---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Charlene and Jim Malone <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Thu, Oct 8, 2009 at 12:18 PM
Subject: Re: Winter h'bird topic
To: [log in to unmask]
With all due respect to Laura Erickson and Bob Fisher.......
The following is a msg from Lanny Chambers (a certified hummingbird
I am posting for him because he is not signed up to post on Mobirds.
IF anyone has an issue with Mr. Chambers' comments, please send them
directly to his e-mail: [log in to unmask]
DO NOT send them to me, because they will get dumped immediately.
Bob Fisher summarizes/quotes Ms. Erickson:
1. She knows of one case where a hummer keeled over after an early morning
drink of very cold sugar water. Her hypothesis was that the bird suffered
hypothermia from ingesting a large amount of cold liquid. Her
Take the perches off the feeder. That will insure that the bird keeps itself
warm with the exercise of staying in flight while feeding. She also
recommends putting out fresh, room temperature sugar water mixture at first
Lanny Chambers responds:
1. The "perch hypothermia" theory has zero
evidence to support it. No bander, researcher, or serious student of
hummingbirds believes it. Plenty of hummers feed at snow-covered,
half-frozen feeders without incident. One interesting hypothesis about
hummers hanging upside down or falling off of feeders: inexperienced
immatures may drink more than they realize, and weigh too much to fly
and/or shift their centers of gravity enough to make them lose their
balance. But that, too, is just a guess.
BF summarizes/quotes LE:
2. She says late hummers need protein as well as carbs. There are apparently
commercial mixtures for sale that include protein. "Nektar Plus" is one. She
regards them as "ideal" but says they are very expensive and spoil quickly.
She tells of having had a Rufous hummer visit her feeder in Minnesota one
She put out six feeders and added ground meal worms to the mixture of one of
them. During several freezing days when temps were below 20 degrees F, that
hummer visited the one with the mealworms 90% of the time.
2. When it's too cold for bugs to fly, hummers get all the
protein they need from dormant insects, plus their eggs and larvae. They
are adept at gleaning such tidbits from bark crevices and the undersides
of leaves, just like chickadees. Nektar Plus is NOT appropriate for wild,
non-captive hummingbirds. The Rufous that recently overwintered in Cape
Girardeau was provided only the standard sugar- water solution, warmed by
a light bulb as necessary to prevent freezing.
BF summarizes/quotes LE:
3. Apparently USFWS used to issue special permits for folks to trap
out-of-range hummers and move them to warmer climes. No more. Most of those
3. This part is true. Like most other attempts to rescue
healthy hummingbirds, sending them to somewhere they don't belong is
usually a death sentence, even for the few that don't die enroute. Not
all animals are supposed to survive no-matter-what; it's called natural
selection, and messing with it is foolish. That said, western hummers
that winter in the Gulf states instead of Mexico are no longer
considered out of range, and some of them pass through Missouri to get
BF summarizes/quotes LE:
4. If you have a late hummer visiting your feeder, and it fails to show the
next morning, it probably died during the night. If it shows in the a.m. and
then disappears, it has probably moved on.
4. This is too pessimistic. Some people don't realize how
early hummingbirds start their days. By the time it's light enough for
a human to avoid tripping over his own feet, a hummer may have finished
its breakfast and left. Notwithstanding the above, like other wild
creatures some hummingbirds die every day, and more during the stress
of migrations. Some no doubt do keel over at feeders, simply because
their number was up. It's a mistake to try to blame every birds' death
Charlene Malone responds to the above:
With all due respect, not everything on the internets or written in books
are factual. If I need to find out about any one bird in particular, I TRY
as best as I can to go to websites hosted by the experts in those
If you want to learn about hummingbirds, lurking on Hum-net is a start.
There one can find out the
who's who in the hummingbird world. Nancy Newfield, Bob Sargent are
prominent names... Lanny Chambers (Fenton, MO)is very knowledgeable with an
excellent website. Bill Hilton, Jr. also has a good website with lots of
info called Operation Rubythroat. www.rubythroat.org
PLEASE, this post is not meant to be malicious or down-putting just one to
pass on information from the experts in this field.
ALSO, I will not comment any further about these issues as I have spent too
time on this already. (I DO have more important things on my plate at this
Again, responses can be sent to Mr. Chambers directly.
The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
ASM Website: http://mobirds.org/