[birding] Hungry hummingbirds and keeping nectar thawed

Lisa Millbank millbank.lisa at gmail.com
Fri Dec 16 07:48:40 PST 2016

It's 19F this morning at our place, definitely too cold for hummingbird
nectar!  The typical 1:4 solution has a freezing point of 27F.

A lot of folks who feed birds may not realize that the phenomenon of
overwintering Anna's Hummingbirds is relatively new in the Willamette
Valley, or that their population is wholly to partially human-dependent.
Cold spells during which hummingbirds can find no sources of food have
caused significant mortality, like the one we had a few years ago.

We've found that a wadded-up strand of incandescent Christmas lights placed
under a feeder will provide enough heat to keep nectar thawed.  LED lights
probably don't emit enough heat to be reliable.  There's also a company in
Albany that makes feeders with an incandescent bulb built into the base.

If you've got some other ideas for keeping nectar thawed, please share them!

Lisa Millbank

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