Monday, November 22, 2010

Snowstorm and hummingbirds

By the time we came back from Tai Chi this morning it had started snowing again and this time it was accomanied by a fierce wind.  Within an hour there were a couple inches on the roads and black ice, which was enough to make us decide not to go into work on our renovations.  It's a good thing we stayed at home--because the humming birds needed our help.

The syrup in the feeder kept freezing and the holes kept being blocked with snow.  Plus the winds were swinging it around so hard that the poor little things couldn't land to feed.  After a few attempts at keeping it warm and sheltered....

 covering it with a ski sock....

 making a tent out of a dog's plastic cone....

... we decided to move the feeder to a more sheltered side of the house. It took a while before they found the new location but eventually they did.  So now all we have to do is check every hour or so and melt the syrup ice, plus keep the other feeder filled for the songbirds.

Here's how the dogs spent their time today...
(curled up on the couch)

Here's what we did...
(played Scrabble and drank chocolate mint roibos tea)

I'm so worried about how the hummingbirds will survive tonight  as it's predicted to go to 23 degrees F with wind chill.  I read on the internet that they go into torpor at night (kind of like a hibernation).  I'm crossing my fingers for these little guys; I hope they make it through this wintry weather. 


  1. Hi, just wanted to thank you for dropping in today to my obscure little blog in France, very kind, no one has ever used the word "treasure" in reference to said blog, more often it is words like "junkyard" which come to the surface...
    And thanks for putting a link in your sidebar, doubly thanks, in any case, enjoy...

  2. I am in utter amazement that you still have hummingbirds... is that unusual? they are lucky you look out for them.

  3. Hi Owen, thanks for visiting. I do enjoy your photos very much.

    Gwen, these Anna's hummingbirds have been overwintering here in Victoria in recent years. There are quite a few people in Victoria who put food out all winter. Once you start doing it you have to keep it up as there are no nectar flowers blooming. A cold snap is a bigger difficulty though. We're hoping it won't stay too long.

    By the way, they made it through last night and are happily feeding this morning.

  4. Those wee birds are so lucky to have you two looking out for them. The birds all look stunned buy this fierce surprise in the weather.

  5. I worry about the hummer's too and I am one of those that feed the Anna's all winter long. It is a struggle to keep the feeder from freezing. Did the sock work for you? Since I live on the bottom floor of a condo there isn't another place to put the feeder. I kept having to bring it in to thaw the syrup too and I kept it in overnight so I could put it out ice free in the morning. I felt so sorry for them yesterday! They seem so tiny and vulnerable, but I think they are tougher than we give them credit for.

  6. I'm amazed theta the hummers stay during your cold weather - don't they migrate? You are surely going the extra mile for them!

  7. The hummingbirds did fine here last year as there were no snow storms or cold snaps, but this year is a different story. I think it may be empty nest syndrome that's responsible for our zealous concern.

    By the way Alone Again, I found out today that in the winter it's ok to make a stronger syrup--up to a 2:1 ratio of water to sugar. This gives them more energy in the cold and also won't freeze as quickly. I also bring the feeder in at night.


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