My winter flock

Yes, it snowed. A lot. Here? 10 inches. And when it snows like this there is one thing on my mind. The hummingbirds. 

Meet the Anna's hummingbird. They're about 3 inches in size, green-backed and the males have black/red heads. They're fiesty acrobatic flyers, with loud voices (which might be why I'm a tad obsessed). In the Pacific Northwest, they're a common companion. They haven't always lived this far north—or abandoned winter migration patters—due to a host of reasons like climate change, evolution, urban development, food availability, etc. 

They live off of nectar and insects but, in particularly cold or unusual weather conditions, can struggle to survive. A hummer can, on cold winter nights, burn off 16% of it's body weight and will need to gain that—and more—during the day.   

Generally, the LAST thing I want to do, for any species, is feed it. I don't want to disrupt behavior patterns and food sources or lure it out of it's typical territory. However, I know these hummers live here. I know they struggle with cold snaps. And I will do all I can to help them through it. 


So this winter, keep your hummingbird feeders full (no need to add processed red food coloring to the sugar mix!), keep them clear of ice or snow and bring the feeders in at night so they don't freeze. I, and our small friends, thank you. :)