Throughout British Columbia, there are a number of hummingbirds that reside during the spring and summer months, with the exception of Anna’s hummingbird, which is a year-round Pacific Coast resident. During the winter months and cold snaps, these birds depend on a reliable food source in order to survive.
Generally, wild animals are able to adapt to changing conditions, but some species like the Anna’s can become dependent on humans for survival. Cold weather an drastic temperature changes can be dangerous to these tiny birds, so it’s important to provide them with a steady supply of nectar.
Here are some tips on how you can provide hummingbirds with support throughout the winter and how to prevent freezing in feeders during cold snaps as well.
- Check your feeder hourly to ensure all components are not frozen
- Use incandescent lights or other heat-generating devices to warm feeders and shelter areas for birds
- Put the feeder in a protected area. Near a covered porch, away from the wind if possible
- Avoid using feeders with metal parts as they may cause more harm
- Maintain a ratio of 1:4 sugar to water (boiled and then completely cooled)
- Keep hummingbird feeders clean. Washing hummingbird feeders on a regular basis can help prevent mold and fungus, which can be deadly to hummingbirds This will also ensure that the nectar is able to move freely and that none of the ports are obstructed.
- Refill the feeders frequently. An adequate supply as nectar is needed so that they are able to drink as much as they need and to support visiting birds that need quick energy
- Don’t prune shrubs or trees near feeding areas. Hummingbirds perch in shrubs and sheltered area to rest between feedings.
- Have a friend or neighbor check on your feeder if you’re going away.
If you find a bird that is in distress, sick, or injured in the Lower mainland you can reach out to these organizations.
- Wildlife Rescue Association of BC. (Burnaby) 604-526-7275
- Elizabeth’s Wildlife Centre. (Abbotsford) 604-852-9173
- BCSCPA Wildlife Helpline. 1-855-622-7722
- Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society (OWL) Delta (Raptors only). 604-946-3171