Hummingbirds may need extra help during winter weather. (Facebook/Dreulani Dupuis)

Keep hummingbird feeders filled over winter, says Wild ARC

Consistent feeding important to tiny birds’ survival in Great Victoria

Humans aren’t the only ones shivering through B.C.’s cold snap.

After the recent temperature drop, some of Greater Victoria’s smallest critters are adjusting to the colder weather – including a B.C. favourite, the over-wintering Anna’s hummingbird.

Generally, the BC SPCA does not support feeding wild animals, but Meghan Hatch, assistant manager at the Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre (Wild ARC) in Metchosin, said hummingbirds become reliant on feeders they already frequent, especially during the winter months.

“Hummingbirds are the one sort of wild animal that might be more impacted by the cold weather because we have altered their habits a little bit with our offering of hummingbird feeders in the winter,” Hatch said.

READ ALSO: Wild ARC seeking donations for creature comforts

“We don’t always recommend feeding wildlife, but in the winter months especially, if you’re someone who feeds hummingbirds … it’s almost a responsibility to continue to do so, ensuring they still have access to that food source especially when the temperatures dip below zero.”

As for the sugar water, Hatch recommends a formula that is four parts water and one part white sugar – a mixture that most closely resembles the tiny bird’s natural diet.

Hatch said there’s no hard evidence against slightly increasing the sugar levels in the winter, but she still recommends against it.

Tina Lynne posted this picture to Facebook of her warmed up feeder. “In really cold snaps, I cover it with bubble wrap,” she said.

“With freshwater sources potentially being frozen over, the sugar water that people provide for the hummingbirds is also their source of water,” she explained. “If you add more sugar it dilutes that fresh water for them.”

More sugar can also increase the stickiness of the solution, which can harden on hummingbirds’ beaks or feathers.

Another winter dilemma for hummingbird lovers? Liquid solutions can freeze. Hatch said locals use everything from incandescent light strings and chicken coop heaters to thermal socks and large bulbs in order keep their feeders warm.

She also recommends regularly cleaning the feeder or switching it out with a second feeder to avoid bacteria buildup.



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Annual study shows high satisfaction with B.C. post-secondary schools

Study also reveals men tend to dominate higher paying jobs in the trades

Midway will open early at the 2019 Saanich Fair

This year the fair will pilot a “sneak peek” and the main stage will feature April Wine

Cross-examination begins for Oak Bay dad accused of killing daughters

Andrew Berry is charged in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in 2017

Camosun mechanical engineering project solve real-world problems

Showcase included projects that confound conventional wisdom, garner industry interest

Arenas, fitness centre ready for action after significant flood at Saanich recreation centre

Library branch, archives remain closed after Thursday night flood

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

Dog attacked by river otters, Penticton owner says

Marie Fletcher says her dog was pulled underwater by four river otters in the Penticton Channel

POLL: Should there be a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers?

We’ve all heard them, and most likely cursed them under our breath.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Aug. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Wife charged in husband’s death in Sechelt

Karin Fischer has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of her husband, Max

B.C. Hydro applies for rare cut in electricity rates next year

Province wrote off $1.1 billion debt to help reverse rate increase

Most Read