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Old 12-12-2013, 08:52 PM
Location: Salem,Oregon
306 posts, read 394,815 times
Reputation: 853


I keep Hummingbird feeders up all year here in Salem,Or. During our most recent cold cold weather I wrapped their feeders by taping a hand warmer to the bottom and covering that with a stocking cap I tied on. I kept them thawed all day this way and would bring them in at night. In the morning I would set them out for the day and would have 2 hummers waiting for each feeder (2). I kept a bird bath heater running so the birds had water which was in near constant use. I keep food out during the summer as well as plants but I minimize the food supply as it's just not used as much. Annas Hummingbirds are year round residents here and tough little guys, but I figure it doesn't hurt to help them out, especially when we get as cold as we have been.
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Old 12-12-2013, 09:40 PM
Location: West Virginia
13,762 posts, read 37,482,881 times
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Most birds Migrate IF you feed them they Wont! So I wait til they migrate put up the feeders take them down when chicks hatch. I don't want the babies Not learning what they are Suppose to eat in Nature. I am late this year..they wont get fed til Jan LOL I do this for my winter enjoyment of watch them come into feed they can get entertaining at time. Not cause I don't think they wouldn't survive without me.
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Old 12-12-2013, 10:18 PM
Location: CO
2,454 posts, read 3,353,472 times
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I feed year round. Fewer birds in winter because the species that need warm weather have migrated.
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Old 12-13-2013, 12:23 AM
Location: Pennsylvania
27,202 posts, read 14,467,201 times
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winter only-after the bears have gone to sleep. I've lost enough feeders to those stupid things!
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Old 12-13-2013, 01:39 AM
3,632 posts, read 5,819,462 times
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Originally Posted by Linda_d View Post
I have heard that you should take in hummingbird feeders after about mid-September, but it's much more likely that changes in daylight and temperatures trigger migration rather than the abundance or scarcity of food. Since birds are smart enough to navigate thousands of miles by the stars or landmarks or whatever, I think they're smart enough to figure out seasons are changing.
It's not necessary to remove hummingbird feeders if you have hummers that naturally overwinter in your area, like Anna's do here in northwestern Washington State. We have Rufous hummers in the summer that do migrate south, but the Anna's are permanent residents, so I keep my feeder out all year.

As you say, it's a fallacy that birds don't migrate if they're fed. If they are a species that is migratory, they migrate - food availability or not. If food had anything to do with it, I would have two species of hummingbirds here all year instead of just one, because the insects, which are their main food source, are here.

I participate in Cornell's Project Feeder Watch every winter and while I have numerous feeders out, there is a distinct monthly parade of birds that depart and arrive, except for the species that stay all year. As with the hummingbirds, feeders have nothing to do with it.
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Old 12-13-2013, 05:43 AM
Location: Swiftwater, PA
18,711 posts, read 16,557,221 times
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The biggest problem with feeding wild birds is that you are not just feeding the birds. Squirrels are the biggest offenders. You also have deer, turkeys, raccoons and opossums. Some times you can have mice and rats and an occasional skunk.

Some of these can be destructive and some can wreck any garden harvest. Gardeners spend a lot of time and money waiting for their first vegetables/fruit of the season. They don't like to share their effort with the local wildlife. Squirrels are one of the worst culprits and they get a lion's share of the bird seed - then they multiply. The other little critters also multiply with an abundance of food.

I don't want to see any wild animal/bird starve to death. I don't see too many problems with feeding during hard winters. I do see many problems with feeding year round especially for the gardeners and people with fruit trees.
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Old 12-13-2013, 07:46 AM
641 posts, read 975,369 times
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Originally Posted by Mack Knife View Post
Feeding anything wild, including birds is harmful.

Don't you realize that feeding creates an artificial environment just because you happen to like it? Don't you realize what you're doing? By providing food, you are making a mess out of the local environment. The birds will get along fine without your tampering.
I use to have this school of thought but I don't anymore and heres why. Humans have infringed on so many animals natural habitat now, that we are their environment. Humans have become apart of almost every animals environment by all the overdeveloping we do. I could understand feeding a mountain lion or an alligator and why this would be dangerous (to us), but I see nothing wrong with feeding a wild bird in winter time. The bird is going to find food one way or the other. The bird getting pieces of food from the OP is just adapting to its new environment that we created when we tore down its nest or built a house in its backyard. We more than likely tore down its habitat to make room for an Applebees anyway.

The only way this would have a negative impact on said bird is if OP died and couldn't provide for bird anymore, and if that did happen the bird will adapt and find a new source of food anyway, just like it did with OP.
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Old 12-13-2013, 08:01 AM
Location: In the realm of possiblities
2,707 posts, read 2,710,476 times
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I feed the birds in the winter, but it's plain to see that my feeders aren't their sole source of nutrition. They will eat awhile on the feeders, then fly over, and eat the berries off our shrubs, or scratch amongst the flowerbeds, and leaf-litter that collects here, and there in the yard. I would venture to say that since I don't feed them in the summer, they have enough intelligence to realize that my feeders are a seasonal thing, and not to totally depend on them. To add to that, they aren't staying at the feeders 24/7 anyway, since we have more than enough forest-land around us for them to supplement their needs.
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Old 12-13-2013, 08:39 AM
Location: SC
2,966 posts, read 4,962,555 times
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Originally Posted by Linda_d View Post
This is nonsense. If you don't want to feed birds, then don't, but don't make up BS about the practice. The local environment is already messed up by all kinds of human activity, even on the most primitive level.
I agree with this. I saw some frightening statistics on how many backyard birds are slaughtered by FiFi the housecat each year. Feeding a few birds wont hurt anything.

My main question is whether or not feeding birds attracts mice and rats. I never saw a single mouse in my house until I set up bird feeders, then found a bird seed bag outside that had been torn open by mice. It took me a year to get them all killed after they had babies in my wall.

My current home has a crawl space, and while I love watching feeders outside the window, I worry about attracting rodents that will pass into the crawl space.

Would love to hear feedback from people who use feeders, and those who have quit if you had a rodent issue.
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Old 12-13-2013, 01:49 PM
Location: SE Michigan
6,191 posts, read 17,517,581 times
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Bmachina, my current house also has a crawl space only...I have been here three years and no rodent issues so far. I do have cats and I am sure that helps.

Hawks are also an issue. I have a big spreading pine tree in my front hard and the feeders get hung under it so my tree is usually filled with chirping birds.

Birds are pretty resourceful for the most part! I plenty of them in wild areas far from habitation, so clearly they are doing what birds naturally do in order to eat through the winter. I also see flocks of birds around fast food restaurants, alleys with Dumpsters, behind grocery stores, shopping mall parking lots etc looking for discarded food to scrounge.
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