Date: 1/9/18 2:23 pm
From: \J. Merrill Lynch\ (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...>
Subject: Re: hummingbird mortality
Reading these accounts leads me to say—reluctantly since I may touch a raw nerve with some folks —but has anyone considered whether it is really a good idea to leave hummingbird feeders up all winter?

Unlike traditional bird feeding that attracts species that normally winter in our area, hummingbird feeders attract and “hold” a species that does not regularly winter here and unlike most other feeder birds is not able to cope with severe weather like what we just had. Seems to me that taking steps such as putting up heaters in order to keep the birds alive is a little extreme when the only reason the birds are here to begin with is because of human interference in their normal movements.

It probably doesn’t matter in the big picture because the great majority of ruby-throats have the good sense to follow their instincts and migrate to their traditional wintering grounds. Only a tiny minority have learned to overwinter outside that range due to the effect of hummingbird feeders.

But on a human level it is sad, to me at least, knowing that many of these hummingbird deaths are the direct result of human manipulation.

J. Merrill Lynch
Conservation Biologist
Echo Valley Farm
Watauga County, NC
Sent from my iPhone

> On Jan 9, 2018, at 2:31 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 feeding.
>
> 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. I've 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 sooner!
>
> During the several years I've had wintering hummers in my yard, starting in the winter of 2002-2003, the birds have survived some very challenging weather, some that was actually worse than the recent weather. I assume the 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
>
>
 
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