In the dead of winter, there sure aren’t many flowers or insects, so Anna’s Hummers become regular feeder visitors in my yard. It is unfortunate that as the weather turns very cold, and nectar freezes, that’s the time that our hummers need it the most!
I wish I could say that a brilliant bird lover has invented the perfect winter hummer feeder, but I don’t think that has happened yet. (Maybe you?) A common question in freezing weather is what to do to keep their hummingbird nectar from freezing! I can tell you a few ideas that have been shared with me by customers and fellow Backyard Bird Shop staff members, and maybe one or more will apply to you:
1. Many people (I am one of them) keep two feeders. One feeder is inside over night, filled and ready to go when I wake up in the morning. I bring in the frozen, or semi-frozen, feeder I left outside the day before and replace it with the feeder I had inside during the night. The frozen one thaws inside my house, and I continue switching back and forth as the outdoor feeder’s nectar freezes. Finally, the temperature usually warms up enough during the day to allow hummingbirds access to the nectar for a few hours without my vigilance. Since we don’t have too many days of freezing weather, this simple method works out for me.
2. Staff members have described stringing holiday lights on their hummer feeder. Those low-energy lights can generate just enough warmth to help keep the nectar from freezing. I’ve heard from customers who use a “Trouble Light” (like the kind you hang from the hood of a car when you’re working on the engine), hanging it close to the feeder and generating enough heat to help.
3. Some customers swear by window hummingbird feeders. Since they are attached to a warm house, the nectar tends to freeze more slowly.
4. Backyard Bird Shop sells inexpensive birdbath heaters, which can make life much easier for you and your backyard birds!
These are just a few ideas to get you started. Each backyard presents its own challenges and opportunities—maybe you’ll be inspired to invent the perfect arrangement for your own winter hummingbird feeding station.