Monday, December 29, 2008

Hummingbirds in Winter

Isn't this a gorgeous photo of an Anna Hummingbird?

I found it here at this very talented photographer's site.

His name is RL Kothonbeutel.

I've had several people ask about hummingbirds staying in cold climates in the winter...if they actually do or if they migrate to warmer climates. I got an email from my brother the 'birder' today and this is what he said about them:

"Anna’s Hummingbirds are here year-round. There are hummingbirds that live high in the Andes and survive the cold there. The have the ability to go into what is called torpor, a state of almost no body function (including heart rate). This allows them to withstand and survive cold temperatures.

In the spring you should also see the Rufous Hummingbird as it passes through to its breeding ground. You may even get lucky and have them all summer. We’ve had four species at our feeder. A male Calliope and a female Costa’s. They are both unusual, but the Costa’s was only the fourth record for Washington State. So, if you think you see anything that differs from either the Anna’s or a Rufous let me know."

So...there you have it, right out of an avid birder's mouth!


Greta said...

Happy Birthday, Krissy! And thanks for sharing this about the hummingbirds. It's interesting! We get the ruby-throated variety up here but like I said - May to early September, is all.

Mike S said...

I think the ones we have here are smart enough to go south for winter. Beautiful photography.

Zoe Ann Hinds said...

I am a hummingbird lover myself. I really enjoyed the post. Here is a little more information on the subject of torpor. I hope you and your readers will enjoy the information.

What is torpor? It is a state similar to hibernation. It is a type of deep sleep where an animal lowers its hart and metabolic rate. Hummingbirds must enter this state to ensure that the birds won't actually starve to death before down.

During a state of torpor, a hummingbird will lower its body temperature between 20-50 degrees. This enables the bird to conserve energy on cold nights or anytime that food might be scarce.

While in a state of torpor, hummingbirds can even lower their heart rate from 500 beats per minute to as few as 50 beats per minute.

Also as part of their efforts to conserve energy, the hummingbird may even stop breathing for periods of time.

If you would like much more information about hummingbirds, please click the links below. The sites contain many articles about hummingbirds, video clips about hummingbirds, an informative tips booklet on hummingbirds, and much more.

Click Here To Visit About Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds For Mom

Dori said...

A rather belated Happy Birthday!! Two days after mine--I *knew* you were an amazing person and theres the proof! I hope you had just as delightful day as I had! Here's to many, many more!