I had a message on Facebook from Milwaukee Dan #1 this morning, and he said that he and his wife saw a hummingbird around their azalea last evening. I've had one feeder up for a week or so now, so I knew it was only a matter of time. Sure enough, early this afternoon, I heard that little buzz and knew they were back! There was a male on the feeder. I haven't seen him since then, but now I know they're back, and I can hang out the other feeder at the front of the house (it seems to help keep down on the fighting).
I also saw a Rose-breasted Grosbeak this morning, both male and female, so they're back, too. I'll put out some orange halves soon, because the Orioles won't be far behind. Isn't it funny how you kind of get to know and love some of these birds, and are happy to see them return year after year? Or maybe it's just me.
Speaking of birds, Happy World Penguin Day! And thanks to Craig Ferguson for pointing it out on his show last night. As much as I love penguins, I had no idea today is World Penguin Day. I don't think I've written much about my love for penguins. I collect figurines and stuffed animals (although I've quit buying the latter), and this is one of my favorites, and one of my pricier ones, purchased in San Francisco. I like to get one from every city I visit, but I have price limits. I still don't have one from New Orleans, because the only ones I saw were in the Quarter, and about $150. I don't love penguins that much! I took this guy out of the curio cabinet to get his picture, and I don't even want to tell you how many I have...I've never actually counted, but there are probably a couple hundred. They take up four of five shelves in the corner curio.
I still remember how I came to collect them, too. I was in my mid-20's, and everyone likes to collect something, right? My sister Diana collects unicorns, and my sister Sue collects angels. I hadn't figured out yet what I was going to collect, when my friend Lisa from the lab came over one afternoon. We were enjoying a few amber beverages, and an animal show came on, and it was all about penguins. They were so cute, and the way they waddled made me laugh till I cried. I figured that any creature that could bring me such enjoyment and happiness was something very special, and my collection was born. They still make me smile, and as I was watching the video at the end of this entry, I said, "Awww!" several times. Of course, I loved "March of the Penguins," and I'm glad that it showed the world what I've known for many years: these are remarkable creatures worthy of love, respect, and every effort to preserve their habitat.
Again speaking of birds--the cookin' kind--the plan is to have our first barbecue tonight, with a chicken I thawed out last night. I'm hoping the weather will cooperate. It's been a little on the gloomy side, with a thunderstorm earlier today, and lots of wind.
Ken has been doing online research to find a place for his Mom and stepdad when they move up here at the end of May. He found several possibilities. I've been catching up on magazines, and read in Time about a cool thing that colleges and universities are doing. There's a channel on YouTube for education, and you can find hundreds of videos of lectures from professors from several universities, including Yale, Dartmouth, MIT, Notre Dame, and many, many others. You don't get credit for watching the lecture, obviously, but what a great way to open up education from world-class professors to anyone with a high speed connection! I've already found one that I want to watch, about pandemic influenza, which is especially timely considering the outbreak of a new strain in Mexico.
Which, by the way, doesn't qualify as a pandemic...yet. But it's serious business, and has the potential to be a big problem. It's a genetic combination of swine, human, and avian strains, and dozens have already died. Surveillance is being heightened, and there may be some travel restrictions at some point. I'll be watching this story closely.
Is that enough topics for this entry? I think so! I've already got another one percolating, though, and I'm not sure if it can wait till tomorrow. I'm very agitated.