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

Victoria homeless woman facing losing her truck

Willi Boepple fears losing one of her last possessions after being inundated with parking tickets

Saanich Police looking for information relating to suspicious death

The body of a man was found on Crease Avenue just after 9 a.m. on Saturday

Vancouver Island dialysis patients pedalling their way to health

“Dialysis is exhausting and the exercise program gives our patients something to look forward to…”

EDITORIAL: Island community livability list flawed

We each choose our own criteria, for our own reasons

Experience automotive classics and more at the Vancouver Island Concours d’Elegance

Motorcar Weekend features Show and Shine, high-end Concours division, all for a great cause

VIDEO: Canadian zoos’ captive breeding programs help preserve endangered species

Programs considered last-ditch effort to prevent local extinctions of turtles, butterflies and more

Vancouver man arrested after pregnant woman’s SUV stolen, then crashed

Police are recommending charges against a 22-year-old Vancouver man

Environment groups warned saying climate change is real could be seen as partisan

Talk of climate change could be viewed as advocating against Maxime Bernier, the leader of the People’s Party of Canada

BC Ferries employees cleaning up after plastic-shedding Denman Island ferry

The cleanup comes a few weeks after one organized by residents of the Island

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after Const. Beckett’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

15-year-old boy drowns after midnight jump into Okanagan Lake

The RCMP and BC Coroners Service are investigating the drowning.

Search crews find 4-year-old boy who went missing near Mackenzie

George went missing early Saturday afternoon

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Most Read