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Winter Hummingbirds

Here in the northwest we have Anna's Hummingbirds that stay here year round. How do these little tiny birds survive in the cold weather? Here is some interesting info about them.

by Michele Dupraw

• When it is cold, hummingbirds can go into a state of torpor that allows them to conserve energy. It is almost like sleeping. During torpor, the tiny bird’s body temperature can drop almost 50 degrees. The heart rate may slow from 500 beats per minute to fewer than 50, and breathing may briefly stop. They are able to lower their body temperatures by 95%, just above the level of hypothermia. Awakening from torpor takes about 20 minutes and happens about 20 minutes before dawn.
• Hummingbirds drink nectar but nearly 50% of their diet is made up of insects. Even during cold weather, there are insects that are active that they can eat.
• There are over 330 species of hummingbirds in existence and more are being discovered in tropical regions occasionally.
• Anna’s Hummingbirds have only been in this area (north of Baja California) for the last fifty years or so. It is believed that the planting of more exotic species has made it possible for them to live here throughout the year.
• There is not a commercial no-freeze hummingbird feeder available on the market, but come to one of our shops and we’ll help you develop something to help you through the few, freezing winter days in the Portland area!
Sources: Journey North Hummingbird, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, All About Birds
http://www.learner.org/jnorth/humm/index.html
http://www.naturalsciences.org/funstuff/faqs/hummers.html
http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/BirdGuide/Annas_Hummingbird.html#coolfacts