I still can’t get used to humming birds in winter. Of course our winter isn’t all that harsh, but I still think any sane humming bird should go to warmer climes. Our winters are green and soggy. Snow fall on half a dozen days is a lot; freezing nights are few.
When we first moved here, over thirty years ago, a humming bird in winter was an unusual occurrence. I subscribed to the philosophy I should take down my humming bird feeder in late summer and nudge the little sweeties on their way. What I didn’t realize is that our common summer humming bird, the rufous hummer, is a smart little creature. They go south. Seeing one here in the winter would be very unusual. The hummers we do get in the winter are Anna’s hummingbirds. They aren’t in my yard in the summertime, only in winter!
I still don’t feed in the fall, but, as soon as the weather turned and I caught sight of of an Anna’s, my heart melted and I rushed to put out a feeder. Later on we had a cold snap. For over a week either Dale or I got up early to put the feeder out at first light. We took it in every night so it wouldn’t freeze. When it was just getting light enough to sort juncoes from white-crowned sparrows, there he would be, waiting for us. He’d even sneak a few sips while I reached to hang the feeder! Have you ever been tickled by a hummingbird?
Most of the winter our regular visitor has been an immature male Anna’s, but when the weather was its nastiest we suddenly had four hummers! Big, wet snow flakes drifted down and there sat four Anna’s hummingbirds, all fluffed up. It was as if it was too cold to argue. They perched and bickered and mostly inhaled our sugar water. As soon as the weather improved we were back down to one pugnacious immature male and a second who’d sneak in when the coast was clear.
About ten days ago the tides turned. Now ‘Fancy Dan,’ the beautiful male Anna’s is the regular visitor and the immature male sneaks in when the coast is clear. Fancy Dan is such a handsome fellow! Depending on the angle of light, his iridescent feathers can be almost black .... or magnificent.
And he knows he is magnificent. I caught him perched, puffed, and singing his pea-pick’n heart out. The song is so soft I can barely hear it from less than fifteen feet away.