Thursday, December 12, 2013

Hummingbirds not allowed to die on my watch!

The sudden cold snap hereabouts has been very hard on the hummingbird population.  They're small, they burn lots of calories and their sources of food, natural and artificial, have been covered with snow and/or frozen.

I've retrofitted three of our ordinary "Perky Pet" hummingbird feeders to keep them thawed and available:

I used a cheap source of heat - Christmas lights.  Two of the C-7 bulbs provide 14 watts of heat, not a lot, but enough.  Like most incandescent lamps, about 90% of their output is heat.  One is near the narrow waist of the feeder, the other near the bottom, against the red plastic.  To hold the heat in, I used a spare chunk of foam pipe insulation, held on with a cable tie.

But this was prologue.  The other morning, I saw a hummingbird on one of our other feeders, not the ones with the light bulbs.  I went out to investigate and the bird stayed where it was, breathing rapidly.  (They always do.)  It was clear that the bird, either tongue or  beak, was FROZEN to the feeder.

I gently unhooked the feeder  and brought it and the bird inside.  I submerged the bottom of the feeder in a pan of warm water and took it back outside.  In a few minutes, the bird flew off, returning to feed again, this time from one of the heated feeders.  Lesson learned, I guess.

The snow has also provided a sighting of Bigfoot prints - or not.

Well, not Big Foot, perhaps, but at least MediumFoot.
Further details as they become available.