Where do the little birds go?

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My little friend in warmer weather

Where do the little birds go in the winter for shelter? I’ve asked this question more than once, even on this very blog.
During our recent uncharacteristic snow storm, with the cold chilling to the bone, it has taken become much more of a concern. Birds need to be fed when snow covering everything.
I spent several days, running back and forth, unfreezing hummer feeders and refilling the other bird feeders. They flocked around, emptying these almost as fast as I could fill them.

winter snow 2014, snow storm 001

On Saturday, during one of my feed runs, I noticed our fearless little backyard dive bomber hummer. He sat on a bush branch near his feeder, waiting for the thawed nectar to return, FWI it takes some time to thaw a frozen hummer feeder, but I moved as fast as possible.

He’s normally full of spit and fire. When I go out on my deck in the summer, he makes several warning passes at me, to make clear who owns this feeder. The feeder is situated on a beam near the edge of our deck. He would often have the adasadty to fly right under the covered deck and make a few passes at me.
He buzzs me when I’m getting close to that feeder,or just to make a show of his fierceness. A few times he flew by and startled me so much that I dropped it and all the sugar water.

Yet seeing him there on that bush, was heart wrentching. He had lost all the fight in him. He looked pathetic, drained, as frozen the feeder itself, no doubt starved since the last thawed feeder’s departure and arrival a hour earlier. His little feathers were fluffed to keep warm.
He seems lifeless, barely moving. As I approached, getting within a few feet of him, no bold buzzts, but a weak little plea for help it seemed. He never moved, too cold or hungry.

I was recently made aware of a fact about hummers through a public TV documentry .They need to maintain a constant intake of food to stay alive. An hour can’t go by. It could cause death, it’s no wonder they defend their food sources.
Some have died during the long lapse of food intake during the night. I was shocked. Now I got thinking, “am I able to keep up the needed amount fast enough? That would explain his lifeless behavior, in addtion to the extreme cold.

My heart was crushed, it was so sad. If he was this cold and hungry in the day, what would happen to him at night? Where do they find shelter? This weather is unatural, they mirgrate to warmer climates usually.
I thought of of how different this little guy was during spring and summer
Was I thawing the feeder fast enough to keep him alive? I was beside myself. what would happen to him? I had to do somethng, but what?
I rewatched the hummer documentry. It made me feel worse, not better.
I fretted all day.Woried and felt so upset.
I am easily overwroght and emotional these days.To illustrate, if I look at older pictures of a part of my family, who have moved a distance away, a call, email or text which is pages long, gushing my sentmental ramblings will be sure to follow later that day. This must be a special joy for the fortunate family member who recives one, to wade through [maybe not].

I’m sure my teenaged granddaughters are especially thrilled to recieve a book length communique, what do you think? This just illustrates how overly emotional I am now prone to.

Later that day he was sitting one a tree branch on feeder patrol. He buzzted me. He was surviveding and improving My fretting turned to Joy! He was moving and he had regained some of his former spunk. A most welcome sight.
Buzzt me all you want at my little friend, I love hearing that sound.

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2 replies

  1. Barbara, during cold weather, when my hummingbird feeders will freeze overnight, I keep two sets filled: one is always in the kitchen thawing overnight. First thing in the morning I swap out the frozen outdoor feeders for the warm and thawed indoor ones. We get Anna’s Hummingbirds all winter here and they will be at the feeders as soon as there is enough light to fly, shortly pre-dawn.

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    • I appreciate another hummer lover, who thaws feeders too. I was usually abble to do just as you suggested, But on those unheard of freezing cold days, I was re-thawing the feeders every hour or so because they’de re-froze so fast, every hour or so. It broke my heart to see them in such a state unable to get any nector out and being cold as well
      The males don’t even have nests. they just sit on a tree branch in a slowed metoblic state. It’s warmed up here, but I’m not seeing them, I hope the cold didn’t get them, but I suspect it mighthave. What I wouldn’t give for a nice dive bomb and a zzzt at me.=Barb

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