Salem, Oregon

 Hummingbird feeder in Winter! Here's the hummingbird feeder setup at my home


 The ANNA'S Hummingbird stays in winter!


Anna's Hummingbirds live along the West Coast of North America.  They are unusual in the US because they do not migrate very far. 

 They may move up into the hills during the summer, then back down to lower elevations during the winter.  Many of them remain in their

 home territory the year-round.  Their range has been expanding northward in the last decade or so and now they can even be found up

 into British Columbia. It is thought that Anna's Hummingbirds are able to winter so far north because their diets contain a larger proportion

 of insects and arachnids than most hummingbirds.  Not only do these bugs provide nutrients during the winter when there are few flowers blooming, but they also provide a slower metabolizing source of food which may help them survive the long nights.  Anna's Hummingbirds also have a fairly large body weight for a hummingbird which may also help them.  But they do live a precarious existence in the winter and the presence of hummingbird feeders has probably also helped to encourage their northward expansion.The shiny feathers on a hummingbird's throat is called their gorget.  The gorget on a male Anna's Hummingbird is a beautiful bright red and also extends onto the top of its head.  These feathers are iridescent and the birds are able to aim a beam of light from them.  That's why the gorget looks black until they notice you and then you see the color.  Interestingly, the female Anna's hummer often has a small gorget, often diamond-shaped. The females of most other species have no gorget at all.  Feeding hummingbirds is a very easy and enjoyable.  Hummingbirds readily find and use feeders and their food is very easy and cheap to make.  


If you do choose to feed hummingbirds in the wintertime, please do it responsibly. 

A hummingbird searches far and wide and selects a feeding territory based on the available food supplies it finds.  Your feeder will be an important part of the hummingbirds feeding territory.  If it runs empty or freezes up, there might not be sufficient food elsewhere in their territory to enable the bird to survive.  So you must keep it filled with fresh nectar and thawed out all winter. 

Here are some suggestions to make that easier: 

Make up some nectar and keep a stock of it in the refrigerator so it will be easy to fill the feeder.  Four parts water to 1 part sugar is still the best nectar recipe.  If it is really cold out, it is OK to strengthen the nectar to a 1:3.5 ratio instead of 1:4, but don't make it any stronger than that. Put a hook above your porch light if feasible or hang the feeder under an eave with a waterproof light hanging next to it., make sure you can get the nectar close to a heat source so it doesn't freeze, and a light bulb makes a good heat source.  If your feeder does freeze up, bring it in as early in the morning as possible and change it for a fresh one or thaw it out.

If you have a heated Bird Bath another way to keep a feeder thawed is to put a saucer shaped feeder right in the birdbath. Mine is on our deck railing  so it's easily  accessible.

Hummer fdr in Heated Bath