cold snap!

cold snap!

Joined: December 8th, 2016, 4:04 am

December 8th, 2016, 4:10 am #1

Hello, first post here; I'm very conscerned about our Annas right now. Our lower mainland ( Abbotsford, BC) is experiencing minus 6 celcius and more at night (not facoring in the wind chill). Can they possibly survive this? I bring the feeder at night
but I fear this bitter overnight cold will finish them.
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Joined: July 18th, 2009, 3:58 am

December 8th, 2016, 5:35 am #2

I don't think -6C (21F), or even a bit lower, is overly cold for Annas. As long as they still have a food source in the morning. Other than bringing the feeder in at night, you could also find a way to heat your feeder. I'm sure plenty of people in the nw US have heated feeders for their overwintering Annas.
Dan
East-central Iowa
Zone 5a
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Joined: June 21st, 2006, 1:24 pm

December 8th, 2016, 5:56 am #3

Hello, first post here; I'm very conscerned about our Annas right now. Our lower mainland ( Abbotsford, BC) is experiencing minus 6 celcius and more at night (not facoring in the wind chill). Can they possibly survive this? I bring the feeder at night
but I fear this bitter overnight cold will finish them.
We also have an Anna's in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area and a Rufous hummingbird still in Madison, Wisconsin. Tonight (12/8) it will be 20 degrees F. with a windchill of 0 degrees F. There is a brisk northwest wind and snow flurries falling. Not great weather.

Anyhow, here is a response from Cynthia Bridge, one of Wisconsin's two hummingbird banders, to a concern that another birder had about these hummingbirds:

"Wisconsin had both an Anna's and a Rufous remain in the state through early January last year. THESE ARE A COLD HARDY SPECIES. A small subset regularly migrate through the eastern U.S. during late fall and early winter. The survival of both these species during much colder weather is WELL-DOCUMENTED by those studying and banding these "winter" hummingbirds.

I recently had a discussion with author and veteran hummingbird bander, Scott Weidensaul, regarding the cold hardiness of Rufous and Anna's Hummingbirds in regards to the Rufous Hummingbird that is continuing in my friend's yard in Dane county as of this date. He reinforced the concept that the migratory instincts of these birds are strong and they will leave when they are ready. Here are some excerpts from my conversation with Scott: "...when the bird is ready may seem way too late (and too cold) from our biased perspective, since we associate hummers with warm summer conditions...rufous hummers have an exceptional ability to thrive in cold weather, which is what they face annually at high elevations and high latitudes (i.e., the Kenai Peninsula in AK in late April, when the snow still lies deep). We've documented banded RUHU here in PA that survived air temps of -9F and wind chills of -36F, and Anna's that handled multiple nights of -8 to -10F, so the forecast you mentioned is a walk in the woods for one of these hummers. The feeder will give it plenty of carbohydrates for an energy kick, and I assure you it's eating lots and lots of midges and other cold-hardy arthropods...all hummers are using a genetically coded map and timetable, and that within any population there are some individuals that are programmed to migrate very early, some at the "normal" time (the bulk of the bell curve), and some that are hardwired to linger as far north, as late, as possible. You see this with any migratory species, from waterfowl to warblers. That's evolution's way of covering all the bases...But because they're small and seemingly fragile, we consistently underestimate what hummingbirds are capable of doing...One thing all of us working with these birds has learned is that they are far tougher and more adaptable than we can imagine...I suspect one of these days your friend is going to notice the bird spending a lot of time just sitting on the feeder, drinking heavily, and
a visible "puffiness" around its lower abdomen and flanks as the fat reserves rapidly build up. Then one morning, usually mid-morning, off it goes. Such departures often occur after a really harsh blast of cold weather, once things moderate and get milder -- though again, some of them are genetically programmed to be stubborn. It may even try to overwinter, especially if the winter does prove to be unusually mild."

Anyhow, hopefully this will help you to not feel so stressed!
Madison, WI
Zone 5a
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Joined: December 8th, 2016, 4:04 am

December 8th, 2016, 6:02 am #4

Hello, first post here; I'm very conscerned about our Annas right now. Our lower mainland ( Abbotsford, BC) is experiencing minus 6 celcius and more at night (not facoring in the wind chill). Can they possibly survive this? I bring the feeder at night
but I fear this bitter overnight cold will finish them.
Thank you for your post, Dan. I will see what I can rig up heat-wise for the wee ones. It's been all I can do to keep my horses drinking enough water right now so that they don't colic; it amazes me to no end that these birds can endure the nights. At least the wind has died down for now.
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Joined: December 8th, 2016, 4:04 am

December 8th, 2016, 6:11 am #5

Hello, first post here; I'm very conscerned about our Annas right now. Our lower mainland ( Abbotsford, BC) is experiencing minus 6 celcius and more at night (not facoring in the wind chill). Can they possibly survive this? I bring the feeder at night
but I fear this bitter overnight cold will finish them.
And thanks for your kind reassurances, Kathi and Michael. I wish I had a fraction of their moxie!
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Joined: January 22nd, 2008, 1:16 am

December 8th, 2016, 6:22 am #6

Hello, first post here; I'm very conscerned about our Annas right now. Our lower mainland ( Abbotsford, BC) is experiencing minus 6 celcius and more at night (not facoring in the wind chill). Can they possibly survive this? I bring the feeder at night
but I fear this bitter overnight cold will finish them.
Last year I had my first over-wintering Anna's. It survived nights down into the single digits here in Eastern WA and with snow on the ground. It disappeared the 2nd week of January. This year I have 3 Anna's with me, two adult female's and an immature female (my adult male seems to have left). We are supposed to get a snow storm tomorrow and next week lows are forecasted for the single digits. Despite "knowing" they are hardy and can survive these cold snaps, I still worry about the little buggers!

Jeff
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Joined: May 21st, 2013, 12:09 am

December 8th, 2016, 1:10 pm #7

Hello, first post here; I'm very conscerned about our Annas right now. Our lower mainland ( Abbotsford, BC) is experiencing minus 6 celcius and more at night (not facoring in the wind chill). Can they possibly survive this? I bring the feeder at night
but I fear this bitter overnight cold will finish them.
They make a kind of plumber's heat tape you could wrap around the feeder to keep it from freezing. That said there is only so much you can do. Even knowing we're not to blame for birds trying to winter too far north it is hard not to get stressed out about it.
Southern New Jersey
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Joined: June 21st, 2006, 1:24 pm

December 8th, 2016, 1:51 pm #8

Hello, first post here; I'm very conscerned about our Annas right now. Our lower mainland ( Abbotsford, BC) is experiencing minus 6 celcius and more at night (not facoring in the wind chill). Can they possibly survive this? I bring the feeder at night
but I fear this bitter overnight cold will finish them.
I agree with Ward on this. Keeping the nectar liquid is key, but it's difficult to not feel a lot of stress if you are looking out your window at this bird on a below zero morning! Hosts of these vagrant birds have my greatest respect.
Madison, WI
Zone 5a
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Joined: September 5th, 2004, 1:22 pm

December 8th, 2016, 6:34 pm #9

Hello, first post here; I'm very conscerned about our Annas right now. Our lower mainland ( Abbotsford, BC) is experiencing minus 6 celcius and more at night (not facoring in the wind chill). Can they possibly survive this? I bring the feeder at night
but I fear this bitter overnight cold will finish them.


Hummingbirds can survive in very cold temperatures. Just make sure they have liquid nectar at all times.

Ward's suggestion is a good one.

Here is the rig that kept our Rufous/Selasphorus feeding during the winter:


Regards,
Bob
Lexington, Ky.
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Joined: May 18th, 2013, 9:33 pm

December 8th, 2016, 11:26 pm #10

Hello, first post here; I'm very conscerned about our Annas right now. Our lower mainland ( Abbotsford, BC) is experiencing minus 6 celcius and more at night (not facoring in the wind chill). Can they possibly survive this? I bring the feeder at night
but I fear this bitter overnight cold will finish them.
Calypta

Hi and welcome to the forum. There was a caliope in our state a few years ago that I was lucky enough to visit the home of the host and they were very nice, and this was in January. So Im adding a photo of what they had setup, heat tape of some kind.

Steve W.
Martinsville IN.
Zone 6
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