[Tweeters] Thoughts on Winter Feeding of Hummingbirds

wallydavis3 at gmail.com wallydavis3 at gmail.com
Thu Dec 13 16:08:48 PST 2018

We’ll have to agree to disagree Michael. Anna’s hummingbirds have spread more than 500 miles north of their native range as a result of artificial feeding. I raised hummingbirds to adulthood from before they fledged by hand feeding and maintained birds alive in captivity for more than a year. I did this using an artificial diet that included baby formula. In developing what I used, I consulted with the San Diego zoo and even provided them with numerous birds of several species. While some early insects might come out in late winter, there certainly isn’t enough nectar available to maintain the birds. If everyone quit winter feeding it is likely that the north end of the range of Anna’s would move 500 miles south. I haven’t been seeing seasonal decreases at my feeders.

Wally Davis,


From: Tweeters <tweeters-bounces at mailman11.u.washington.edu> On Behalf Of Michael Hobbs
Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2018 1:25 PM
To: Tweeters <tweeters at u.washington.edu>
Subject: Re: [Tweeters] Thoughts on Winter Feeding of Hummingbirds

Another thing to remember is that Anna's Hummingbirds begin to nest very early. I've seen a female gathering nest materials in early February, and have seen several active nests in early March.

They wouldn't be nesting so early if there wasn't good food to eat.

Also, there's no reason to believe that seasonal decreases in feeder use are caused by population decreases. Breeding will change daily routines significantly. Also, early season natural food sources may be appearing - blooming non-native plants, hatching insects - and it would be unsurprising if the Anna's wouldn't take a bit of a break from feeders if there's other food available.

I'd be very reluctant to put more than just sugar into hummingbird feeders. My feeling is that the chance of the juice "going bad" would be far greater than the chance you'd actually be supplying critical nutrients.

- Michael Hobbs, Kirkland

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