching and preening and trying out his wings. Not great video, but I saw him taking one of his first flights! By the time I emptied my camera card and returned to the window, he was already back in his nest.

... And there's more to come!   (Read Twin Beaks Part 3)