Anna hummingbirds in winter at coast

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by Georgia Strait, Jan 5, 2020.

  1. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Active Member

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    interesting recent article — thé comments are informative too

    I am surprised these birds are up at Whistler

    I know one feeder they will NOT touch — it is plastic and has that odd imported plastic odor

    I have one fr the Stokes brand - and I added some hot pink survey tape to it so they can see it (they do)

    The Amazingly Cool Anna’s Hummingbird Scoffs at Winter | The Tyee
     
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  2. Puddleton

    Puddleton Active Member 10 Years

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    Hey Georgia
    I've never seen a hummingbird and photo's don't offer scale
    How small are the smallest? Golf ball? 9 volt battery?
    How large are the mantis that catch them?
    How big are the largest?
    Fascinating creatures
    Thanks
     
  3. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Active Member

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    Oh I did not realize no hummingbirds Australia

    They are micro small - a fraction of a Robin

    They are exactly as described in that article linked above —- birds with a four letter vocabulary .... and that swift dive really does make a loud chirp like a vocalisation

    Here is more about range and size etc
    (Link) Anna's hummingbird - Wikipedia

    I am surprised it says 3 inches —- to me they look smaller —-

    Thé other we have here typically is Rufous
    hummingbird

    It is approx 34F (2C) at the Pacific Ocean today Monday at noon PST - and the Anna Hummerz are out in force

    Along w
    Bald eagle (normal)
    Seagull (I forget which type)
    Crows and ravens
    Blue jays (cousin of crow and our official bird of BC)


    Plus little chickadees w black caps
    Towhees (Robin cousin )
    Oregon thrush (unique zzzzzeeeeet call)
    And I heard a flicker (special flight pattern and call)

    I hope you are safe and not too damaged down on Australia continent ... I can only imagine the damage to wild plants and animals let alone peôple homes etc.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2020
  4. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    The smaller ones are about the length of a human fore finger, around 7-10 cm long. The smallest of all, the Bee Hummingbird from Cuba, is just 5-6 cm long, and only 1.5-2 g weight.
    The largest is the Giant Hummingbird from the Andes of South America, 20-22 cm long and around 20 g weight.
     
  5. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Renowned Contributor 10 Years

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  6. Carson

    Carson New Member

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    The only real reason for the hummingbirds not visiting a feeder would be to do with the age of the nectar, or simply a better brew close by.
    Plastic is not an issue at all. Dirt is. I'm not sure what the rather aggressive marketing typical of the Stokers might have claimed.

    The nectar is best a 4:1 water:white sugar solution, in which the water is bopiling in a clean, clean, CLEAN pot on the stove, with zero traces remaining of any soap. Some people prefer using vinegar to soap, but the hummingbirds prefer nice fresh nectar in any case. Red-dyed nectars are unnecessary and mildly harmful. If the solution iks intensified beyond 4:1, to, say, 3:1, the hummingbirds may enjoy that more but will also be more prone to kidney problems. Stay with 4:1.

    I boil the solution for a couple of minutes, let it cool. and put it out. It's good to have several feeders placed as far apart as your balcony or whatever allows. We have six feeders on our small balcony in Vancouver. The balcony is 14' long and 4' wide, but the six feeders are welcome by the hummingbirds. Not necessary but nice. Half are plastic; half are glass.

    This is just "Gator-Aid" for the hummingbirds, of course; energy food. They eat teensy tiny spiders and insects which they catch on the wing. You may also see a hovering hummingbird poking about a railing or whatever, maybe just a few feet above ground-level, attempting to grab tiny critters from spider webs.

    The Anna's Hummingbirds can withstand temperatures WAY down below freezing. But they hibernate at night, like Michael Jackson only doing it better; and they can take a couple of hours to fully wake up and begin their day. If you see a "poor little hummingbird" in freezing-cold temperatures, shaking and trembling and shivering enough to break your heart, the hummingbird is actually just FINE; no problems. Shocking the first time you see it, but the hummingbirds are much much better adapted than WE are. Well, most wild creatures are.

    People new to the hummingbird feeders, be warned: hummingbird nectar IS sugar-water, and although it looks quite okay, if it spills a bit, it makes a sticky mess.

    Oh, and, finally: NO, the hummingbird that "almost crashes into you" while you are watching them, was actually NO WHERE NEAR crashing into you. When a hummingbird is making, say, 60-100 COMPLETE WINGSTROKES in EVERY SECOND, we appear like such slothfuil-of-sloths that the hummingbird sees OUR movements as in SUCH slow-motion we are completely predictable in our actions. So hummingbirds can be quite happy to comec within inches of people, which really startles us. Or, in Costa Rica, a feeder being placed first thing every morning may well incur three or four or five species of colibris waiting impatiently on the arm of the person filling the feeders: "C'mon! Hey! We are HUNGRY, you know!"
     
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  7. Carson

    Carson New Member

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    —I apologize for all the typos (above). As soon as I've got a few operational details figured out, I'll edit out the typos. Thanks. No; I wasn't drunk whilst typing; just a bit of "essential quiver" which I honestly don't think is so very "essential" at all. (It comes when 15/16ths of your life has been lived.)
     
  8. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Active Member

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    OR - you are typing at 60-100 wing strokes per minute ;)

    Seriously -
    thank you for the info

    One thing I notice about the plastic is an odd smell — like the dollar store or Cdn Tire odor

    In the freeze cold, our friend who is religious about feeding Hummingbirds nr Victoria BC - she puts a cut off wool sock over the feeder bottle part to insulate it.
     
  9. Carson

    Carson New Member

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    Thank you! I have from time to time been advised by my friends to "put a sock in it" but I think more in reference to my love for yak!

    Well, some points of interest, perhaps: Anna's Hummingbirds are not migratory. Their showing up this far north was thought to be a result of more fruit trees in more orchards between California and here. We have a range extension, in other words. Our three (mas o menos) species of BC hummingbirds know better; they simply pack up and leave, migrating south like so many humans do. As your Victoria friend will no doubt concur, when the first salmonberry blossoms show up here, so do our Rufous Hummingbirds.

    For ID, though, a Rufous Hummingbird has "rufous"—but really apricot—and an Anna's Hummingbird does not. For Vancouver and. I guess, southwestern BC generally, there's your key. Size is surprisingly variable; and so is the length of their bills; but look for that apricot signature. No matter how much green, or how little green; no matter how grayish (as in little baby heartbeats-of-hummingbirds) or non-colours, always look for apricot/orange or its absence. Apart from that, the birds may bedazzle you in many other respects, such as their aerial courtship zazz-aerobatic displays, which are two of the very best.

    Our other two species, generally speaking, are the Calliope and Black-chinned Hummingbirds. In Vancouver, they are rare as can be; they prefer Osoyoos-Cranbrook nooks and crannies. I once saw all three species at a feeder near Cranbrook.

    And of course there was the Mysterious Case of the Xantus's Hummingbird that showed up at a feeder near Sechelt one winter. We who saw it were very pleased with its being there; them that didn't said it didn't qualify for official status.

    Okay: so our Rufous Hummingbirds have orange, or apricot—some semblance of that colour, somewhere on them. Male or female, they do tend to have an apricot-ish bit of feathering somewhere. Anywhere. Who was the poet? "We shall not cease from our examinations, and when we have found even the teensiest of apricot feathering on our hummingbird, we shall know it for the first time: it is a Rufous Hummingbird." Well—sorry, Mr. Eliot.

    When I was a kid, one or two Anna's Hummingbirds began showing up in places such as West Vancouver's Lighthouse Park. As I said, they are strong and independent critters: much more so than are human beings. But—well—we've done such a nearly-complete job of wrecking the joint [the planet], that I feel it is a nice gesture to offer some food for wild birds. It's a moot point beginning now, as pink blossoms are decorating boulevard trees, and the hummingbirds are in way less peril.

    Hummingbirds that I consider my personal friends inform me that red plastic CanTire feeders are pretty gross; true enough. However, as one hummingbird on my balcony explained, "It's still food." The smell seems to vanish to some degree when the brand-new feeders are thoroughly washed before they've ever been used. In Costa Rica, we rented a tiny house one month, and the cutest little female Purple-throated Mountain Gem enjoyed our red plastic dollar-store feeder we placed outside the kitchen window there. We'd also delivered a $40 hummingbird feeder to a human friend in another part of Costa Rica; once again, food is food.

    Just keep it clean. But really I agree with your Victoria lady's preference for nice tableware.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2020
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  10. heavypetal

    heavypetal New Member

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  11. Carson

    Carson New Member

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    Just be careful with enriching hummingbird nectar. The article says you can "bump it up" to a 3:1 ratio, but I'll bet the people writing that had no idea whether the hummingbirds suffered with such high concentrations later on. I would suggest staying with 4 parts water to 1 part sugar. Kidney problems can be fatal otherwise. It is simply safer to stay 4:1. The hummingbirds can tolerate variance, sure, but we don't really know what we're doing otherwise.

    I suppose a cold snap puts pressure on hummingbirds, but keep in mind your tiny visitors are WAY tougher than humans are. Try taking off ever stitch of your clothing, including all your foot covering, and then spending a few days and nights stark naked, with no fire, in January, outdoors anywhere. Zero clothing. Very likely you would die from hypothermia. Even climbers and hikers wearing protective clothing are at risk from hypothermia in near-freezing temperatures. We take a lot for granted. I admire hummingbirds and many other small creatures, because I know they are immeasurably stronger than I am.
     
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