Finally! Thanks to local inventor Bob Saunders, and his "hummingbird fanatic friend", Marie Wheeler, Backyard Bird Shop now offers a Hummingbird Feeder Heater, which can make life easier for you and your Anna's Hummingbirds on frigid days.
by Molly Evans
Photographs by Bob Saunders
This morning I woke up to frozen hummingbird feeders. I ran out in my bathrobe to bring them both in, dashed around the kitchen preparing nectar, thawing out my feeders, refilling them with LIQUID nectar and finally returning them to my yard. I heard one hummer clicking at me furiously, as if to say, “You of all people should be more on top of this issue!”
And, thanks to Portland inventor Bob Saunders, and his muse, Marie Wheeler, I will be on top of this issue after today. I’m going to visit one of my 5 favorite Backyard Bird Shops and purchase Bob’s new Feeder Heater. Marie introduced Bob to a need that only Pacific Northwest backyard birders face: a way to keep hummingbird feeder nectar liquid on those winter days that see temperatures plunge into the 20’s and lower. Marie and some of her “hummingbird-fanatic friends” looked at various designs that Bob came up with, and suggested changes and improvements. .
The result? Bob’s patented, Feeder Heater is a high-quality unit from which almost any hummingbird feeder can hang! It keeps your humming bird feeder from freezing in cold weather (down to about 15 -20 degrees F., or 12 - 17 degrees below freezing.) Just locate the Feeder Heater near an outdoor electrical outlet, and then suspend your hummingbird feeder below.
In most of North America, hummingbirds migrate away in the fall, to spend the winter in warmer climates. But Anna’s Hummingbirds remain in the Portland/Vancouver area 12 months of the year. We have all noticed the increase in bird feeder activity when it is cold and icy here – I see a tremendous number of chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers, wrens and other birds at my seed and suet feeders on those days. But unless we keep our hummingbird feeders flowing with nectar, there is little we can offer to help sustain our Anna’s Hummingbirds.
I’ve heard from staff members and customers who’ve tried out Bob’s new Feeder Heater that not only does it keep the food liquid, it also provides a space for the birds to warm themselves. As a nice bonus, the birds look incredible under the light; their iridescent feathers explode in color under the light of the feeder heater!
So, visit a shop and we’ll show you how great Bob’s invention is! Or if you live outside of the Portland/Vancouver area, please phone a shop (503-626-0949) to discuss shipping options!