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

Journey Middle School students try out the trades

Program is designed to expose students to career options

VicPD confirms wolf sighting in James Bay

Police ask that children and pets be taken inside

VIDEO: Furry, four-legged donors make their way to doggy blood drive in Langford

WAVES and Canadian Animal Blood Bank host blood drive for dogs

Annual Salmon Carcass Transplant draws Saanich residents to Douglas Creek

More than 100 frozen salmon tossed into the creek as part of ecological restoration

Colwood hosts open house on future of Royal Bay community

Event takes place on Jan. 22 at Royal Bay Secondary from 6 to 8 p.m.

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

VIDEO: Drone footage shows extent of damage in Highway 4 rockslide

Tofino, Ucluelet still cut off from rest of the island, as crews work to repair roadway

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

UBC grad and sister killed in Iran plane crash had bright futures ahead, close friend says

Asadi-Lari siblings Mohammad Hussein and Zeynab were two of 57 Canadians aboard downed Flight PS752

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Wuhan bans cars, Hong Kong closes schools as coronavirus spreads

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her government will raise its response level to emergency, highest one

Most Read