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Backyard Wildlife Information


"Winter Hummingbirds"

Many of us here in Tennessee enjoy Ruby-throated hummingbirds from spring to fall but did you know that a hummingbird might spend the winter in your yard?? Hummingbird banders have banded a variety of western hummingbirds here in Tennessee during the winter and suggest that you leave a feeder up all winter. You should put your feeder where it can be observed and maintained easily. Perhaps outside the window where you eat breakfast in the morning. Partially fill your feeder with a mixture of one part table sugar to four parts water, please do not use red food coloring. Sugar water has a lower freeze point so unless we get a string of really cold days in a row the sugar water won't freeze solid. And who knows you might have a hummingbird spend the winter with you.

Wintering hummingbirds are not lost birds. They often demonstrate great site fidelity and spend the entire winter in one location. Some return to winter at the same home year after year and are considered family members. These hummingbirds are cold hardy and will not be harmed by the winter weather in Tennessee. So if you have a hummingbird at your feeder between 15 November and 15 March, please contact Cyndi Routledge at routledges@bellsouth.net or Mark Armstrong at woodthrush@bellsouth.net.

Cyndi Routledge or Mark Armstrong, with your permission, will come to your home to identify, band, and photograph your hummingbird. You will get to release the bird back into your yard and receive photographs of your special bird.

Cyndi Routledge and Mark Armstrong are federally licensed master bird banders who specializes in documenting western hummingbirds wintering in the southeastern United States.