How to keep the hummingbirds fed during a cold snap

Four cups of water and one cup of white sugar is the perfect solution

Kim Beardmore has taken care of hummingbirds in his Colwood neighborhood since 2001.

During this latest cold winter snap, the president of the Rocky Point Bird Observatory said he regularly checks in on his bird feeder a few times a day. The feeder is stocked with a sweet liquid – made of four cups of water and one cup of white sugar – that hummingbirds depend on for energy when usual food sources are unavailable.

But when the temperature drops below freezing, the feeder becomes useless.

“Think about what happens when you stick your tongue to a cold surface on a really cold day,” said Beardmore. “Because the feeder is frozen, the hummingbirds aren’t getting the nutrients they really need.”

READ MORE: Flock of birds strike Victoria-bound plane on approach

ALSO READ: More snow expected for Greater Victoria

Beardmore said he’s seen all the tricks in the book to keep the feeders warm, including taped hand warmers and Christmas lights. Posts on social media show Victoria residents using bubble wrap or socks as an option. The avid birder recommends taking the feeder in at night to thaw and bringing it outside once again the next morning.

Notably, there are two types of hummingbirds that fly around the Southern Vancouver Island. Firstly, the Rufous hummingbird, which migrates in August to Mexico. The other, Anna’s hummingbirds, spend the winter in Victoria, largely due to the feeders that are put out by residents.

Anna’s hummingbirds don’t only feed on the sugar water. They eat flying insects and spiders, too, which are usually available during the winter months on the Island.

Beardmore reminds bird lovers to avoid using honey, brown sugar, or other sweetener alternatives in the bird feeder mix, as they promote bacterial growth. Feeders should be cleaned once a week to avoid nectar or mold buildup.

aaron.guillen@goldstreamgazette.com


@iaaronguillen
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Anna’s hummingbirds, a certain type of bird that doesn’t migrate, need to have constant access to feeders, which can get frozen during the odd cold winter snap. (Courtesy of Kim Beardmore)

Just Posted

Hearing ahead for blind community’s B.C. Human Rights Tribunal case against Victoria bus stops

The Canadian Federation of the Blind says bike lanes can be dangerous

Saanich man dies from injuries after serious crash on Six Mile Road

Police continue to investigate cause of fatal crash

View Royal resident spots bear in Portage Park

West Shore RCMP confirms report of sighting, Conservation notified

Close call has North Saanich councillor appealing for traffic safety

Coun. Jack McClintock is using an incident involving his daughter to highlight traffic safety

Accessibility for disabled still an issue in Sooke

Room for improvement, says councillor

COVID-19: B.C. landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

B.C. Hockey League prepping for 2020-21

League reviewing different scenarios and start times in compliance with provincial regulations

Duncan’s Queen Margaret’s School pioneers thermal imaging in school reopening

Private school is first in B.C. to use new tech post-COVID-19

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Trans Mountain starts B.C. leg of pipeline twinning project

Mostly finished in Alberta, Burnaby terminal expanding

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson says he’s heard no concerns from public

Love flourishes at Peace Arch Park, but COVID-19 concerns loom

South Surrey park becomes only place for international couples to meet

Most Read