Saturday, December 12, 2009

Frozen feeders

Anna's Hummingbird
We've reached five days in a row now where the temperatures west of Portland, Oregon have not reached above freezing. Water pipes are freezing and people are really bundled up. Clouds have rolled in this Saturday morning, and snow and freezing rain are in the forecast as temperatures rise. After today, rain is the forecast every day for a week.

The photo above is from yesterday, Friday. We have a resident Anna's Hummingbird at our feeder. She defends it from another female and an occasional first-year male. But in this weather the feeders freeze solid in about 4 hours.

The Anna's Hummingbirds are the earliest risers at our feeders, coming in for a drink as soon as there is an orange glow in the eastern sky (as seen in the photo above). They also get a drink at dusk, long after the other birds have left the seed feeders.

How do you keep the feeders from freezing in this weather? Some people hang their feeders near a porch light with a heat lamp in it. In our case, we bring the feeder in at night and put it out before dawn. To keep it from freezing during the middle of the day? We have two feeders and switch them off every few hours as they freeze.

Anna's Hummingbirds are fairly hardy, but like many birds can't survive too many days without liquid water. During these freezing spells, liquid water is more important than food--for all birds.

For more on feeding hummingbirds see the earlier article Bird feeding... Hummingbirds.

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