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Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

So Then it Got Really Cold

Let me just begin by saying that I realize that cold is a relative term. Folks  in Los Angeles are talking about crazy cold in the 40's causing them to put on gloves and hats  while people in cold climates would find the 40's shorts and sandals weather.  With that in mind, It's been what we in the  western part of the Pacific Northwest consider extremely cold, with temperatures in the outlying areas further from Puget Sound going into the teens. 

Here in town we were a little luckier but had temperatures that didn't reach above freezing for several days in a row.  Brrr.

Recent weather Tacoma

Weather graph showing past weeks' weather and temperature for Tacoma
   Night   Day−•− Temperature
 
On the first morning of the deep freeze, I noticed a humming bird trying hard to get a little nectar from the frozen flower of a Fatsia japonica.
 
The humming bird feeders were frozen.

The microwave thawed them out nicely but each night of the freeze, I brought them in and was greeted by grateful buzzing wings each morning as I  hung them in the trees again before it got light outside.

Had I been more patient, set up my tripod, etc.  I could have gotten some really good shots of this colorful little guy but it was cold out there. 

 He certainly seemed happy to have a food source. 
 
 

29 comments:

  1. He's a beauty and clearly appreciates your efforts to keep the feeder thawed. It has been cold just about everywhere this year.

    Your hardy hummers must be from Alaska. Our hummers head to Mexico at the first sign of cool weather and won't be back until it warms up next spring.

    We've had a lot of sub-freezing weather which is unusual for south Texas and the coldest December on record for some areas.

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    1. He's a sweet little guy! We have some migratory hummers in the summer
      but the Anna's Humming Bird stays here year round.

      Hope you and your plants, especially your Bismarckia nobilis, are all doing well!

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  2. We've been doing the same with ours , In fact I should run out and hang them up now !

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  3. You got at least three great shots, in my opinion. I love his little red head. I should have put my hummingbird feeder out, but I can never remember to take it in every night when it's cold like this. I think our recent temps count as really cold no matter where you live.

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    1. Thanks Alison. You've got a lot on your mind right now with the big dig going on in your front yard!

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  4. So you only got down to 20? Wow...lucky.

    You are a good human to do that for the little guys. I'm normally enjoying the birds (hummers included) darting all over the Fatsia blooms this time of year. Not now though since as you noted they're frozen up.

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    1. I'm sure we got down to 19 one night but I'll be happy if the chart is right! Sorry you got so cold! We'll see in a few months if this has been another PKW!

      If it keeps a few of them from dying over the winter, it's worth it.

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    2. I've been checking out Phormiums all over town. Many look fine, many more already look toasted. I learned last time around that a few days out means nothing. Long term. I will report in the long term.

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  5. You are right about the vagaries of weather. When we refer to 'zones' as to plant hardiness, your minimum temperature may last all day while mine just dips down low before daybreak and it's shirtsleeves when the sun comes out. Our rain usually comes out of the Gulf so it's warm.

    Precious, your hummers. I stopped putting out sugar water. They live on insects; nectar is a bonus. They can always find something here with a blossom if one should stick around or happen by, which isn't a frequent sight in cold weather here. I just picked some blooming Pineapple Sage to bring inside for a little cheerful sight.

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    1. Oh Jean, I can smell your Pineapple Sage, one of my favorite summer fragrances, over the internet! Alas, ours is all brown now.

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  6. How endearing to see you helping the little guy and his friends get some well needed food :) hope the thaw and mild weather comes your way soon!

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    1. They are such cute little critters! The weather is warming slowly and should be above freezing for a while now.

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  7. My hummers never sit still for pictures, all I manage is a blurry mess. This must be the Anna hummingbird that winters over in our area. I love watching them buzz over my Crocosmia Lucifer blooms, back when I had blooms that is.

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    1. Yes, these are our Anna hummingbirds. They're even more noticable in the winter with so much less foliage to hide them.

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  8. Adorable hummer, you are so kind to warm water for him. We have mainly Rufous. My DIL had a temperature of 9*F on her iPhone, I don't know how accurate they are. I'm glad it is back above freezing now. It's hard on the animals outdoors. Chickadees are coming to our feeder. You're so right, people here are out in their sandals and t-shirts at 40*F.

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    1. Chikadees are so cute! I stopped putting out suet and sunflower seeds in the various feeders because the rodents also like them so much. I do miss the mass of birds that used to visit the feeders but I like not worrying about rodents spending the winter in my house.

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  9. Temperatures in the teens would throw me into a fit of apoplexy (or maybe hibernation) - I probably wouldn't even get out of bed. I can imagine the intensity of the hummingbird's reaction to a frozen feeder given their general ferocity about "their" feeders. I'm glad you're going to the effort of helping them out.

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    1. I've heard that hummers can die in fairly short order without a food source and since there didn't seem to be a lot of insects flying around in the cold and I'm not sure about nectar production in blooming plants in freezing weather, I was happy to help them along.

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  10. Sweet hummer pictures! And yeah I know what you mean about the weather. Deep freeze here for a week and then it climbed to 40 degrees. Felt like 80!

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    1. We're supposed to get to the upper 40's later this week and I'm looking forward to it!

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  11. Cute bird and great photos, Peter! The seeds in my garden feeder have been frozen as well but the tits could get them. Have a nice week!

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    1. Thanks Nadezdea! Birds are pretty crafty about getting seed from feeders no matter how difficult the task. I wish you a nice week too!

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  12. Great article :) In poland we have about -10 degrees so be happy :)

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    1. Thanks. Wow, you have very cold temps! I'll be happy with what we have! Thanks for commenting.

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  13. Do hummingbirds stay for the entire winter there?

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    1. Some of our hummingbirds fly south for the winter but the Anna's hummingbird stays all winter.

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Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your thoughts.