Date: 1/9/18 4:21 pm
From: ann maddock (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...>
Subject: Re: hummingbird mortality
I’ll weigh in with a few points:

First, a hummingbird’s diet consists of at least 50% of insects, and,
according to research done in other parts of the country, the longest a
hummingbird can subsist on sugar water alone is 10-14 days. They must have
the protein from ingesting insects.

I have lived either in Buxton or Frisco on Hatteras Island for almost 30
years. LONG before I or anyone else on the island followed the advice of
the experts to keep the feeders out all winter, there were MANY ruby
throated hummers in this maritime forest ALL winter long. Bob Sargent
realized that and visited here in the late 80s and early 90s to band some
and write about it in one of his books. I would see them and hear them all
throughout the sedge and forest, and remember seeing them covered in pollen
in a January and February from some of the native plants in the sedge. They
use the sap holes and insects from the yellow bellied sapsuckers in the
bay trees as a source of nutrients when it is really cold.

So, they were here, and in strong numbers before the trend of keeping
feeders out for them became popular. And even when neighbors take their
feeders down, the birds find plenty of insects and don’t visit my feeders
as I can account for individual birds, with photos as proof, and
documentation, for each of the past 10 winters.

So, between the fact this species was over-wintering here for at least the
past 30 years, and the fact their diet must be half insects, and this
location is warmer than most of the coast all the way into Georgia, and is
a prime environment for such a bird, I don’t believe the year round feeders
here are causing birds to not migrate . I believe what they are doing is
helping those that would be here anyway have a better chance at survival.

I will let the experts like Susan Campbell speak to the research behind
this issue.

On Tue, Jan 9, 2018 at 6:32 PM Kent Fiala <carolinabirds...> wrote:

> There's this thing called natural selection. It seems likely that numbers
> of overwintering hummingbirds have been on the increase because it is
> proving to contribute to the fitness of the birds, giving them an advantage.
> Hill, Sargent and Sargent took a scholarly look at the change in winter
> distribution of rufous hummingbirds about 20 years ago:
> Kent Fiala
> On 1/9/2018 5:23 PM, "J. Merrill Lynch" (via carolinabirds Mailing List)
> 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?
> >
> >
> --
Ann Maddock <> Hatteras Island, NC

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