Winter tips for feeding hummingbirds


Last updated 1/1/2014 at Noon

Hummingbirds, like this one seen in Liz Ferry’s yard in early December, spend the winter here, despite colder weather.

It’s common to see hummingbird feeders in area yards throughout the spring and summer. Did you know that some of those little bird stick around for the winter? With fewer food sources, continuing to put food in your hummingbird feeder can help them through the cold months.

Here are some winter feeding tips from the Seattle Audubon Society.

• Continue to keep the mix at a 1:4 sugar to water ratio. Higher ratios can damage the hummingbird’s kidney and liver, even though it may help prevent freezing. Use only white sugar and water, mix in a pan, boil and cool before putting in the feeder. The mixture can be refrigerated for up to two weeks.

• Use two feeders on a rotation. The food mixture will freeze at around 29 degrees. Rotating them throughout the day will keep the liquid from freezing and available to the birds. Hummingbirds will not feed at night, so feeders can be moved inside to keep from freezing.

• If you don’t want to bring the feeder in and out every night, consider wrapping Christmas lights around it, or putting another light near the feeder. The heat can be just enough to keep the liquid from freezing.

• Another option for keeping the feeder warm is to hand warmers around it with duct tape. The hand warmers emit heat for roughly seven hours.

• Plumber’s heat tape is an option to keep the liquid warm, which can be found at local hardware stores.


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