Whoa, Let’s Get the Right Info on the Hummingbirds

Dear Editor:
I would like to correct a bit of misinformation in Keith
Muraoka’s column (Garden Q
&
amp; A, published Nov. 29) entitled

Hummingbirds in the Winter?

Dear Editor:

I would like to correct a bit of misinformation in Keith Muraoka’s column (Garden Q & A, published Nov. 29) entitled “Hummingbirds in the Winter?”

Those appropriately holiday-colored, iridescent green and red hummingbirds that you see around your hummer feeder as cold weather sets in are most likely to be quite healthy Anna’s, not “ill or genetically inferior” birds that “would die in migration.” Unlike the similar Allen’s Hummingbird, Anna’s do not migrate and are the only year-round hummingbirds in California. They will grace your garden throughout each season, as long as you don’t let their food sources dry up.

With winter on the horizon, many of the flowers and insects that the hummingbird depends on will be on hiatus.  Hummingbirds must eat every 10 to 15 minutes, consuming their body weight daily in protein-rich insects and nectar.  It’s especially important now to remain a dependable provider to your garden birds, and keep your feeder filled (1 part sugar to 4 parts water, no honey, no red dye). 

In addition, planting winter-flowering plants, such as Kniphofia (poker plant) and Erica (Scottish Heath) not only will attract hummingbirds, but will enhance your garden with their bright oranges, reds, pinks and purples – a veritable backyard rainbow in dreary weather. 

Colleen Grzan, Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Center, Morgan Hill

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