Sep 26, 2018 | Featured in: Watching Backyard Birds, October 2017

Ask Birdsquatch: Hummer Feeder Seasonal Timing

Should you take your hummingbird feeder down in the fall?
Share:

Dear Birdsquatch:

The weather in my part of the country gets pretty cold after Halloween, so I'm wondering when I should take my hummingbird feeders down for the winter. I don't want to keep the little buzzbombs here so late in the season that their tails freeze off. Got any woodsy wisdom for me?

—Michael Dropp, Sperryville, Virginia

Dear Michael,

The only reason to take in your feeders is to prevent them from freezing and cracking. The presence of a feeder doesn't prevent hummingbirds from migrating. They go when their internal clocks tell them it's time. I'm a believer that keeping a clean, filled hummingbird feeder available for late migrants is a good thing. Imagine how helpful a source of food and energy would be for a late-migrating juvenile rubythroat, trying to get south ahead of the seasons. And for a bonus, your feeder might attract a vagrant hummer species from the West. Most southeastern states have winter records of one or more of the western hummer species, such as rufous, Allen's, Anna's, broad-tailed, black-chinned, and Calliope. When the temperatures start to drop below freezing, you can take your feeder in at night and put it back out in the morning. Or, if the thought of a visiting vagrant doesn't appeal to you, I'd say take your feeders in when you don't see any visitors for three or four days running. Do your friends call you Mic Dropp? Because that's a cool name.



About Birdsquatch

Birdsquatch is WBB's tall, hairy, and slightly stinky columnist. He is a bigfoot who has watched birds all his life. His home range is unknown.

What do you think? Tell us!

comments powered by Disqus

New On This Site

The Latest Comments

  • I understand that the ducks' blood vessel arrangement in their feet is to provide the benefits of the counter-current heat exchanger mechanism; returning cold venous blood from the feet is warmed by the descending warm arterial blood, preventing excess heat loss by the feet and avoiding cold blood from chilling the body. This means that the feet are cold, not warm.
    by Frank Barch, Sat, 02 Jan 2021
  • I have the same situation. The feeder is attached to the middle of a large picture window that goes ceiling to floor w/ no ledge or sill for animals to climb or balance. Yet every morning all the sunflower seeds have been cracked open and hulls left. Any ideas what it is?
    by Liza Fox, Sun, 15 Nov 2020
  • I have a bird feeder that sticks to my window and I've been hearing noises against the window at night right now its going on. But whatever it is it is aware of me. And when I get to window it leaves.I can't imagine a squirrel or mouse or possom being able to get at it. ...So as I was reading this article im to assume no bird eats at night. Or no birds will eat at night. Why is that? Then im also thinking of a sinereo that could a lost confused bird eat at night. This eating thing is watching meI turn out the light go there noise dissappears..Thank you.
    by Nosferatu, Thu, 05 Nov 2020
  • I have metal baffles (cones) on my pole for my bird feeders. Something is still tempting them at night. What else could it be? Deer???
    by Ella Spencer Connolly, Thu, 27 Aug 2020
  • I found where he lives, then I keep him up all day by singing at full volume! Hah, that'll show the little sucker!
    by Pike Juan, Tue, 11 Aug 2020