The time was 4:30pm . . . snow flurries blowing about, and the temperature hovering around the 31 deg (F) mark. I open the sliding door to the deck and one by one I take down the hummingbird feeders. Then, I brave the wind whipping around the front of the house, and take down the ones in front.
The above photo was the last hummingbird photo I snapped this year (not that good); the date was August 29th. There had been migrating birds after that, but fewer each day.
Eventually I settled on three feeders in front (one hanging and two windows), and four in back (two hanging and two window feeders), and waited for the week where I did not see any more hummers.
Back to the present . . . I was in the process of cleaning the feeders when Melisa says she noticed a hummer flying around where the feeders usually hang. Sure enough, I see it it too. It looks like a smaller version of the one pictured above.
A fresh batch of nectar is made, and all the feeders get hung back up. Literally, the hummer comes to the first feeder I hang back up as I was still putting it out there. She hesitates (looks like a young female), but the second I step back, she’s on it as if her life depends on it.
It probably does.
Tonight the temperatures will dip to 20 (roughly -7 C). I know some species now overwinter at lower longitudes (New Mexico and Arizona), and that hummingbirds can go into torpor, reducing their metabolism by 95%, but tonight will be harsh.
I know compared to the problems of the world the fate of two ounces of feathers and tiny bones are insignificant . . . but not to me. I’ll leave the feeder out until after dark, bring them in overnight, and I will get up before dawn to hang them up again.
We hope to see the foolish little creature tomorrow, and if we do, we won’t know if it will be the same we saw today . . . but we will assume so.
Meantime, we worry . . .
Edited to Add: (9:00 am, the next morning) Just saw what looks to be the same hummingbird at the window feeder. I’ll be changing the mixture, and rotating the feeders so that they don’t get too cold. The normal mix for hummingbird food is 1/4 sugar solution, but I was reading where 1/3 is more appropriate for cold weather (extra boost).
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