Last Updated on September 7, 2022 by Cristina
Find out how to feed hummingbirds in winter. You might be the one to save their life.
Depending on where you live, hummingbirds may linger or even migrate into your own yard when you least expect them, i.e. during the long, cold winter days. There are even some recorded cases of the same hummingbirds returning to the same feeder from winter to winter.
Although most of them migrate to warmer regions, a certain, small percentage of them sometimes stay if it is warm enough and they have enough food sources. Learn how to feed hummingbirds in winter, in order to be able to help them if they ever wander into your vicinity.
Dangers Lurking In Winter
Before you find out how to feed hummingbirds in winter, let us tell you a few sentences about the dangers of cold weather, which can cause great harm to these birds. Given that these birds have an incredibly fast metabolism, a rapid drop in temperature can be fatal for them. Accordingly, hummingbirds need reliable sources of food in order to maintain their body temperature and perform activities.
Unfortunately, once winter sets in, most of the nectar in the feeders freezes, and as a result, these birds cannot access the food that is vital to their survival. This is precisely why most members of this species migrate to warmer regions.
You Might Want to Read these Related Articles:
How To Feed Hummingbirds In Winter?
Honestly, it is difficult for hummingbirds to survive when they find themselves in such difficult conditions, but with your help, they can overcome all obstacles. Here’s what you can do:
Prepare Your Own DIY Sugary Solution
Feeding hummingbirds is a really fun activity with very few drawbacks. As for making nectar at home, keep the ratio of sugar to water at 1 to 4, as it is perfect for mimicking the natural flower nectar these birds are used to.
Always keep feeders clean to make them attractive to your diminutive feathered visitors. Clean them every 3-5 days, and every time you clean, be sure to refill never just top off.
Keep The Food Warm
If you want to prevent freezing, we recommend using an infrared bulb of about 125 watts. In addition, it is a much better option to choose white ones instead of those with red bulbs. Finally, although they are useful in some cases, avoid using LED bulbs in this one as they simply cannot produce enough heat to prevent the inevitable freezing of the food. Don’t forget to regularly check the condition of the nectar and cords or outlets to avoid a short circuit.
Make The Feeder Visible
Hummingbirds are birds that like bright colors, they associate them with flowers full of nectar, therefore don’t hesitate to choose feeders in vivid hues. In case your feeder is not like that, you can easily make it by adding a vibrant red ribbon.
After just a few visits, the hummingbirds will remember where they felt welcome and will return each time. Remember that it is strictly forbidden to use red food coloring, or even worse, to buy pre-made nectar dyed red. Their metabolism is simply not used to these artificial supplements and they can have numerous negative and even fatal consequences for their lives.
Offer Them Insects & Spiders
There is almost no hummingbird that does not enjoy nibbling on insects and spiders. Don’t be surprised if you notice them sneaking around your house, turning over dry leaves, and inspecting spider webs.
Considering that it consists exclusively of sugar and water, feeders containing nectar do not have a single percentage of protein. Therefore, keep in mind that these creatures aren’t only a supplemental food source, but also an excellent source of protein. In order to satisfy their nutritional needs, hummingbirds have to consume about 30 small flies a day in the summer, but we were unable to obtain accurate data for the winter period.
Related article: Do Hummingbirds Eat Aphids?
Install The Guards On The Feeders
By covering the feeders, you can prevent the feeding ports from being clogged with snow and ice. Also, when selecting the perfect one, we recommend choosing one that has enough space underneath for small porches, where the hummingbirds can rest while feeding.
Also, it would be great if you could find a dark-colored baffle because as you know, darker colors always attract more heat than lighter ones.
To Wrap Things Up
Pay attention to the visitors to your yard this winter. Maybe you will be the lucky one to be visited by these smallest birds in the world. Just in case that happens, you now know how to feed hummingbirds in winter. Follow them and the hummingbirds will thank you very much!
If you have any questions, please let us know in the section below.
What Do Hummingbirds Eat During The Winter?
Due to the lack of insects and fresh, fragrant flowers, hummingbirds feed mostly on nectar found in the backyard and garden feeders during the winter. That sugar solution is a real treat when the temperatures drop.
How Do You Feed Hummingbirds In The Winter Without A Feeder?
If you've spotted a stray hummingbird and want to help it, but you don't have a feeder, there's a great DIY solution that you can put together in less than an hour. All you need is a juice bottle and a container for storing leftovers.
How Do You Keep Hummingbirds Warm In The Winter?
Try following some of the following recommendations to help hummingbirds stay warm during the winter:
- Carefully choose the place where you will place the feeder to protect it from strong gusts of wind.
- Bring the feeder inside during the night to avoid freezing.
- Use an infrared bulb of about 125 watts to keep food warm.
- Invest in a feeder that already has built-in heating.
- Bring outside some of the plants, flowers, and shrubs that hummingbirds have proven to enjoy visiting.
Should I Heat Hummingbird Feeder?
It is preferable for the feeder to be warm, in order to avoid freezing the nectar. There are even feeders with built-in heating available on the market.