comes to town
Yes, her name is Frosty and shes not a snowman!
Frosty is a feisty, tiny female calliope hummingbird, weighing
in at just 3.57 grams. This bird has never been seen in Indiana
before. She has decided to make her home with Norma and Dave Jackson
on O&M Street in North Vernon.
Normally, hummingbirds have flown south by November 15 each year,
but, Frosty appears to be quite comfortable here in southeastern
Indiana for an extended stay.
She has been stirring quite a bit of excitement among birders
in the area. To date, she has had 115 visitors with that number
growing every day. She actually has even had a visitor from as
far away as Chicago!
According to Norma Jackson, Frosty has had a visit and a check-up
from a bander, Tim Tolford from Liberty, Indiana. Tolford banded
Frosty on December 27. He is one of only 100 banders in the United
States and is state and federally licensed as a bander.
According to Norma, Tolford is really good at what he does. The
Jacksons say they would highly recommend him to anyone.
He caught Frosty in a small net, measured her wingspan and weighed
her. Frosty did her part, too. She held incredibly still for this
event, making not a peep until he was finished.
Tolford was able to definitely identify Frosty as a female hummingbird
due to the white spots on her tail feathers. Norma said he worked
quickly and gently with Frosty. The Jacksons were
able to hold Frosty briefly and release her back to her world.
Norma said she could feel Frostys heartbeat, which beat
like a little motor running.
Norma said she and her husband are happy to share Frosty with
others. Dan Gorney, president of the Amos W. Butler Audubon Society
in Indianapolis, has been a frequent visitor to see Frosty. There
is a fear that Frosty might freeze if the weather changes. According
to Gorney, Shell know when to leave and will not freeze.
Other visitors have come from the Muscatatuck Wildlife Refuge
and Amy Wilms, president of the Indiana Audubon Society has made
a visit. Ryan Sanderson, a photographer from Indianapolis, has
taken many pictures of Frosty.
What makes Frostys stay in Indiana so remarkable is that
she has been identified by Bob Sargent, member of the Hummer Bird
Society from Clay, Alabama, as a calliope hummingbird. No one
has ever seen a calliope in Indiana before. Up until this time,
there have been five species of hummingbirds that have made their
home in Indiana and Frosty now represents the sixth group.
According to bander Tim Tolford, the hummingbird species known
as the calliope is the smallest breeding bird in North America
with a life expectancy of 3-5 years. Frosty was probably born
last summer. These birds typically weigh about the same as a penny.
Calliope hummingbirds normally winter in Mexico and spend the
summer months in the northwest United States and southwestern
Canada. Frosty is a vagrant, meaning she has somehow gotten sidetracked
She was named Frosty by the Jacksons. The day they named it, she
was sitting on the bird feeder and there was frost on the ground.
They decided Frosty would be an appropriate name for
the bird who is braving the cold weather to take up residence
The Jacksons have come to think of Frosty as their pet,
part of the family, who joined them to help celebrate the Christmas
season. Norma said, Frosty is Gods little gift to
us, one of His precious creatures that we enjoy. We invite everyone
to come visit Frosty and share the joy. You might want to
call the Jacksons first at 812-346-7306 to see if Frosty
Frosty usually hangs out in the Jacksons backyard in the
mornings. She even has a heated bird feeder that was provided
by Dan Gorney.
Watching Frosty is a rare treat.
COURTESY OF RYAN SANDERSON
Pictured above, Frosty, the little hummingbird
that has taken up residency in North Vernon, gets a drink
from the feeder at the home of Norma and Dave Jackson
on O&M Street.