Very sad. It is incredible what extraordinary force of nature was
unleashed on these incredibly adapted creatures that caused them to
succumb, at last. Uneducated on this topic, I would never have imagined
them surviving even a small short bit of the recent cold.
Reading your last paragraph, Ann, is so saddening. Of course nature has no
"intent" but it's like the very hounds of hell were sent to wreak their
worst on your hummers and others that have been reported on here. I can
only imagine how tense and anxious it must have felt for you to watch and
wait as the weather turned worse, worse, and then worse and for what must
have seemed an unending duration.
I myself must acknowledge tremendous feelings of anger and pain not only
for the specific birds that succumbed but at the prospect of still more and
greater human-created climate change and ensuing weather catastrophes that
together threaten whole populations -- species -- complexes -- ecosystems
-- and indeed the entire foundation of our existence as creatures
inhabiting a habitable world.
I am not sorry for digressing to this larger point; it is foundational to
the interests of birds and birders. Let us all redouble our efforts to
protect our world before it is too late.
On Tue, Jan 9, 2018 at 2:51 PM, ann maddock <carolinabirds...> wrote:
> Hi John
> As you know our yard here in Buxton is usually host to about 20 or more
> ruby said hummingbirds every winter. This year, starting in early December,
> that number was much lower usually around 12 to 14.
> I had 7 the day after the storm hit, all but one, which was a banded adult
> male, were completely soaking wet. I have never seen a hummer so thoroughly
> soaked- even after hurricanes here. There were three adult males in that
> mix ( one banded by Susan last year ) and one female which had a bloody
> gash on her left shoulder which probably, judging by her location was the
> banded female who had taken over that particular feeder and I saw the
> afternoon before feeding on her feeder.
> The next day two adult males and the injured female and two young males
> were at feeders. Then I only saw one hummer the next two days. Then
> nothing until today and I have one female making a round of all 12 feeders.
> It is just so strange to walk around the yard at this time of year and not
> see and hear constant bickering from all the hummers. It is silent.
> The last of the snow and ice is melting today and I checked under every
> feeder and known perch where each roosted and found no bodies. I even took
> a metal detector to the leaf debris to try to see if any of the banded
> birds might be found. Nothing in any of the locations
> We had a cold spell worse than this a few years back where it was in the
> teens each night and about 8” snow, and they all made it. So I think it was
> the combo of the gale winds for 18 hours in the driving 2” of rain at 39
> degrees, turning to ice and then 3” snow, followed by three nights at 19
> degrees and nothing above freezing in the daytime....That has taken a
> severe toll on the little guys.
> Sad 😢
> On Tue, Jan 9, 2018 at 2:32 PM John Fussell <jofuss...> wrote:
>> I am certain that 3 of the 4 hummingbirds (all Ruby-throateds) I've had in
>> my yard this winter died this weekend.
>> As of Saturday afternoon, I still had all 4 birds, and all seemed normal.
>> However, I saw only 2 birds Sunday. I was surprised how little I saw them
>> Yesterday and today, I've seen only 1 bird. It seems quite feisty.
>> I don't live close to anyone who feeds hummers, and I never see my hummers
>> heading off elsewhere. I am certain that the 3 birds did indeed die.
>> looked for the bodies at sites where I guess the birds roost, but haven't
>> seen any so far.
>> Too bad the balmy weather that's moved in didn't move in about 36 hours
>> During the several years I've had wintering hummers in my yard, starting
>> the winter of 2002-2003, the birds have survived some very challenging
>> weather, some that was actually worse than the recent weather. I assume
>> difference with this episode was its persistence.
>> I've heard of other hummingbird mortality in this county, but also about
>> some birds that have survived.
>> I hope others that host hummingbirds will relate their experiences.
>> John Fussell
>> Morehead City, NC
> Ann Maddock <am.hummingbird.photos...> Hatteras Island, NC