Birding in British Columbia

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 Post subject: Hummingbird living here and it is getting cold.
PostPosted: Nov 18 1:53 pm 
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Rutland area and we have a hummingbird living around our house. Every year we leave one feeder on the north side of the house for birds passing through on migration. Never had any issue before, but this year we have one hummer that is not leaving. She is actively feeding, and very vocal in the leafless lilacs, and even buzzes me out on the south-west side where we hang a feeder from a pine in season, leading me to believe that she is familiar with all our feeders that we took down in early September.

My question is to those who care, should we take down this last feeder and force the bird to move on? Is it too late? We are expecting the temperature to plummet ten days from now and are very concerned. Many hummingbirds nest around our house, and the seasonal nests are now visible with the leaf drop, but I can't see them surviving.


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 Post subject: Re: Hummingbird living here and it is getting cold.
PostPosted: Nov 18 8:27 pm 
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Joined: Mar 28 12:28 pm
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Location: Vancouver
It is strange for a hummingbird to stay around there for so long. Do you know what species she is?
You should keep your feeder up if the hummingbird keeps coming. Migration is triggered by factors like the length of day, not food sources, so your feeding won't stop her from leaving. Keeping your feeder up could save the hummingbird by providing an energy boost before she heads south.

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 Post subject: Re: Hummingbird living here and it is getting cold.
PostPosted: Nov 18 9:36 pm 
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Thank-you for the input esle, she appears to be a large Calliope. The Calliope nest here, and the Rufous and Black Chinned pass through in spring and late summer. We were seeing different Calliope through to the end of September from elsewhere as ours had left, then this one in October every few days (she seems MUCH larger than our usual birds). Now she is regular fixture since the first week of November. My wife says she started showing up around 9:30 a.m. every morning since the first of the month, coinciding with the morning yoga routine. Then I hear and see her when I get home from work and all weekend long she is around the house.
The mixture is 1:1 sugar and water, and is fresh. And it is still warm enough out that we have small insects near the house. Family in White Rock had an Anna's stay all winter with them feeding from the upstairs feeder, but Kelowna is nothing like White Rock when winter hits. My wife says leave it up and keep her energized, and the neighbour says take the feeder down and force her to move on. The Rufous and Black Chinned were gone by the end of August and even an early October sighting for a Calliope was unheard of for us until this year.


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 Post subject: Re: Hummingbird living here and it is getting cold.
PostPosted: Nov 19 2:21 pm 
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Joined: Jun 01 4:29 pm
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Location: Malahat, B.C.
It is my opinion that the feeder should remain as long as she is using it. It is a very long journey, and many young hummers will have to gain enough fat stores to see them through the trip. Se may not be able to leave because she does not have the required stores yet. Her survival may depend on your feeder staying available for her.

It is true that many Anna's stay in BC during the winter. I have such a female at my feeders at the top of the Malahat on Vancouver Island. I will leave the feeder and watch everyday for her arrival. I too am concerned about the temperature, and hope she will move into Victoria, where warmer temps, more shelter, and many more feeders will see her through the winter.

I wish both little birds luck!

Deborah
Malahat BC


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 Post subject: Re: Hummingbird living here and it is getting cold.
PostPosted: Nov 21 5:29 pm 
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Location: Pitt Meadows
You seem to be very familiar with the local hummers in your area but if it feels too large for a Caliope maybe it is something else. It's the time of year for wrong way vagrants and there are more than a few around at the moment.

e.g. Cave Swallow in Vancouver, Citrine Wagtail in Comox, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and previous Elegant Tern in Victoria.

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Pitt Meadows


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 Post subject: Re: Hummingbird living here and it is getting cold.
PostPosted: Nov 21 7:45 pm 
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She comes within eight feet of us at the window, and has buzzed my head twice now from less than four feet, plus her vocalizations are the same as a chatterbox hummingbird. She sits on the feeder for 10-20 seconds, then rests in the lilac for minutes before returning to the feeder. My wife tells me she was here today, but then was startled easily again by the yoga moves; the normal locals aren't bothered by us at all. She is big though, but I always see her in silhouette or have been dodging her. Hopefully I will not see her again this year, but as of the 21st of November she is still around.


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 Post subject: Nov 23 and still feeding.
PostPosted: Nov 23 4:31 pm 
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November 23 and still here drinking the 1:1 mix. I did an audio recording of her and watched with binoculars while she sat in the lilac and called out for a few minutes. Her feathers are now puffed up and she is calling in an alternating left/right pattern to the North and to the East respectively each time. Plus six today, but we are another 300 meters above the lake. Bright green back with a grey chest and no throat markings, but appears to be the largest hummingbird we have ever seen in length and girth. In a season we use 40+ pounds of sugar, and have all four stations filled with birds with as many hovering or in the lilacs and pine waiting for a turn, and this one is unique; maybe it is too big too make the journey? Obesity is not a joke, and maybe that is what we have contributed too in this case.


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 Post subject: Re: Hummingbird living here and it is getting cold.
PostPosted: Nov 23 11:07 pm 
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Location: Pitt Meadows
On checking eBird records I found that there haven't been any humingbird sightings during the period October through years end for at least the last seven years so your sighitng is significant.

I have advised a few Kelowna birders of your sighitng. They maybe able to supply a likely species. On the coast Anna's Hummingbird would be a likely candidate. eBird records do not show Anna's for the Okanagan to this point

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Pitt Meadows


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 Post subject: Re: Hummingbird living here and it is getting cold.
PostPosted: Nov 27 7:18 am 
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The description sounds like an Anna's Hummingbird. This species is non-migratory.

Guy L. Monty
Nanoose Bay, Vancouver Island, BC


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 Post subject: Re: Hummingbird living here and it is getting cold.
PostPosted: Nov 27 5:17 pm 
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Guy,
I took photographs this time, she is here today still. You seem to be correct in that her bill is straight, her wing tips meet, and she is large. I can't say we have ever seen one (Anna's) here before any time of the year, and we see many many hummingbirds, but never into November. We are going to have to figure out how to keep the feeder warm enough to flow pretty soon.


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 Post subject: Re: Hummingbird living here and it is getting cold.
PostPosted: Nov 28 1:51 pm 
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Joined: Dec 14 7:03 pm
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I am in Vancouver and have about 4 anna's that regularly visit my feeder. Hope yours will move on to warmer places soon. Have you been using a 1:1 mixture for a long time? My mixture is 1:4 (sugar:water) and i've heard no complaints from the anna's :). should the mixture change when the cliimate is colder?

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 Post subject: Re: Hummingbird living here and it is getting cold.
PostPosted: Nov 29 9:33 am 
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Joined: Feb 14 9:33 pm
Posts: 25
Hello,
Wild Birds Unlimited store in Vancouver told us last year that when it gets cold we should use a 3:1 ratio water to sugar. Also it was suggested that we always keep another feeder ready indoors at room temperature so it could be quickly exchanged for the cold one.
We are seeing 1-2 Anna's HB everyday and last winter did the feeder shuttle during the cold snaps.
Jean


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 Post subject: December 7th, 2012 - Still here.
PostPosted: Dec 07 10:58 pm 
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Joined: Nov 18 1:39 pm
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Well, she is still here feeding actively, though the squirrel and finches interrupt regularly. We are leaving the feeder out, and at 1:1 for several supported reasons. Hoping for the best, and appreciate the input from other board members so far.


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 Post subject: Re: Hummingbird living here and it is getting cold.
PostPosted: Dec 08 11:28 pm 
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Joined: Jul 12 11:14 am
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Hello sir:

I'm glad to hear you have a Calliope Hummingbird coming regularly to the feeder. I managed to get my first one this August in Little Fort, BC. As for questions and concerns about whether these hummers should move south where it's warmer, there seems to be a climate trend now where different species of hummers are moving further north and beginning to stay year round. An example of this is the Anna's Hummingbird which has become a regular visitor and resident during the last 3 or 4 winters, from Vancouver to Hope. It may well be that they are hear to stay. As for the cold, some are making shelters for them where the feeders are hung inside. Having 2 feeders shift on a rotational basis is good. Also rigging up a trouble light/flood lamp or anything to keep the sugar solution from freezing is very important. Experiencing brain freeze for us is bad enough; brain freeze for a hummer can't be good.

As for the proper ratio of sugar to water, the best experts for this is Cornell lab Of Ornithology and Wild Birds Unlimited. I work for the owners of Abbotsford and Chilliwack Wild Birds Unlimited, and for the past 2 years I have been instructed to tell customers only to use a 1:4 ratio during the summer and a 1:3 ratio during winter months, or temps 10 degrees C or lower. Again a point was made to me that said: Just because the hummers are drinking a 1:1 or 1:2 solution doesn't mean it's good for them. What if we ate candy and chocolates all the time? Apparently they're not getting enough water with a 1:1 solution, therefore they keep coming back for more to deal with dehydration. Last point I'll make is that the likely damage being caused by this extra sugary solution for a lengthy period of time is kidney damage.

I thought I'd contribute what information I knew, like the others. Check out these organisations on- line. Please be informed.

Damion
Wild Birds Unlimited


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 Post subject: Re: Hummingbird living here and it is getting cold.
PostPosted: Dec 09 8:03 am 
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Joined: Nov 18 1:39 pm
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"tenacious", thank-you for the information. we use, and have used a variety of mixtures over the years, diluted as you say and also at the 1:1 ratio for migration time in early and late season, though never for a winter resident. one article we like is found here:
http://www.hummingbirds.net/hainsworth.html

also, we believe Guy L. Monty was/is correct with the identification of the the bird as an Anna's. our original concern was whether to remove the feeder all together, but thanks to the feedback here we have not. i will be looking at how to heat the feeder and a safe refuge today, and will likely use a type of bulb beneath the feeder to provide warmth for it. we have a small pond heater too, one that turned out to be far too small for the pond/stream/waterfall that we built at the house. luckily our home is a log cabin with a secondary torsion beam set like an outrigger down the sides so it is easy to hang feeders and hide any extra wiring. a Douglas squirrel (we think) moved in this year and he is a bit of a nuisance, as are the house finches, but it would seem the hummingbird has claimed the Camperdown elm planted to the north of our house. yesterday we watched her in the full sun shifting from branch to branch on the elm looking for insects (real food) and also chase away the house finches that landed there. the hummingbirds and bats eat an enormous number of insects around the house in season, and both species alternate eating the new hatches of flies, both trolling around the house by day and night. that is the curious part for us, since hummingbirds eat so many insects when it is warm, where is this one finding the nutrition now that it is cold since our understanding was that sugar water merely provided the calories to find nutrition?


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