Our Winter Hummingbirds

annas-with-warmerOur Christmas Bird Count located several Anna’s Hummingbirds, all near feeders. When asked about this, Marcia Danielson, organizer of the count, said “Five years ago this was unheard of.” This adult male, along with a juvenile, is wintering near the home of a local resident who first worked with Anna’s while studying at UVIC. When the feeder started to ice up, she hung a trouble lamp wrapped in aluminum foil below it and solved the problem.

Anna’s Hummingbirds have been expanding their range northwards into BC for the past 70 years. In the 1940’s and 1950’s wintering hummingbirds were reported on Southern Vancouver Island, but they were not identified as Anna’s until 1958. The first record from the mainland came in 1959 from West Vancouver and the first winter record from near Squamish came from Vancouver in 1971.

Nearly all the reports from BC are from habitats associated with humans, primarily residential yards and gardens. The first reports were from gardens where yellow jasmine or fuchsia was in bloom, and now most reports are of birds at feeders. Our love  for feeding hummingbirds has most likely contributed to the increase in their range, especially over the winter.

Photos: a Special Team