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OK to feed hummingbirds in fall — they’ll migrate if they want to

humm1

Hummingbirds will migrate when they feel the urge, whether you’re feeding them or not.

I’ve received a few e-mails lately from readers who are concerned that if they keep filling their hummingbird feeders, it will prevent those tiny flying flowers from taking off on their winter migration. That’s not true. Birds will migrate if and when they want to.
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Posted on Wednesday, October 8th, 2008
Under: hummingbirds, Migration | No Comments »

Hummingbirds & freezing nights

Hummingbirds are hypothermic. They stop moving, their body temperatures will drop dangerously low and they sometimes pass out when the days and nights get as cold as they have recently.

These little guys burn up a lot of energy buzzing around the skies and they have huge appetites to replace that lost energy.

During the cold winter months, these tiny flying flowers rely a lot on the nectar in your hummingbird feeder. Your feeder can freeze during a really cold night and hummers obviously can’t drink from a frozen feeder.

Plain water starts to freeze at 32 degrees F., but the hummingbird nectar in your feeder starts to freeze (gets slushy) at about 26 to 27 degrees because of the added sugar (nectar formula is 4 parts water to 1 part sugar). So on freezing nights, bring your feeder inside the house before you go to bed to keep it at room temperature … and put it back outside just before sunrise so it will be ready and waiting (and UNfrozen!) when your hummingbird arrives for breakfast.

If you forget to do this and discover a frozen feeder some morning, replace the frozen nectar with a fresh unfrozen supply ASAP.

They need to eat early to get their tiny hypothermic bodies recharged and heated up so they can face the new day. /gary

Posted on Monday, January 14th, 2008
Under: Cold weather, hummingbirds | 8 Comments »

STAY COOL!

Keep your hummingbird feeders OUT of the sun!
You don’t want your back yard hummers to stick their beaks into boiling HOT nectar the next time they come to feed. It could scald those little flying flowers … and even kill them.

There are a number of ways to deal with the problem of hot hummingbird feeders.

** Make sure the feeder stays in the shade. Remember, the sun moves.

** Change the nectar frequently. When the weather is hot it doesn’t take long for the sugary nectar to go bad.

** If there’s a heat wave and it’s REALLY hot, take your feeder(s) down and out of use until the heat wave passes. Hummingbirds tend to visit feeders about 25 percent of the time and drink from flowers the other 75 percent, so there will be plenty for them to eat while your feeder is out of circulation for a few days.

Thanks for caring!

Posted on Friday, June 22nd, 2007
Under: hummingbirds | 1 Comment »

Turn on the tea water and the warm nectar

It was really cold this morning. I glanced out the back window and saw that the frost on the neighbors’ rooftops was shimmering in the moonlight. After turning on the tea water for my wife, I carefully slid across the icy back deck and hopped across the lawn to recover the hummingbird feeder from where it was hanging from a limb on the apple tree.

One look when I got back into the kitchen showed that the nectar in the feeder was frozen. I thawed the frozen nectar and replaced it with a new batch made from warm water and then returned it to the apple tree. Out little male Anna’s hummer would get a warm drink of morning nectar and a pleasant surprise in a half-hour or so when the sun came up.

That’s my job every morning when I get up before the sun to go to work. Turn on the tea water so my wife can make herself a cup of hot tea when she gets up in another hour to head for her job. And then replace the frozen liquid in the hummingbird feeder with a fresh warm batch of nectar so that little winged tiger can get energized and start guarding the backyard.

Then when I get to work I can get a hot cup of coffee out of the machine and start writing about it.

Posted on Monday, January 16th, 2006
Under: Animals, hummingbirds, wild birds, Wildlife | 2 Comments »