Birding in British Columbia

A starting place for birding information for British Columbia, Canada. This web site features a birders discussion forum, links to birding newsgroups, articles and book reviews, checklists, regional hotspots, photo gallery, weather reports, and visiting birder information.
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 Post subject: Humming birds in December
PostPosted: Dec 10 5:39 pm 
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Joined: Dec 10 2:20 pm
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I saw two hummingbirds in my back yard today ( December 10) this is the second time I have seen them, and I am pretty sure they are Anna’s. What can I do for them, it is too cold to put the feeder back out, it will only freeze. Has anyone else seem them.


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 Post subject: Re: Humming birds in December
PostPosted: Dec 10 6:03 pm 
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Joined: Aug 07 3:33 pm
Posts: 186
They most likely are Anna’s - they are tough little birds who do not migrate and therefore can use some extra help this time of year. I have used those air-activated hand warmers in past years. If you have a flat-bottomed feeder bring it in at night and then (here’s the bad part) you have to get up before sunrise, tape a couple warmers to the bottom and put the feeder out for the day. Because the days are so short now 1 set of warmers lasts all day. They are available at Canadian Tire.
This year I bought a hummingbird feeder warmer at Wild Birds Unlimited. It is basically a low wattage bulb that attaches to the bottom of the feeder (again, the flat-bottomed type). The advantage is you can leave it on all the time so you can stay in bed on those really cold mornings. I haven’t tried it yet but there are some good reviews online.
If your feeder is different there was someone on this forum who had quite a nice set-up that he had designed himself. His was one of the tube-type feeders as I recall. Perhaps he will post about it again.


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 Post subject: Re: Humming birds in December
PostPosted: Dec 10 9:18 pm 
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Joined: Apr 30 6:06 pm
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I keep extra feeders full and switch them out in the morning if the outdoor one is frozen. Of course, this is no good if it is sub zero all day, but OK for Lower Mainland!


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 Post subject: Re: Humming birds in December
PostPosted: Dec 10 10:22 pm 
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Joined: Aug 07 3:33 pm
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I re-read my post and realized that I didn’t explain why you need to put the feeder out before sunrise. It’s because hummers go into a state called torpor at night where they lower their metabolic rate by as much as 95% which causes a dramatic lowering of body temperature, heart and breathing rate. They actually appear to be dead! This enables their overnight survival in cold weather when they are unable to feed. They slowly awaken before dawn with only enough energy to get them to their first feeding and that’s why, if they are used to going to your feeder, you must have it ready and waiting for them.
I hope I don’t sound like I’m lecturing. I love the hummers that come to my feeder (mostly Anna’s but also the occasional Rufous in summer, which the resident Anna’s quickly chase away) so I’ve done some research on them. Fascinating birds.


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