Anna’s Hummingbirds – Faithful Winter Friends

15 Dec

Anna's Hummingbird

Male Anna’s showing us his best side.

Anna's Hummingbird, female

Female Anna’s

I have been having a crisis at my feeders.  No one is coming to eat and visit.  Not sure what the problem is.  I’m working on it.  In the meantime, I do have one faithful friend who visits regularly.  The Anna’s Hummingbirds are keeping me from dispair.  I am blessed with hummingbirds year ’round.  But, being blessed with their sweet whirring presence year ’round makes me feel so responsible for them.  On cold, wet, rainy days (like today), I worry so much about them.  Will they get enough nourishment to survive?

Then I laugh.  The reason they are here is because they can survive.  They’ve been doing it for a long, long, long time.  Does that stop me from putting out hummingbird juice all winter?  Nope.  I’m happy to make their lives a little easier if I can.

They give back to me too.  Little sparkling jewels that dance at my kitchen window.  Oh yes, I am being rewarded in return.

Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna, are a small hummingbird that winters in the US.  They will be joined in January by Allen’s Hummingbirds and Rufous Hummingbirds as well but Anna’s are my year ’round visitors.  Male Anna’s Hummingbirds have bright pink throats and heads.  They are very striking and very protective of their feeders.  The females are shy and very subtle in coloring.  It is nearly impossible to tell apart the females and juveniles of the three Hummers that visit my feeders in the winter.

For more amazing bird photos, check out Bird Photography Weekly #16 hosted by our friends at


11 Responses to “Anna’s Hummingbirds – Faithful Winter Friends”

  1. robin andrea 15 December, 2008 at 7:20 am #

    We haven’t hung any feeders here at the coast, but we do get to see one hummingbird everyday. He sits on the tippy top of a bare branch that we see from our window. Every now and then he turns and we see the brilliant red chest shining in the sunlight.

    About your other feeders not attracting birds: What are you feeding them? Did you change the food? I remember once buying some food at a local market when we had run out of the good stuff, and the birds stayed away in droves.

  2. Mary 15 December, 2008 at 8:12 am #

    I would keep the nectar flowing all year around for the same reasons you do, Liza.

  3. Bob K 15 December, 2008 at 9:53 am #

    Keep ’em coming, Liza. Put the feeders out and they will come.

  4. Crafty Green Poet 15 December, 2008 at 10:27 am #

    hummingbirds in winter just sounds so unbelievably tropical to me…

  5. Natural Moments 15 December, 2008 at 11:26 am #

    We are not getting a lot of activity at our feeders here in northwestern Washington State either for some reason. But your hummingbirds are beautiful to watch everyday. I hope they keep you happy throughout the holiday season and beyond for the rest of the winter months.

  6. KGMom 15 December, 2008 at 6:02 pm #

    When I visited San Diego in October to assess fire damage, I visited a woman whose place had been burned out. The first thing she did, as part of her recovery, was get her hummingbird feeders up. And the hummers reciprocated–flocking around the feeders. I don’t know if they were Anna’s or not.

  7. bevson 16 December, 2008 at 7:07 pm #

    I love your western hummers. They are so amazing and to have them all winter. You lucky thing.

  8. Hide 17 December, 2008 at 10:31 am #

    I live in Palm Springs, CA, and my yard bird is Costa’s hummingbird. They’re here year around and despite of cold wet weather we’re having these days,they seem to be doing o.k. When I went to arizona this past summer, I saw a lot of Anna’s hummingbirds there.

  9. Brenda 17 December, 2008 at 1:04 pm #

    Here , in Vancouver, Canada we are having a brutal cold snap. Typically wet, our winter has turned to ice and snow and my thoughts have turned to how I can protect my two highly-territorial little Anna Hummers that visit my feeder year round. First, I intensify their sugar water, 50/50 white sugar to boiling water, then I bring in the feeders at night to prevent freezing and – usually – put them out early a.m. This morning, panic struck as I saw a slow hummer looking for his feeder … we quickly put the feeders out and waited … and waited … and waited. I felt anxious until I saw a very slow bird land on the perch and sit there drinking for what seemed hours. I was so happy … as was our little visitor.

    These birds are so tiny that they bring out the protective nature in me. However, nature itself has done an amazing job of providing them with the stamina to sustain these bitterly cold snaps.

    As Bevson says, we sure are lucky to have them all winter!

  10. Steve Knox 18 December, 2008 at 9:42 am #

    Following on Brenda’s report of cold weather in Vancouver–my birds are struggling here in Portland OR as well. I keep the nectar thawed, put it out at dawn, and so far so good. Except . . . I have one territorial male who drives females and younger males away from the feeder. My balcony is second story and small, so I figure putting another feeder out won’t solve the problem. He (“Big Red”) will just hog both. Has anyone found a
    solution to this problem. I worry that his mate and young aren’t going to survive.

  11. Sparverius 18 December, 2008 at 10:36 am #

    Cute hummers. How cool to have the little guys all year. I put my hummer feed up for the first time this summer, and I think a total of two black-chinned showed up, but I was so glad they did. Maybe they will bring their friends back next summer.

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