It was bitter cold this morning; somewhere around 19 degrees when dawn finally broke. It was just beginning to get light out, and I stood in the kitchen sipping my coffee. Suddenly, there was a quiet tap on the kitchen window. I went to investigate and found a hummingbird flitting around looking for our hummingbird feeder. With our recent extreme cold, we’ve been bringing the feeder in at night so the sugared water won’t freeze, and I do believe the hummer was letting me know it was time to put it out again. I was happy to oblige.
Several years ago, I would have felt guilty leaving my feeders out in the winter. I believed, and had been told many times, that doing so would encourage hummingbirds to winter over – putting them in danger of the freezing cold. I’ve since learned that is not true. While the Rufus hummingbirds which we see in the summer do migrate south, the Anna’s hummingbirds naturally over winter in the valley and my feeder is just one source of food – and a very important source when temperatures reach this cold.
I’ve attempted many times to take pictures of our hummingbirds through the kitchen window but it has been difficult — my camera glares off the window glass in the morning, it likes to focus on the glass or the plants in the background, and the little birds just move too fast. However, I have identified at least three different hummingbirds in our yard this winter; an adult male, a female, and a juvenile male.