Anyone know about hummingbirds?

ellen_portland(z8 OR)December 6, 2010

I took down my feeders since we had the freezing temps and now we just put up our Christmas lights- the feeder was just under the eaves.

Our lights are the cascading icicles. I just looked out my window and the hummingbird was trying to feed off of each tiny little light bulb!!? I guess they look like little buds? albeit a weird, white vine?

Hope they don't hurt themselves!! What do hummingbirds do for food during the winter??? I didn't know how long I could keep my feeders up...


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sundevil(z7 WA)

Some hummingbirds don't migrate so if their food source goes away they die. Clamp lights shining on feeders when the temps get below freezing will keep your hummers happy this Winter.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 6:02PM
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What kind of a feeder are you using? You can also wrap a string of Christmas lights around the base of your feeder or if you have the saucer type, you can set the saucer on top of a strand of lights. Please consider offering a solution of 1/4c sugar to 3/4c water during the winter. This mixture will start freezing solid if the temps drop below 15.

Anna's Hummingbirds eat insects as well as nectar during the winter. My Mahonia media x Charity just finished blooming, I have Hellebores in bloom now and soon my Mahonia Bealea and Pink Dawn Vibunum will be blooming.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 6:54PM
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Overwintering Anna's have lots of food sources in the PNW in winter. My mahonias haven't started blooming yet but in my old garden they were busy at heaths, hellebores, the remaining flowers of any hardy fuchsias (often in bloom until around Christmas, but not this year!), Schizostylis, Clematis cirrhosa, Viburnum tinus (which always tended to have at least some blooms in midwinter), sarcococca, Darwin barberry and Grevillea and eventually shrubs like witch hazels and winter hazels. And as flowerpower notes, they consume as many insects - if not more - than they seek out nectar sources.

I tend to have my feeders up mostly in fall and winter as spring and summer offer so many natural nectar sources. In cold weather - like we had right before Thanksgiving - I just bring the feeders in at night and hang them back up during the day. They were often waiting nearby and buzzed me as I was rehanging, they were that eager for breakfast! Haven't tried the Christmas light thing yet :-)

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 7:51PM
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Patrick888(z8 SeaTac WA)

I have the "traditional" feeder, a glass jar with a screw-on plastic base with 4 ports. During our recent Arctic blast I wrapped a 15-bulb string of mini Christmas lights around the plastic base & lower part of the jar. I made sure a few wraps placed bulbs beneath the feeder base. The "nectar" stopped freezing. As a bonus, my alpha male Anna's discovered he could straddle a bulb and have himself a warming station!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 10:44PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Did anyone notice this slideshow on Ch 5? I'd rather think about them someplace south in the sunshine but they seem to be managing.

I did notice though with the three I'm seeing here - on that coldest Tuesday before Thanksgiving, after they would feed, instead of flying up to their more usual perches in the top of a philadelphus and viburnum, they were flying down - and staying low in a rhododendron and close to it in caryopteris.

Here is a link that might be useful: King 5 hummingbird slide

    Bookmark   December 9, 2010 at 11:05AM
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fireweed_1947(Western Wa 8)

We have been feeding hummingbirds through the winter for several years. The regulars are 2 Rubythroat males and 1-2 females - not sure which species - many look the same. Like flowerpowereverett, I increase the sugar content but I still bring feeders in at night. Yes, they come buzzing up like "Do you know what TIME it is? We are out here freezing and you can't be bothered to get up any SOONER??"

    Bookmark   December 13, 2010 at 12:44AM
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