Hearty Hummingbird

by Sarah Shaffer

For the last month here in Wenatchee, WA there has been a hummingbird hanging out in my backyard. I see her on our fruit trees, in our pine trees and when I go outside she makes this incessant call as if she is talking to me. For the month of November I watched from my kitchen window while washing dishes at her trying to get nectar from the last remaining flowers that were blooming in the yard.

The new set up to hopefully keep the hummingbird nectar from freezing. Heat lamp!

By the end of November I decided our feathered friend was likely not flying south for the winter. So, I dusted off the hummingbird feeder we had sitting in our shed and decided to give her some warm homemade nectar. I did not make this decision lightly, as I have heard that birds in general, when being fed from a feeder will stay and not fly south if they have a reliable food source.

Since the feeder went up a few weeks back, I have discovered there is not one hummingbird but two that are attempting to feed from the feeder. The only thing is they look the same, green back grey tummy so I am not sure who is who. One keeps chasing the other off, so I never know which one I am seeing. Can’t we all just get along?

Unfortunately with the cold nights and cold days this last week into the 20’s, my method of duct taping disposable hand warmers to the feeder day and night hasn’t been cutting it anymore. So today I went all out and purchased a heat lamp. Yep, all for the little tiny feathery friend that is relying on me to continue feeding her through the winter. So, the food journey continues and I worry about these very small creatures day and night.

Facts:

  • There are three types of hummers that are found in the Wenatchee area. Anna’s, Calliope and Rufus.
  • Anna’s are non-migratory but Calliope and Rufus migrate.
  • Upon further identification, the hummers frequenting my feeder are female, but I am unsure if they are Anna’s or Calliope.
  • Hummers store food in their “crop” (pouch near their throat) which they use to feed on overnight.

Somebody is looking very cozy relaxing on the perch of the feeder tonight. She sat there for a very long time (10 minutes in one sitting) for a hummingbird.

Because December is the season for giving and kindness, I decided there was a small thing I could do to spread kindness to those lacking a voice. My focus this year has been our feathered friend that my daughter named “Chester” and who the entire family has come to appreciate. Maybe next holiday season our project will extend to furry or even scaly friends.

 

 

 

 

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