In the winter of 2011, my hummingbird nectar froze into a giant lifesaver of an ice cube. I’m a Californian which means I’m used to nectar that ferments into birdie moonshine after a few days in the sun. But last year we migrated north to Seattle … at the same time Anna’s Hummingbirds decide not to migrate south. So, I learned what it means to be a committed nectar provider and a hummingbird enabler.
We were staying with friends who had a territorial Anna’s male in their garden, a bird our friend christened Mr. Hummingway. The first morning his nectar iced over, I tramped out just after dawn to find him circling the feeder, trying each nectar port over and over in a desperate attempt at sustenance. It was a heartbreak. That was the first and last time Mr. Hummingway had to rough it at our feeder. I wrote about my ice-kingdom routine in this post about Hummingway.
I don’t have a feeder this winter but I’ve been researching easier heating methods for the next time I bond with a wintering hummingbird. I found instructions on how to build a self-heated feeder here and here and here … but I hadn’t yet seen one in practice.
A few days ago, on a blustery Seattle day, I caught sight of this setup in a driveway. There was some serious bird buzz around this feeder, so word of the warm nectar obviously gets around. Based on the traffic I saw at this spot, I have a sense that clever Hummingway kept his and my relationship to himself.