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Old 10-19-2008, 10:50 AM
 
Location: Somewhere out there
9,616 posts, read 12,911,827 times
Reputation: 3767

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We had about 10 black-chinned hummers around this summer here in central Washington State. They pretty much fueled up about 1 month ago and headed out south over the Cascades etc.

Problem is, we left our feeder up because one of the males still came around. Now it's going down to 30˚F or lower every night here, and he's STILL coming to the feeder.

Have I doomed him? Maybe I should move the feeder indoors and coax him into staying the winter, snuggled up in our orchid plants or hanging vines, sitting on my shoulder every morning sipping OJ with me? (Just kidding).

But I feel that if I pull the food source, I'm as good as killing him. If I keep it out there, nice and fress and super-saturated with sugar, I'm also guaranteeing that he'll eventually fall off the twig one of these nights .

Horrors! Guilt! No-one said that there was date at which time you pulled the feeder! Help!
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Old 10-19-2008, 06:24 PM
 
5,715 posts, read 15,041,803 times
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Your post saddens me!

Seriously, I really thought about this today. (You have to understand that I actually tried to save a black butterfly once that was dying... )

Everything I've read says to leave them out until they're nearly frozen for the occasional passer through. But, when I saw that my hummers were gone and I used the last of my batch of syrup, I took mine in.

But, my thought is that it could be that he for some reason is too old or not well enough for the trip (like my butterfly)... or, maybe, if you take it down now he'll find a way to migrate on the back of some also late goose flying through.

Poor little guy!
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Old 10-19-2008, 07:29 PM
 
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I have gone to seberal sights that all say that the old remove your fedder thing is BS. They say that the birds will leave when its time and they often leave at different times.I had about twenty of them and now notice that it looks like they are gone and other comeby for a bitye then leave. Our go to mexico. Also noticed that the first flights of geese have arrived for teh winter here.
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Old 10-19-2008, 07:57 PM
 
Location: In the Pearl of the Purchase, Ky
11,083 posts, read 17,527,537 times
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I was just reading that in the area Sunday paper this afternoon. It says to keep feeders out year round. When freezing weather sets in, alternate feeders between indoors and out or keep it from icing over with a heat lamp. "Those east of the Mississippi River who keep feeders out though fall and winter may get a bonus in an off season visit of species other than the common ruby-throated hummingbirds. (Birder's World magazine editor Chuck) Hagner said scattered sightings of rufous, black-chinned, calliope and broad-tailed hummingbirds more common to the west in winter have been increasing around eastern feeders in late fall and winter."
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Old 10-19-2008, 08:24 PM
 
5,715 posts, read 15,041,803 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kygman View Post
I was just reading that in the area Sunday paper this afternoon. It says to keep feeders out year round. When freezing weather sets in, alternate feeders between indoors and out or keep it from icing over with a heat lamp. "Those east of the Mississippi River who keep feeders out though fall and winter may get a bonus in an off season visit of species other than the common ruby-throated hummingbirds. (Birder's World magazine editor Chuck) Hagner said scattered sightings of rufous, black-chinned, calliope and broad-tailed hummingbirds more common to the west in winter have been increasing around eastern feeders in late fall and winter."
Your post makes me feel better for that little hummer but you ARE in the south and he's in Washington state.

I wonder if the article is aimed at those living in your area of the US or if that applies to all areas of the US ???

Last edited by World Citizen; 10-19-2008 at 08:57 PM..
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Old 10-20-2008, 09:54 AM
 
Location: Somewhere out there
9,616 posts, read 12,911,827 times
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Default Cornell to the Rescue!

New info: First, thx for all your thoughts and ideas! A good naturalist friend of mine said she spent time on this after I left her a somewhat frantic voice mail on Sunday (sent while I watched my little blk-chnd friend sipping at my refreshed and warmed solution).

She says that Cornell U.'s research indicates some species or individuals actually may stay around all year in the northern states. This one may be a straggler migrant from even further north (they possibly range all the way to northern BC, where, now, it really IS cold). He may be, as WC suggests, old, weak or lazy. or feels it's (relatively) real nice here compared to northern BC? "And someone feeds me too!"

There have been confirmed sightings in Yakima, WA, just south of us here, for blk-chnd hummers in the dead of winter. Just where do they get their necessary protein, usually in the form of v. small insects, ants, etc? Should I be putting pureed tofu into the feeder syrup (yuk!). Sounds like a good PhD research project: Protein food sources for over-wintering hummingbirds in SE WA State. Federal funding and everything! I like it: Dr. Rifleman!

So I will leave my feeder out until it freezes. Who knows; maybe I'll have the first hummer returns in our valley come spring. Thanks again everyone!

(PS: nice friendly thread and forum. No raging controversies! Nice)
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Old 10-20-2008, 10:03 AM
 
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I feel much better now ...

Thank you Cornell U and Rifleman!!!
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Old 10-20-2008, 10:10 AM
 
Location: Sarasota Florida
1,236 posts, read 4,046,783 times
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I live in the Rogue Valley, s/Oregon and it does go below freezing in the winter.

I keep my feeder up all year and when I know the temp will drop below freezing, I take the feeder into the house and then put it outside in the morning. The few hummies that hang around in the winter take shelter under the porch or somewhere down at the base of the house, because I see them emerge in the morning when I replace their feeder. I don't know how they survive, but the do.
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Old 10-20-2008, 10:37 AM
 
Location: In a house
21,956 posts, read 24,298,706 times
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The hummers know when to go and they will. You did nothing to make that bird stay. It could have been an older bird or a very young bird---some cannot make their long journey. Some just don't make it but it's not your fault. It is nature. The strongest will survive! I know it's sad but it keeps the healthy birds healthy. Even if you take your feeders down when you think it's the right time the hummers that are still there will just find other food sources until they know it's time to go. I left my last feeder up for two little hummers and they just finally left 2 weeks ago. I still left the feeder up just in case and only took it down yesterday. I kept the syrup fresh during those weeks too. In milder climates, even where it freezes some hummers sometimes will stay year around.
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Old 10-20-2008, 04:16 PM
 
Location: McKinleyville, California
6,414 posts, read 10,487,842 times
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Most birds, especially humming birds, have very fast heart beats. Their rapidly beating hearts keep them warm. I lived for 7 years at a higher elevation here and worked for an aviary with 65 tropical parrots. I even had parakeets, a cockatiel and a parrot. None of the birds seemed to suffer in the winter and all the cages were outside. Only their roofs and part of the sides of the cages were covered. All the birds even made it through a colds spell that lasted a week, with temperatures in the mid teens. Birds are very tough individuals, that is why they have been around since the dinosaurs. Hummers make it because of the high carbohydrate diet they thrive on. Have you ever held one in your hands? They feel like a buzzing electric razor, their hearts are going so fast.
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