In addition to points already mentioned, I would point out that Carolina
Jessamine blooms here in coastal SC for most of the winter and hummingbirds
use it! It is one of the best things to plant for winter hummingbird hosts.
The flowers are very cold-hearty and don't open on colder days, waiting
things out. I am not sure what the case will be after such a bad and
prolonged freeze as this - but in most years Jessamine in good sunny places
blooms November or December through February in Charleston.
Many is the hummingbird I have seen in December and January with yellow
pollen foreheads from feeding at jessamine flowers.
Nathan Dias - Charleston, SC
On Tuesday, January 9, 2018, ann maddock <carolinabirds...> wrote:
> 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)
>> > 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 <am.hummingbird.photos...> Hatteras Island, NC