Anyone else feeding Anna Hummingbirds in winter?

janalyn(sw BC)November 21, 2013

I live in Vancouver, BC and have been feeding hummingbirds here for about 25 years. About three years ago, I started seeing Anna hummingbirds hanging around after the rufous all migrated. I have counted at least four this year. We have had freezing temperatures for the past three nights (-3 degrees celsius or about 27 farenheit) so the little guys need all the help they can get. I still had hanging baskets of fushias blooming up until this freeze and the birds were still feeding from them but now they are really relying on my feeders. I don't think there are too many little bugs around anymore.
My husband insulated the outside of one of the feeders last year and threaded it with plumbers heating wire so that it would come on when the temperature reached freezing level. I even put up a sign in our neighbourhood asking other bird lovers to keep up their feeders, with info on the sugar water ratio etc.
So I am really hoping for a mild winter :).

Anyway, anyone else helping hummingbirds out during the winter?

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mbrowne(9b Central CA)

Yes, but the Annas are a perennial around here in central California. They do get the winter pear-shape though. Yesterday was a gloomy day, but here are a couple of shots:

    Bookmark   November 23, 2013 at 4:14PM
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janalyn(sw BC)

Those are some beautiful pics. When it snows here we often get the big cotton ball clumps that drift softly down. Last year one of the hummers was flying around in that to get to the feeder, it looked like he was playing dodge ball. :)

    Bookmark   November 24, 2013 at 11:39AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

I'm on the other side of the country and was under the impression that there weren't any around this area for winter but saw one Thursday. It visited every flower on a large Camellia shrub, then buzzed by my head, chittering, having a great time! I don't know them well enough to know what kind it was but it was definitely some kind of hummingbird.

I reported the sighting to this site and received this reply:

"It may come as a shock to you, but your hummingbird could easily be one of a dozen species that we now know live in Alabama in winter. We are fortunate to have in our banding/research studies, Mr. Fred Bassett of Montgomery who does a lot of research work in your part of the state.

If you do not have a hummingbird feeder at your home, please hang a feeder now. Mix your sugar water solution 4 parts water to 1 part sugar if you will.

With your permission, if the hummer starts coming to your feeder, he would like to come to your yard and try to capture, band/document and identify your uncommon wintering hummer. The most important people in our study of these tiny birds are folks like you who discover them in winter and then contact us."

    Bookmark   December 2, 2013 at 9:42AM
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mbrowne(9b Central CA)

That's pretty cool. I hope you'll provide updates. What kind of temperatures are you getting?

    Bookmark   December 2, 2013 at 1:35PM
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I live on south-eastern Vancouver Island and Anna's Hummingbirds stay all winter, every winter. I have to have a feeder with fluid in it ready to put out first thing on winter mornings as the overnight feeder often freezes. The birds are sitting there waiting for me to put it out. This photo was from 2006 and there was a lot of snow at the time. This winter I have 3 coming regularly but a friend nearby counted 15-20 coming to his feeders today.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 9:28PM
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janalyn(sw BC)

Hi Brightmeadow!
We were away in Hawaii during that really bad cold spell in early December, but had the heated hummingbird feeder up and two others in the front that had Christmas spotlights on them to keep them from freezing. Was so happy when we got back to see them the three hummers still around and feeding. :)

That would be amazing to have 15-20 buzzing around in the winter!

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 2:35AM
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Hi Janalyn. That is great that you thought of the birds before going on your trip!

I should also mention that we have a small garden pond with a waterfall and ALL of the birds drink and bathe in the falling water all year around. Even when the pond itself is frozen, the birds still bathe. It is a magnet for all the migrating songbirds as well.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 7:03PM
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Wow! I am touched by the generosity of you all toward the hummers.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 9:48AM
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I had no idea Alabama hosted winter hummers

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 8:09AM
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janalyn(sw BC)

Well they made it through the worst of the cold. Fortunately, we have had a mild winter and there were only a few days when they had to huddle in the snow. Counted at least six annas at the feeders yesterday and apparently they start nesting later this month. The Rufous start arriving in about a month. Oh happy days!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 8:32PM
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I want to introduce you to an incredible website with videos of hummingbirds in Victoria, British Columbia. Be sure to notice that the Anna's Hummingbirds were nesting this year in February including during a really cold snap that included snow. Here it is:

Here is a link that might be useful: Hummingbirds Up Close

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 7:17PM
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