How to keep the hummingbirds fed during a cold snap

Four cups of water and one cup of white sugar is the perfect solution

Kim Beardmore has taken care of hummingbirds in his Colwood neighborhood since 2001.

During this latest cold winter snap, the president of the Rocky Point Bird Observatory said he regularly checks in on his bird feeder a few times a day. The feeder is stocked with a sweet liquid – made of four cups of water and one cup of white sugar – that hummingbirds depend on for energy when usual food sources are unavailable.

But when the temperature drops below freezing, the feeder becomes useless.

“Think about what happens when you stick your tongue to a cold surface on a really cold day,” said Beardmore. “Because the feeder is frozen, the hummingbirds aren’t getting the nutrients they really need.”

READ MORE: Flock of birds strike Victoria-bound plane on approach

ALSO READ: More snow expected for Greater Victoria

Beardmore said he’s seen all the tricks in the book to keep the feeders warm, including taped hand warmers and Christmas lights. Posts on social media show Victoria residents using bubble wrap or socks as an option. The avid birder recommends taking the feeder in at night to thaw and bringing it outside once again the next morning.

Notably, there are two types of hummingbirds that fly around the Southern Vancouver Island. Firstly, the Rufous hummingbird, which migrates in August to Mexico. The other, Anna’s hummingbirds, spend the winter in Victoria, largely due to the feeders that are put out by residents.

Anna’s hummingbirds don’t only feed on the sugar water. They eat flying insects and spiders, too, which are usually available during the winter months on the Island.

Beardmore reminds bird lovers to avoid using honey, brown sugar, or other sweetener alternatives in the bird feeder mix, as they promote bacterial growth. Feeders should be cleaned once a week to avoid nectar or mold buildup.

aaron.guillen@goldstreamgazette.com


@iaaronguillen
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

Police seize nearly 50 kilos of drugs in Surrey

Police say this has taken perhaps millions of deadly doses of fentanyl and other drugs off the streets

ICBC had 32,412 Dial-a-Claim calls from Lower Mainland

This was in a 17-day stretch from Jan. 3 to Jan. 19, inclusive

Surrey Mounties looking for two suspects in stolen credit card scam

Police said the cards were used in $28,000 in fraudulent transactions in Surrey, Burnaby and Coquitlam

Surrey’s Fruiticana, 25 years in, is growing strong

From a humble start to nurturing an 18-store business, Surrey’s Tony Singh looks to open two more this year

VIDEO: Soldiers trade rifles for snow shovels to help dig out St. John’s

A state of emergency is set to extend into a fifth day

Warm ‘blob’ could be behind mass starvation of North Pacific seabirds: study

Unprecedented death toll raises red flag for North American marine ecosystems

Convicted Fraser Valley con man facing 39 charges in Vancouver area

Donald Quinnell got four years prison in 2015, again facing fraud, theft, stolen credit card charges

Elderly man in serious condition after being hit by bus in Burnaby

RCMP believe man, 82, was not at a crosswalk at the time

ICBC to bring in ranking system for collision, glass repair shops

Change comes after the much-maligned auto insurer has faced criticism for sky-high premiums

Surrey teen recalls ‘scary experience’ of falling down Oregon mountain

Gurbaz Singh broke his leg during a 150-metre fall on Dec. 30

Man accused in Kamloops murder claims woman died during rough sex

A Fraser Valley man stands trial for first-degree murder in connection with the 2016 death of a woman

Most Read