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Previously I lived in a high rise, but recently moved to a much birdier abode. I had been thinking about putting a Hummer feeder on my balcony, but demurred. When the recent cold snap came, I was galvanized. I had noticed an Anna's buzzing near my balcony.

I went to a nearby Wild Birds Unlimited and bought a feeder, then lazed out and also bought some concentrated pre-mixed Hummer nectar. When I returned home I put it out and shortly noticed some Hummer visits.

However, when the cold front got serious, I noticed that the nectar in the feeder was frozen solid. The Hummers, though, were still nuzzling the feeding holes, perhaps lapping up some sugary slush.

I pondered this situation and took this course of action. I had a small heater with a fan and I had a power plug on the balcony. So I took the feeder down and placed it on an upturned cereal bowl on the balcony floor. I turned the heater on Low and placed it about one foot away from the feeder with the fan pushing out a little warm air towards the feeder.

The nectar never froze with this setup and the Hummers quickly found the feeder on the balcony floor and soon were perching on the feeder close to the warm air. (A few years ago I had noticed 10 - 20 Anna's sitting on the interstices on the roof of the Bloedel Conservatory during a cold snap.)

When darkness arrived around 4 PM, the Hummers disappeared. Presumably they have night time roosts where they rest and lower their metabolic rates.

However, by the third day of the cold snap, only one Hummer was present at the feeder, a female. Even she seemed distressed, though. She was sitting on the floor of the balcony rather than perching on the feeder rails near the heat. I guessed that her feet may have frozen overnight, but am not certain. When I went out onto the balcony to get a closer look she flew off.

The cold snap ended, but initially no Hummers were present. Previously I had seen up to two Annas' simultaneously, so know that there were at least two in the area - probably more. Nevertheless, I still put the feeder out and about 2 days after temperatures returned to "normal", I spotted a female taking nectar. Not certain if she was the same bird that was distressed previously. Later I went out onto the balcony and looked around at nearby trees and shrubs. I spotted a female Anna's nuzzling cedar fronds, either looking for small bugs and perhaps gathering spider silk.
Hummingbirds in cold weather..I live in the Cariboo and it was minus 40 here for several days..To help hummers in cold weather switch out feeders during the day,use bubble wrap to insulate the feeder,hand warmers work well too as does heat tape and use a canopy to cover feeder. Also keep feeder out of wind and weather. 1 part sugar 4 cups water boil one minute cool and away you go..In summer I have 20-30 here at one time..Good luck and a good birder who cares.

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