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

Victoria council keeps its catered lunches at more than $10,000 per year

Two councillors tried to eliminate the expense, with widespread rejection

UPDATED: 12 Wet’suwet’en supporters arrested by VicPD

Protesters rallied against Coastal GasLink pipeline

High-rise hotel proposed for downtown Victoria location

A 15-storey hotel could be coming to the Fort and Blanshard streets area

Consumer bankruptcies down in Greater Victoria

More residents are making alternative arrangements to settle their debts

Restrictions on unrelated occupants dominates Saanich council meeting

Saanich council sends issue of unrelated occupancy limits to public hearing

VIDEO: Trudeau insists Iran respect families’ wishes when it comes to burials

All 176 people on board the Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 were killed

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 21

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

‘Naughty boy’: Monty Python star Terry Jones dies at 77

The comedian has been suffering from a rare form of dementia

Four things ‘not’ to do if you run into Prince Harry and Meghan in B.C.

Here is a list of some things you definitely should NOT do, according to the BBC

Successful end to search for kayakers along the Island river

Father and son located tired and cold, but otherwise OK

Vancouver Island man arrested after police seize suspected illicit drugs in Nanoose Bay

Car impounded after Port Alberni driver clocked travelling at more than twice the posted speed limit

Theo the 800-pound pig trimmed down and still looking for love on Vancouver Island

“He’s doing really well, lost quite a few pounds and can run now.”

Horgan unveils B.C. cabinet shuffle changes

Premier John Horgan has made three major changes to his cabinet

Most Read