Here in the Pacific NorthWest, we have Anna’s hummingbirds. These little jewels are a bit larger than most, and their larger size–and habit of eating many small insects–enables them to stay in area that get pretty cold come winter.
As folks feed them, the Anna’s hummers are moving northward, counting on winter hummingbird feeders for sustenance. I only put out feeders in winter, to accommodate these hearty souls. In summer, I grow plenty of flowers so no need to give them sugar.
In really cold weather–like the kind we are having now–the feeders freeze, which can be deadly to the hummers. Each cold morning, it takes a hummer over an hour to come up out of torpor. They go into this hibernation-like stage at night to conserve energy. By the time the little bird finally awakens, her energy reserves are about exhausted…
If she shows up at your feeder, and if it is frozen, the hummer may collapse and die. A few
years back during a terrible ice storm, a friend of mine found a couple of hummers dead beneath her frozen feeder.
Ack! I say! This just won’t do! So I made my own heated hummingbird feeders from a
video I found on Utube. I put it together from stuff I mostly had on hand, and now, in these frigid nights, I sleep easy knowing that at 7:15am–just as the first murmur of dawn appears—my sugar water will be ready and waiting for the Early Anna’s.
Here is the video, so you can make one, too: