How Keeping Hummingbird Nectar From Freezing Can Be Done
How keeping Hummingbird nectar from freezing is very possible.
I have some great info that will help you do this successfully.
There are a number of ways that this can be implemented.
But first you might be asking this question…
Why Do People Feed Hummingbirds in Winter?
Let’s look at why anyone would want to feed Hummers a liquid in the below freezing weather of the north.
Hummingbirds typically migrate from North America in the winter, for the most part, to south or central Americas.
Several types of Hummingbirds also inhabit the southern regions of Arizona and Texas all year where the temperatures are sufficiently warm enough.
There are exceptions though to those Hummers who travel to spend their winters in warmer climates. One is the Annas Hummingbird.
The Annas Hummingbird lives all year on the western coast of North America along the shores of the Pacific ocean in California, Washington, Oregon, and southern British Columbia. Here the temperatures although cold only dip below zero occasionally so that dedicated bird watchers can be successful at keeping Hummingbirds at their feeders all year.
But occasionally stragglers occur in colder areas. And, there are also some Hummingbirds, who for whatever reason choose not to make the long migration trip.
List of 3 Reasons Why Hummingbirds May Not Migrate
Hummingbirds on the west coast of North America have been expanding their winter range in the last couple of decades.
Many people in Southern British Columbia, Canada and the northeastern United States, Oregon, and Washington have had Hummingbirds remain all winter.
But there are other reasons that may cause our little Hummers to stay behind in winter:
- Young and just not ready yet.
- Too old to make the trip.
- Injured or sick.
Whatever the reason for not leaving it seems indifferent to us to not make an attempt to help these “hanger-ons”.
How to Keep Hummingbird Nectar From Freezing
But what can we do?
On the west coast of North America as far north as Vancouver British Columbia, Hummers have stayed all winter for decades.
Enjoy this amazing video of one household’s winter chores!
Isn’t that amazing to us Hummingbird Lovers in the eastern half of the continent?
I would love to be busy with taking care of those feeders all winter!
How is Keeping Hummingbird Nectar from Freezing Possible?
Here are some examples:
Here is a list of ways for keeping Hummingbird nectar from freezing:
1. Wrap a short string of outdoor Christmas lights (not LED as they will not get warm) around the nectar holder of the feeder. Keeping in mind not to use too many lights making the syrup too warm. Would it matter about the color of the lights?
Studies show that Hummers do like red, orange, or yellow the best, but not in exclusion to other colors.
2. The picture below shows a version of keeping syrup warm which worked well for the creator. Only
one small light bulb is used and a foil plate to reflect the light back onto the feeder. This may not be enough if you live where the temperatures are typically below zero to keep the syrup from freezing
but worked well for this bird watcher.
3. Purchase a 125 watt infra-red light bulb (not the red type) and screw it into a clamp-on-light fixture. Place the light 1 to 2 feet from the feeder. You can connect it to a timer to come on during freezing temperatures or leave it on all the time. (Check the temperature of the syrup to adjust the distance. This information came from birdchaser.blogspot.ca)
This is what this set-up looks like below:
8 Tips For Keeping Hummingbird Nectar from Freezing:
- To keep nectar liquid in freezing temperatures, simply change out the feeders during daylight hours with fresh feeders. This is of course labor-intensive, but a “labour of love” as the woman in the video above declared.
- Hang feeders in a sheltered location out of the wind and exposure.
- Tape hand warmers around the syrup holder for keeping Hummingbird nectar from
freezing. These should be placed especially close to the feeding ports to prevent them from freezing.
- Use plumbers heat tape to wrap your feeder. It often
comes with a thermostat which will be useful for keeping the nectar at the
right temperature. Plumbers have been in the business of keeping water free in
freezing weather for many years. ?
- Use a dome baffle above the feeder or mount an umbrella above the nectar feeder to
prevent a build-up of snow or freezing rain on the feeder. If you use an umbrella don’t clean freezing rain off the umbrella to prevent damaging it, let the ice melt off naturally.
- Hanging the feeder in a sheltered location will help, such as under a porch roof.
- Wrap your feeder with an insulating material such as clear
wrap scrunched up to provide insulating thickness, bubble wrap or insulated tape would be good
choices. Fiberglass batting is not a good choice for obvious reasons, as the glass fibers could injure the little birds.
- Erect a protective shelter by hanging a box or pail upside-down, that is large enough to accommodate a light and a Hummingbird feeder beside each other. The shelter will prevent snow build up on the feeder and the light will keep the syrup
Will Changing the Strength of the Syrup Help to Keep Hummingbird Nectar from Freezing?
Normally it is recommended to mix the syrup solution to a 4:1 ratio. You can
even make it weaker to a 5:1 ratio during the summer months and the
Hummingbirds will not notice.
Many experts believe that mixing the syrup solution stronger to a 3 part water to 1 part sugar solution when it is colder will help the Hummers in cold temperatures. Giving them extra fuel to produce heat and energy at this needy time.
The stronger solution also has a slightly lower freezing level so it will also be helpful in keeping hummingbird nectar from freezing.
To sum it up, in cooler weather in early spring, late fall and all winter, a stronger syrup solution will assist in keeping nectar free of ice and give the birds more needed energy. Click here for a more in-depth discussion on syrup strength.
How Well do Hummingbirds Survive in Freezing Temperatures?
It will surprise you how well Hummingbirds will thrive even
in the coldest temperatures. Their high rate of metabolism and the fact that
they are designed to go into a deep sleep called “torpor” to conserve energy
will make feeding Hummingbirds in winter a great success.
Most wild birds only need to migrate because of a lack of food. Keeping warm is not a problem unless there is severe cold conditions or a lack of available food sources.
If you would like to learn more about how Hummers have adapted to survive in winter and have greatly expanded their areas over the last few decades, here is a very interesting article from Birds and Blooms.
I hope this information helps you in keeping hummingbird nectar from freezing if you have little birds visiting your feeders in frosty weather.
Or You can buy a
Hummer Hearth Hummingbird Feeder Heater