Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Winter Hummingbird

Cold weather is here and the lights that warm our hummingbird feeder failed. We made it fall a year ago when Thumbelina, a female rufous hummingbird, first showed up. She came every day from November 7 through April 11, then moved on to her summer breeding grounds, possibly in the Northwest. Rufous Hummers have been seen in summer from Oregon to Alaska. 
Map from Cornell's site

They're usually on the West Coast all year, so she's a real wanderer. More and more are seen in the East in winter. They've adapted pretty well to the cold weather.  

When it’s above freezing, she eats insects. We often see her darting back and forth, usually in our holly tree. We know it’s Thumbs because nothing else can change direction in mid flight that way.


They've adapted pretty well to the cold weather.  When it’s above freezing, she eats insects. We often see her darting back and forth, usually in our holly tree. We know it’s Thumbs because nothing else can change direction in mid flight that way.

Christmas tree lights in a plastic tub



The temperature is going down to 15 degrees this week, so we dug out another set of lights and re-rigged her heated feeder. Appropriate for January 6 and the Feast of Lights, don't you think? This is also Epiphany, when the wise men visited the babe in the manger.

Thumbelina, Nov 13
We’ve been watching for her and she came back November 13. Here she was on that bright, sunny day. We didn't attach the lighted container until the first freeze.

When the temperature reaches mid forties, we turn it off as the liquid (1 part sugar to 4 parts water) starts to thicken if too warm.
I managed to get a bad picture of her while ago, so she’s doing well.
Thumbs, Jan 6


The lively and entertaining Shehanne Moore, author of some excellent steamy historical romances, nominated me for the Drum Beat Award. Visit Shehanne's blog! She's funny, nice, generous, and always interesting. 
“This is an award created by Sue Dreamwalker to pass along to bloggers who are sharing posts which are helping show our empathy, Love and Kindness, or who Highlight injustice who beat their own Drum to bring awareness to the world”.
Drum Beat Award

8 comments:

Shehanne Moore said...

it sounds very nice dear!! Just like you are.

Ellis Vidler said...

Shehanne, you should be my public relations agent! Thanks for stopping by.

Polly Iyer said...

Your birds know how lucky they are to have you. That's why they keep coming back.

Jan Christensen said...

Love hummers! We get quite a few, spring and fall, migrating through the Texas gulf coast. So far, all ruby throated. We've had as many as a dozen one season, but they were not as numerous in 2014. Wondering why.

sherry fundin said...

So cool. I love hummingbirds too. She is very lucky to have you looking out for her. ^_^

Ellis Vidler said...

Thank you all for stopping by. Thumbelina made it through our cold night and was back this morning, I'm glad to say. I sat for quite a while with my coffee watching all the activity--bluebirds, titmice, wrens, sparrows, finches, doves, brown thrasher, and of course the cardinals. There may be others I'm forgetting, but they seem to be okay. The temperature will stay below freezing all day, so I keep putting out more food. I hope this is all the serious cold for this year.
Happy 2015!

Una Tiers said...

Years ago a neighbor said she had hummers around. I bought a feeder, set up a long board so the squirrel would leave it alone and painted the board red. I planted red flowers and painted the inside of the fence red. Then I cooked the sugar and added the food coloring. Each week I climbed up and took it down, washed it, and cooked up another batch.
After two months, I gave up. The same week, a hummer came to the feeder, gave me a dirty look and left.

Vicki Lane said...

I've loved following your little Thumbellina!