(Originally posted 11/24/2010) Two years ago, our island experienced a big chill in December that left many of the birds challenged to find food. I wrote then about Anna's Hummingbird wintering in the San Juans and being vulnerable to these cold spells.
As you may recall, this is a species that ranges from Baja to southern British Columbia. They are year-round residents of the archipelago, sharing the spring and summer months with the more familiar rufous hummingbird. The rufous have gone south for the winter. Anna is still here.
Some of you may want to put a hummingbird feeder out. I put mine up on Sunday and it was only a few minutes before a female Anna arrived. She has been here ever since drinking nectar and perching in nearby ocean spray to keep out of the wind and snow.
There are food resources, including charity mahonia, winter blooming jasmine, dawn viburnum, hardy fuchsia and winter blooming honeysuckle, available to the wintering hummingbirds in some island gardens, but as the chill deepens this week giving the tiny birds an extra source of fuel from our feeders may be helpful.
If you put out a hummingbird feeder, make sure to check it frequently as the nectar will freeze in these cold temperatures. Have extra food available inside so you can change-out your feeder frequently.