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How to Feed Hummingbirds in Winter Cold

We often are asked to field questions about hummers that spend the winter in colder climes and what we humans can do to help ease some of their struggles. Some steps you can take to keep the nectar from freezing.

  • Bring feeders indoors to warm/ defrost and rotate out with other feeders.
  • Use a dome to protect from snow, sleet and ice.
  • Position the feeder to protect from cold winds and exposure.
  • Attach hand warmers to the feeder.
  • Heat tape such as used from pipes.
  • Place a clamp-on/ clip-on shop/ work light adjacent to the feeder---about 12-24" away would be as plumbers do when defrosting frozen pipes. Test the distance before you walk away. Try a 125 Watt infra-red light bulb, but not the red-glass type. Get an I.R. bulb with clear envelope, it casts a more natural light. Connect it all to a timer.
  • Place holiday lights around, above or below the feeder.
  • Insulate with any fabric.
  • Some say to alter the water: nectar ratio but we disagree and feel any of the above methods should suffice and still satisfy their nutritional needs

Whatever you do make sure the hummer has unobstructed access to their feeding ports. Use common sense and your best judgment. Your hummers will appreciate your effort(s).

Remember: Safety first! Any lights, heating tape or electrical devices present fire and electrocution dangers. Only use electrical products and cords that are rated for exterior use. Do not use electric heating pads outdoors! Don’t enclose lights or place a feeder too close to a heat lamp-it could ignite a fire. Heat lamps or lights may melt poor quality plastic of discount-store feeders.


Some links for additional info:

    • Seattle Audubon offers some interesting insight into tending to hummers that are braving the cold. More
    • Don Gorney has some great tips and photos about feeding hummingbirds in winter in Indiana. More
    • Skip Russell has a good photo of christmas lights under a hummingbird feeder. More
    • Sheri Williamson offers some thoughts to ponder about "Perch Hypothermia": Is It A Threat? More
    • King 5 in Seattle has a great article with even better pictures. More

How Hummingbirds Survive on Cold Nights


Hummers Heated Delight

The Hummers Heated Delight is a heated hummingbird feeder that will feed your hummingbirds warm food all winter long. They love it!

The Hummers Heated Delight is a revolutionary new product based on years of research and testing which was designed by the inventor of Bo's Anchor Release line of products.

As many bird lovers know, hummingbirds may overwinter and in doing so their food supplies may be limited or even non-existent during cold snaps.

The Hummers Heated Delight prevents the hummingbird's food from freezing which allows them to feed during cold weather. Our heated feeders have been tested at temperatures as low as 1 ° Degree Fahrenheit and the food was still liquid - unfrozen.

Our heated hummingbird feeders are handmade with care in the beautiful Willamette Valley region of Oregon where we have hummingbirds year-round. These are designed for under the eaves or on a patio. Not for direct weather.

Website

An article written by Steve Lathrop in the Albany Democrat-Herald about Hummers Heated Delight heated hummingbird feeders.


Heating a hummingbird feeder with a heating pad

Heating a hummingbird feeder with a reptile terrarium heating device

How to prevent a hummingbird feeder from freezing


Winter feeder warmer!

By Wayne Schmidt

Over the years I've noticed that while most of the hummingbirds in my location fly the 50-miles south to the warmer climate of Los Angeles around November, there are always a few diehards that overwinter in spite of the nightly freezes. I assume they find warm places to spend the night under the eaves of houses where escaping heat warms the air. Even if I take my feeders down I can hear and see these hardy souls flying around during the day. Consequently, I've decided to leave my feeders up to help make their lives a little easier.

One problem with this is that night time temperatures often drop low enough to freeze the sugar water in a feeder. When the birds wake up in the morning and are in their greatest need for nectar they can't feed until the solution thaws. To prevent it from freezing I developed a simple and inexpensive warmer that keeps the nectar warm.

I mounted a deep aluminum pan on the feeder's support platform and secured a block of wood to the center to hold the feeder. Then I placed a 4-watt night light inside it and plugged the light into a automatic timer. The foil pan helps hold in the heat and light from the bulb and concentrate it on the feeder.

The feeder sits in the foil pan. The timer is set to turn on at dusk and the 4-watt light provides enough heat to keep the nectar from freezing. Because the feeder is located under a rainproof cover I don't have to worry about the wires shorting out.

It works better than I had hoped. Not only does it prevent the nectar from freezing, it warms it to a comfortable 65-degrees so that it's a good temperature to help warm up hummers in the freezing mornings. One additional benefit is that the light shining up through the feeder's red top makes an attractive glowing accent on the porch.

UPDATE: I learned that I could simplify the warmer by just mounting a 4 watt incandescent night light under the feeder and it worked just fine. I covered the inside of the plastic diffuser with aluminum foil tape to reflect more light upwards, but I doubt that's really necessary.

Copyright Wayne Schmidt. Used by permission More

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