Monday, January 15, 2007

Not your usual winter feeder bird

Last October I was out in the garden and heard a familiar hummmm and a squik squik! A hummingbird? In October? Sure enough, there was a fat little Rufous hummingbird still hovering around, going for the last of the hardy fuchsias. I'd long since taken in the hummingbird feeders, so I told him to go south with the rest of the hummers.

I guess he didn't listen to me.

Later in December, I heard the same sound again. And sure enough, there he was -- no, this time two of them, zipping around the garden, searching for something to eat.

I've heard that one shouldn't leave hummingbird feeders out late into the fall, because hummers need to go south while there's still food on the way, and that leaving feeders out encourages them to stay when they shouldn't. I've also heard that they know to go south by day length, not by food availability. And I've heard that in some areas, hummers are hanging about all winter instead of going to Mexico like they should. Whatever the reason, we still have hummers gadding about the garden.

I put the feeder out for them again, but with the cold snap we've been having in the west, it's been freezing solid at night. Then I hit on the idea of hanging the feeder by the flood light on the back deck. The heat from the lamp keeps the feeder from freezing, so there's food available first thing in the morning. For all I know, they may be sipping at night, since the feeder is lighted for them.

Here's a shot of one of the little guys resting in the Douglas-fir tree. Look closely and you can see him. I'm trying to get a picture of one at the feeder, but it's tricky, and my camera keeps focusing on the trees in the background instead of the bird in the foreground.

1 comment:

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