Subscription Preview

To read the full article, you must log in or subscribe. Enter your email address:

Wearing hummingbirds


Back in the late 1970s, Doug Weinant, a just-retired range boss in the Crawford country of western Colorado, had the reputation of being a genius with hummingbirds. He and his wife, Alma, who lived in a remote mountain cabin, would put out a bunch of sugar-water feeders in the spring, and dozens of the birds would flock to them. In between their frequent draughts, they rested on the head, shoulders and long arms of Doug, who by that time was bow-legged to parentheses by decades of riding the range. The tiny birds appeared to regard him as a kind of benign hitching post, and no one else ever had as successful a relationship, reported the local newspaper, the North Fork Times. But now technology has found a way to attract a hummer to within inches of your face. California inventor Doyle Doss has created a colorful facemask that incorporates a hidden feeding tube over the nose; he calls it an "eye to eye" Wearable Hummingbird Feeder. The birds quickly learn to fly right up, wings beating at 80 times a second, and drink deep just inches from your face. Perhaps the only drawbacks are the potential for crossed eyes and the need to hold still. It's also pricey at $79.95, from


New York Times columnist Timothy Egan recently ripped into Arizona, calling the state "very, very crazy" because "even a spate of recent temperatures in the 105-degree range cannot explain the latest doings of government by crackpots." It seems that the secretary of state, "a wide-eyed fellow named Ken Bennett," began questioning -- yes, once again -- the birth certificate of President Obama and threatening to keep his name off the state's ballot. But in a move that speaks well of some Arizonans, "more than 17,000 people this week put their names on an online petition asking the secretary of state to investigate whether Mitt Romney is a unicorn."

Tips and photos of Western oddities are appreciated and often shared in this column. Write

From our friends

HCN in the outhouses of the West

From my Alaska trip: I flew into a small town that is not reachable by road, then hopped on a motorboat and drove across lakes and rivers for 2.5 hours to reach the scientists' camp way out in the boondocks -- out there they have a few rough cabins and a generator that makes electricity only in the evening and two outhouses -- and lo and behold, for reading material in the outhouses they have issues of the Economist magazines and HCN -- amazing to discover HCN readers way out there!

Ray Ring, HCN Senior Editor

Serious business

 "Keep up the good work. HCN is my daily read every morning at the outhouse!!! Sometimes I stay out there too long, just to finish an article." — Marc Valens, Ashland, OR