Date: 1/9/18 3:07 pm
From: Betsy Kane (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...>
Subject: Re: hummingbird mortality
I'll wade in. The hummers and all the other birds and critters have a lot
more to lose from human-created catastrophic climate change than from a few
dozen birders putting feeders up through the winter. Let's focus our work
on the big factors first, as much as possible.

On Tuesday, January 9, 2018, Lena Gallitano <lbg...> wrote:

> Before going down this road, I think it would be a good idea to check
> historic records.
> While I have not verified this myself, I was told one of the Brimleys here
> in Raleigh reported a Rufous Hummingbird in the early 1900s. I doubt
> feeders are the reason any of our humers overwinter because the majority of
> their diet is insects not nectar. Feeders just make life a bit easier for
> them in hard times.
> Lena Gallitano
> Raleigh, NC
> On Jan 9, 2018 5:23 PM, J. Merrill Lynch <carolinabirds...> wrote:
> 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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