Arnette Heidcamp

The best things in life…

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A Hummingbird in My House

From the Inside Flap
"One unseasonably cold day in late October 1988, long after all the other little hummingbirds had left for their sojourn in more tropical climes, l found, left behind in my garden, a young male ruby-throated hummingbird. Alone there he would surely die." And that is how Squeak came to be the author's guest for that whole winter, growing up and thriving happily in the verdant sunroom of her house in Saugerties, New York.

Day after day Arnette Heidcamp photographed Squeak in all his joyous activities, from the time he stretched his wings in the morning until he settled himself for the night. She snapped him while he visited flowers or ate from his feeder, as he flew around the room for his early exercises, as he ingeniously bathed himself. Much of the time Squeak would perch and preen, then sunbathe and scratch. A favorite flower was the hibiscus, whose petals he impatiently pierced to get to the nectar. He was also inordinately fond of insects bountifully supplied by his hostess. He always slept on the skinniest branch he could find.

Toward spring, Squeak began to molt to replace his old and worn-out feathers. At the same time he showed signs of sexual awakening by "displaying," then mounting the buds of the flowers.
Finally the day arrived to release Squeak, May 14, when the other hummers began to return. After half an hour of coaxing to get him out of the house, Squeak finally flew out and over the rooftop. That was the last Arnette saw of him.

A Hummingbird in My House, with its fifty-seven gorgeous full-color photographs and ten adorable drawings, is a heartwarming true story of a little hummingbird that will delight bird lovers of all ages.

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RosieMy Rufous Hummingbird

From the Inside Flap
After having a hummingbird named Squeak in her house for the |988-1989 winter, Arnette Heidcamp was overjoyed to he visited by another hummingbird. This time it was a female, an off-course rufous hummingbird, who had flown all the way from the West Coast to Arnette's house in Saugerties, New York. She named the bird Rosie. As Squeak had done previously, Rosie spent the winter of 1993-1994 in the flower-filled sunroom. Here Arnette shot seventy-five full-color endearing photographs of her welcomed guest's nightly and daily activities; sleeping, waking up, bathing, eating, preening, and visiting all the lovely flowers that so attracted Rosie.

Rosie had a special tree, a tall branch with many skinny twigs. lt practically reached the ceiling and became the core of the majority of her activities. Rosie loved to bathe and spent much of her time in the shower and under the waterfall.

During the winter, Rosie began her molting period, replacing her old worn-out feathers. Then toward late l\/larch Rosie showed an interest in nesting materials. She would pick at the cotton sheeting, grabbing the nap in her beak and tugging on it. More and more she seemed to indicate she would like to build a nest, perhaps in anticipation of when she would live in the wild again.

Rosie and Squeak were different in many ways. Rosie was fickle, feisty, and capricious, Squeak was very laid-back. Rosie was more of an aggressive hunter and showed more sexual awakenings.

Then came the time in May to finally release Rosie. "l removed the screen from the window and she went out as nonchalantly as though she had been going in and out all day. She perched on a tree and inspected the leaves, moving higher and higher. Then a male rubythroat suddenly appeared at the feeder, distracting my attention. When l looked back for Rosie, she was gone."

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My Winter Guests

From the Inside Flap
Arnette Heidcamp has had more experiences with hummingbirds in her house than any other bird lover. After sharing the story of Squeak and Rosie, she now tells us about ten more feathered visitors in Hummingbirds: My Winter Guests.

Arnette's winter guests were birds who because of illness or injury were unable to fly south for the winter, or birds that had migrated to the wrong place and needed a winter refuge. Among them were Charlie, a rubythroat who was attacked by a cat; Little Peeper, with a shoulder injury; K-T, the little miracle bird who flew into a window at full speed and survived; Little One, a baby hummingbird who was abandoned when her nest was destroyed; and finally, joining K-T in the sunroom for a winter filled with hummingbird interaction, Cry- stal and Red, Arnette's third and fourth rufous hummingbirds in three years.

Sooner or later all of Arnette's guests, much to her sorrow, left her to return to their hummingbird wilds. She is happy for them but misses them all.

Here is another charming tale in a most readable series, a wonderful tribute to the indomitable spirit of the hummingbird. Hummingbirds: My Winter Guests will have you examining closely each tiny bird you are fortunate enough to see, in search of K-T, Charlie, and all of Arnette's feathered friends.

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HummingbirdsMy Tiny Treasures

From the Inside Flap
Since 1988, Arnette Heidcamp's home in Saugerties, New York, has been a temporary home to more than a dozen delicate, jewel-colored hummingbirds—nature's own tiny treasures. Hummingbirds who have wandered off course during their migration or have been too ill to fly south for the winter have found refuge with Arnette, whose neighbors jokingly ca|| her "Hummingbird 9ll." In her brightly lit sunroom, where tropical flowers blossom and a moss-covered waterfall trickles, these tiny winged guests are nursed back to health. Here Arnette has captured in hundreds of full-color photographs the birds' nightly and daily activities: sleeping, eating, bathing, preening, and visiting their own private banquet of flowers. A steady diet of fruit flies and nectar plus daily baths in the waterfall and lots of loving attention restore their amazing vitality and in the spring the beloved guests are released back into the wild.

ln these three charming books—
A Hummingbird in My House, Rosie, My Rufous Hummingbird, and Humminglairds: My Winter Guests—we meet these beautiful, endearing birds, each with its own distinct personality. There's Squeak, the first hummingbird to capture Arnette's heart, Rosie, a born insect hunter who was as feisty as they come, plus K-T, Charlie, and Little One, injured birds who learned to fly and play again in the warm safety of the sunroom.

Now in one volume—complete with the author's astonishing full-color photographs—Arnette Heidcamp's stories about her life with hummingbirds is a tribute to the indomitable spirit of these lovely birds as well as a heart-warming tale about the bond between humans and our feathered friends.

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Bluebirds in My House

From the Inside Flap
Bluebirds in My House covers all three species of bluebirds found in the United States; the Eastern bluebird (Sialia sialis), the Western bluebird (Sialia mexicana), and the mountain bluebird (Sialia currocoides). Arnette Heidcamp introduces their physical description, their range and habitat, their diet while breeding, their postbreeding activity, and their behavior and territoriality.

Bluebirds have had to fight for survival. ln the last half-century, their population has declined by 90 percent. Arnette tells of the nationwide effort to save them, and her own and others' provision of nesting boxes to keep them from parasites and predators. Also, she furnishes her recipes for feeding them during each season.

For several months, Arnette boarded two orphaned bluebirds, during which time she shot hundreds of color photographs of their lives and activities. More than eighty beautiful, captivating ones are included in the book.
Here, in words and pictures, are the activities of a season's bluebird family beginning when they usher in spring and ending with their late fall departure. What Arnette has done in previous books with hummingbirds Squeak and Rosie, she now does with her lovable family of bluebirds.

Also by Arnette Heidcamp—Below are two additional articles written about hummingbirds. The first, Gardening with Hummingbirds, appeared in The American Horticultural Society's publication (The American Gardener, May/June 2001, pp. 22-27); and the second, Selasphorus Hummingbirds, appeared in American Birding Association's publication (Birding, Volume XXIX Number 1 (Feb.1977), pp.18-29), both of which are available here for reading. Click on the corresponding hummingbird to access the article (it opens in a new window). Then experiment with zoom in and out (+/-) for the best focus.