[Tweeters] Hummingbird survival of the snow storm

Dennis Paulson dennispaulson at comcast.net
Wed Jan 5 14:37:47 PST 2022

Hello Dave and Jo,

During the wintry weather we discovered that we have at least two male and four female Anna’s (possibly more; at one point there were four females on a three-hole feeder). One male dominated the front yard, where we have three feeders, and the other dominated the single feeder in the back yard. The front-yard male, who we watched much more and of course named “Bossy,” chased females from each feeder as they arrived. We moved one feeder around the corner out of his sight, and he immediately changed his primary perch so that he could detect incoming females at the out-of-sight feeder. I’m sure he could hear them, as he often arrived there shortly after one of them did. But they still persisted, and we noticed a very high feeding rate at dusk, with the male seemingly much less aggressive then.

We brought in our feeders every night and put them out every morning in the dark (“whose turn is it to save the hummers today?”). During the coldest weather, we switched them out several times each day, sometimes warming the liquid, and in others just letting it be at the house temperature. We taped hand warmers (“Hotties”) to the bottoms of two or three feeders every day during the lowest temps.

This morning I saw both males and at one point three females on a feeder, and we think they all came through it. But the frequency of their feeding has definitely dropped with the higher temperatures, and I attribute that to the reduced stress on their thermoregulatory mechanisms.

Parenthetically, that week was the birdiest we have ever seen here, and we spent a lot of time just sitting at the dining room table watching the action at the feeders. I photographed 25 species in our yard, missing only a Sharp-shinned Hawk that came through. We really felt we were helping the birds during that difficult period.

Dennis Paulson

> On Jan 5, 2022, at 2:10 PM, D&J Nunnallee <nunnallee at comcast.net> wrote:


> Hello All,


> I thought it might be interesting to get some idea of how the hummingbirds

> fared during our recent snow storm and freezing conditions. Many people took

> extra care trying to keep their feeders unfrozen but it was clearly a

> challenge, especially for those who have only a single feeder. We have

> noticed a drop in the number of hummingbirds visiting our feeders now that

> the snow and ice have cleared.


> For our part, we had 4 hummers frequenting our feeders before the cold

> weather (2 females, 1 imm male and 1 mature male), and now we see only one,

> the dominant male which aggressively chased all others away during the early

> days of the freeze. Of course we wonder whether some of "our" hummingbirds

> succumbed to the cold, or just moved to some other feeders.


> How have the hummers fared in your neighborhood?


> David & Jo Nunnallee

> Sammamish, WA

> nunnallee at comcast.net




> _______________________________________________

> Tweeters mailing list

> Tweeters at u.washington.edu

> http://mailman11.u.washington.edu/mailman/listinfo/tweeters

More information about the Tweeters mailing list