Hummingbirds are the most likely birds by the people, and they wanted to see them in their yard. But in the winter, when the temperature is below the freezing point, the hummingbirds migrate from North America to the warmer regions of America like the south or Central America. Some of the hummingbirds are also migrating towards the southern areas of Arizona and Texas. Some species of hummingbirds don’t migrate even in the winter. The most common species is Anna hummingbird, which stays in North America throughout the year.
Anna hummingbird stays the western coast of North America along the Pacific Ocean in California, Washington, Oregon, and southern British Columbia. In these areas, the temperature is cold but dip below the freezing point occasionally. So the birders in these areas can feed hummingbirds throughout the year. Sometimes when the temperature is below the freezing point in these areas, we need to prevent our nectar from freezing so the birds can get the nectar even in this temperature.
The dangers of cold weather
Cold weather is somehow dangerous for hummingbirds, and they try to keep themselves warm during this period in different ways. Especially during the nights when the temperature is very low, they are going into torpor to maintain their energy level. During this weather, a fresh nectar source can be helping them to maintain their energy levels. But this nectar is also frozen in the night, and night-starved birds need to wait so that the nectar is able to drink. Moreover, the frozen nectar is too dangerous for your feeder; it may damage your feeder as the liquid needs more space when it’s’s frozen.
Ways to keep your Hummingbird feeder from Freezing
You don’t need to worry about the nectar freezing by using different ways you can keep your hummingbird feeder from freezing.
1. Sweeter nectar
We can control the freezing point of the nectar by the sugar concentration in the nectar. Usually, the nectar contains 1 part of sugar and four pieces of water, which starts freezing at 27 degrees/ -2.8 C. When we increase the concentration of sugar in the nectar, the freezing point of this nectar will be lower. It is observed that the 1 part sugar with three parts of water is a good recipe for the hummingbirds in winter. This solution of nectar has a lower freezing point as compared to the standard solution and also provides more energy to the hummingbird as compared to other solutions.
But you don’t need to add even more sugar to lower the freezing point further because the thicker solution is not easy for the hummingbirds to drink and digest. When you think the temperature is increasing in your area, don’t miss returning to their regular recipe of 1 part sugar and four parts water because the thicker solution for the long term is not suitable for hummingbird health.
2. Protected feeders
Placing your feeder in your yard can also play an essential role in nectar freezing. Chilly breezes can cool and freeze your nectar more quickly. You can set your feeder in some protected places in your yard to prevent it from rapidly freezing. The more protected areas in your yard can be some covered porch, a window break, and a deep eave. Placement of your feeder in these places during the winter can also prevent your feeder form snow and ice. Snow and ice can clog into your feeder’s ports and make your feeder useless for the hummingbirds.
3. Heating the feeder
You can protect your nectar from freezing by heating your feeder in different ways. One way of heating your feeder is the outdoor floodlight. You can use this light near your hummingbird feeder to prevent your liquid nectar from freezing. Floodlight placement is essential to keep the nectar in a liquid state. You can place the floodlight between the 8 to 12 inches range from the feeder for perfect results. Be sure all the circuit is safe and protected from the short circuits. Don’t use the low heat bulbs like LED and some other bulbs because the low heated bulb doesn’t provide sufficient heat to prevent the nectar from freezing.
4. Use window feeders
The use of the window feeder is also another way to provide your feeder the sufficient heat and prevent it from freezing. You can attach your window feeder near your room so the feeder can get some heat from your room, which keeps the nectar from freezing. A single-paned window is a perfect place for this feeder, but we can use any window to place your feeder. This technique is also used to observe the hummingbirds from a near distance.
5. Bringing the feeder indoor
The feeder is not frozen during the sunshine in the day time, but in nights when the weather is colder, the nectar freezes and becomes the liquid in the late sunshine again. But the hummingbirds like to feed the nectar in the early morning before the sunshine. So to overcome this issue, you can take your feeder inside during the nights and put it out in the early morning so the hummingbirds can feed the nectar in the morning time without any problem. But sometimes there is no sunshine and the day time is also colder. In those cases, you use several feeders in rotation. You can put out a feeder outdoor for a small-time than you can replace it with the indoor feeder, so the continuous supply of nectar is available for the hummingbirds.
6. Insulating the feeders
You can also insulate the filling tank with some rubber or some other insulating material to prevent the nectar from freezing. You can cover the maximum part of the filling tank until the ports or visible, and the hummingbirds can quickly drink from them. Sometimes the insulating material like rubber has the dangling string and loose fibers, which are very dangerous for hummingbirds. So make sure your material doesn’t have such issues.
7. Lighted feeders
You can also wrap some holiday lights around your feeder to give it enough heat, which prevents the nectar from freezing. Make sure the lights are not LED lights which have very low heat intensity. You can use red and pink lights, which can also attract the maximum number of birds. Make sure the holiday lights and wires are in the right conditions because the damaged lights and cables are very harmful to the hummingbirds and can give severe injuries to the hummingbirds. The best results can be obtained by using these lights with glass feeders as the plastic feeder can melt with the heat of lights.
8. Hand warmers
Hand warmers are usually containing the chemicals which provide the heat to the feeders, which prevent it from freezing. When these chemicals get out of their packing its starts providing the heat, and for the next 7 hours, it continues to provide heat to the feeder.
9. Snow baffles
You can cover your feeder with snow baffles to prevent it from the snowfalls, which can damage the feeding ports. Snow baffles can also help to prevent your nectar from quickly freezing. You need to choose a wide area baffle with perches to provide the maximum comfort to the hummingbirds. Try to buy a dark color snow baffles to provide some heat to your nectar in the sunshine. This can help to keep the area warmer around the feeder.
Tips for feeding the winter hummingbirds
It is essential to keep the nectar from freezing to feed the hummingbirds during winter. You can also ensure the healthy hummingbirds by taking some points in your mind while feeding the hummingbirds in winter.
- Always keep clean your feeder from fungus and mold because it’s’s very dangerous for the hummingbird’s health. Try to clean your feeder on every refill. This can also prevent the ports from any kind of abstraction.
- Try to refill your feeder regularly to provide the adequate supply of nectar to the hummingbirds.
- Don’t cut the tree’s branches and shrubs so the hummingbirds can have these types of perches to rest during the feeding.
The backyard birders can help the hummingbirds to maintain their energy level during the winter.
Why don’t some hummingbirds migrate towards the warmer areas in winter?
Hummingbirds in some areas of North America expanded their range in those areas during the winter, even in some areas of this region, people found the hummingbirds throughout the year. These areas mostly include the northern United States, Oregon, and Washington. There can be different reasons for the hummingbirds to stay in these regions during the winter as well.
Some of the reasons are:
- The hummingbirds are young and don’t ready to migrate.
- Maybe the hummingbirds are too old and don’t able to complete the trip.
- Sometimes the hummingbirds are injured or sick when the other birds start their journey, so they don’t join migrating hummingbirds.
- Whatever the reason for staying for these birds, we should help these birds with the nectar until the spring flowers are bloom.
How well can the hummingbirds survive in cold temperature?
The hummingbirds have unusual nature to survive even in freezing temperatures. They have a high rate of metabolism, which helps them to maintain their energy level. Moreover, the hummingbirds go into a deep sleep during the winter to conserve their energy level. The people called this sleep the torpor. The birds usually migrate only due to a lack of food. If they have the food in the cold areas as well, they can survive in these areas as well. The hummingbirds expanded their territory from the past few decades, which helps them to survive during the winter.