Hummingbirds may need extra help during winter weather. (Facebook/Dreulani Dupuis)

Keep hummingbird feeders filled over winter, says Wild ARC

Consistent feeding important to tiny birds’ survival in Great Victoria

Humans aren’t the only ones shivering through B.C.’s cold snap.

After the recent temperature drop, some of Greater Victoria’s smallest critters are adjusting to the colder weather – including a B.C. favourite, the over-wintering Anna’s hummingbird.

Generally, the BC SPCA does not support feeding wild animals, but Meghan Hatch, assistant manager at the Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre (Wild ARC) in Metchosin, said hummingbirds become reliant on feeders they already frequent, especially during the winter months.

“Hummingbirds are the one sort of wild animal that might be more impacted by the cold weather because we have altered their habits a little bit with our offering of hummingbird feeders in the winter,” Hatch said.

READ ALSO: Wild ARC seeking donations for creature comforts

“We don’t always recommend feeding wildlife, but in the winter months especially, if you’re someone who feeds hummingbirds … it’s almost a responsibility to continue to do so, ensuring they still have access to that food source especially when the temperatures dip below zero.”

As for the sugar water, Hatch recommends a formula that is four parts water and one part white sugar – a mixture that most closely resembles the tiny bird’s natural diet.

Hatch said there’s no hard evidence against slightly increasing the sugar levels in the winter, but she still recommends against it.

Tina Lynne posted this picture to Facebook of her warmed up feeder. “In really cold snaps, I cover it with bubble wrap,” she said.

“With freshwater sources potentially being frozen over, the sugar water that people provide for the hummingbirds is also their source of water,” she explained. “If you add more sugar it dilutes that fresh water for them.”

More sugar can also increase the stickiness of the solution, which can harden on hummingbirds’ beaks or feathers.

Another winter dilemma for hummingbird lovers? Liquid solutions can freeze. Hatch said locals use everything from incandescent light strings and chicken coop heaters to thermal socks and large bulbs in order keep their feeders warm.

She also recommends regularly cleaning the feeder or switching it out with a second feeder to avoid bacteria buildup.



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Rickter Scale: Children in the eye of the porn storm

The Rickter Scale is a weekly column

BC Ferries’ two new hybrid vessels set sail for B.C. from Romania

Two Island Class ferries to be in use by 2020

Oak Bay is the second-least dangerous community in Canada according crime index

Victoria and Esquimalt ranks 32nd in Canada, 9th in British Columbia

Plant-based pizza restaurant to open its doors in Victoria this December

Virtuous Pie has locations in Vancouver, Toronto and Portland

VIDEO: Ron MacLean says he doesn’t believe former co-host Don Cherry is racist

Sportsnet fired Cherry on Nov. 11, two days after controversial on-air comments during ‘Coach’s Corner’

POLL: Do you plan on making any purchases on Black Friday?

We’ve all seen the images. Shoppers rioting outside of a store in… Continue reading

Distracted driving tickets not for ICBC revenue, B.C. minister says

Minister Mike Farnworth calls SenseBC analysis ‘nonsense’

CN Rail strike and lack of trucking alternatives stoke forest industry fears

Companies calling on the federal government to ‘do everything in its power’ to end the strike

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveils new Liberal cabinet

Pivotal role in his new cabinet for a minority-government era goes to Chrystia Freeland

B.C. woman puts call out for 10,000 personal, heartfelt Christmas cards for the homeless

Christmas Card Collective enters into third year of making spirits bright

No turn signals, double-parking among top concerns for B.C. drivers: poll

Two-thirds of B.C. drivers said that not using turn signals was their biggest pet peeve

1 dead, 2 seriously injured in crash with elk on Hwy. 18 in Cowichan

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP were called to the scene at about 8 p.m. Tuesday night

Man accused in fatal Shuswap church shooting also charged with arson

Parmenter family home badly damaged by fire a month before killing

Most Read