Winter Hummingbirds

Anna's Hummingbird by Dan Mitchell

In the Portland/Vancouver area we host Anna’s Hummingbirds year ’round. How do these tiny birds survive our coldest weather? And, how can you help?

When it is cold, hummingbirds can go into a state of torpor that allows them to conserve energy. Torpor is similar to hibernation, only for a short duration. 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.
Read on for more interesting facts about Anna’s Hummingbirds, our year’round resident hummers:

• 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.

Come see our selection of heated hummingbird feeders and accessories to help ensure your Anna’s Hummingbirds can find free-flowing nectar on even our coldest winter mornings.  We have a number of options, possibly one that is just right for your situation!