>Humming Bird Response – 12/19/08

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Quick Response. We received three quick emails regarding wintering hummingbirds in response to the photo and the person who was wondering what to do about about her hummingbird sugar water freezing.

Saturday Bird Count. Saturday is the day scheduled for the Audubon’s Christmas bird count, which we presume is going on today. So it is appropriate that we cover one of our local Puget Sound birds on this day.

Response #1

We put out our humming bird feeder and have a visitor.

Response #2

Hi, Jim…In regards to feeding the humming birds, we have had 4 or 5 that stayed over the last few years. In freezing weather we bring the feeder in after dark and put it back out early in the morning. Also the feeder is hanging under the eves on the southeast side of the house, so it gets some protection. It also helps to keep the feeder full. If you keep the feeder out and full after you think the season is over, they will stay around, but you must keep feeding them once you start.

Response #3


It occurs to me I hadn’t yet sent you the attached photos of the male Annas hummingbird I mentioned. The little Annas humming bird has taken up residence in our backyard this winter. The photos were taken from 400mm lens last Tuesday afternoon when skies were sunny and bright.

My wife and I are rotating two humming bird feeders to keep them from thawing, then bring them in at night. We put the feeder out at day break and within 30 seconds the hummer is at the feeder. Annas area known to winter-over in Puget Sound area, but this is a first for us.

Apparently, the Annas humming birds can go into a torpid state which is essentially short term hibernation overnight during sub-freezing temperatures, then wake themselves up in morning. It’s remarkable these little guys can survive in such frigid temperatures. We’re mixing at just over 2 parts water to 1 part sugar for winter time feeding. It helps the juice from freezing so fast. So far, so good.

Thank you for your input and the photos.

Jim Aho