The 2022 winter’s sub-freezing temperatures were too unbearable for a few of the brave Anna Hummingbirds that decided to weather out the winter by taking advantage of the sweet syrup in our Hummingbird feeder. The feeder hangs from the overhead cover on our front porch and it’s a great spot to keep it dry and prevent dilution of the solution from the rain. Also, the pesky ants can’t get to it and the birds can quickly escape to the nearby shrubs if threatened by predators or another hummingbird.

The pacific northwest states experienced a very frigid 2022 winter for about a week or more. The unpleasant conditions included several days of snow on the ground causing miserable conditions for local folks and many of the wild birds and other animals. We were easily able to maintain the backyard bird feeder with the black sun flower seeds for the Chickadees, Juncos, Sparrows, Nuthatches and a few other birds I am unable to identify.

But, the hummingbird feeder turned out to be a disaster for the tiny hummingbirds due to the day and night freezing temperatures. One day I noticed the feeder syrup was becoming cloudy and upon checking the reason for the change in texture, I discovered the solution had formed ice particles from the cold temperature. I brought it into the house to thaw out the ice chunks then rehung it again. But, almost four hours later the crystals had returned. At night I had to bring the feeder into the house to keep it warm and prevent the syrup from freezing solid.

We hung the feeder from its normal location after the severe weather. Now, a few of the hummingbirds are starting to return; but, fewer than prior to the winter cold spell. A few weeks back, while helping my spouse clean an area near the trees where the hummingbirds like to escape, I spotted a tiny dead Anna (possibly a male) with its iridescent green feathers shining from the glare of the sun. I brought it into the house to practice sketching and painting the bird several times. While doing so, I felt sadden by this birds sudden failure to survive this winter.

Next year, I will not hang the feeder unless I can locate one with a warming device. My neighbor wrapped their hummingbird feeder with Christmas tree lights to maintain a warm feeding solution so the birds could live through the winter cold spell.

4 thoughts on “The weather was too severe for this Anna Hummingbird

  1. Lois, thank you for this poignant story. Winter can be really hard on our creatures, as we know in Montana. We have to take down our feeders in September so they do not delay their migration and get caught by an early storm. With climate change these things are getting harder to predict. I wish you and your birds well.

    Liked by 1 person

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