[Tweeters] Nonmigratory hummingbirds

Wayne Weber contopus at telus.net
Tue Dec 16 23:22:00 PST 2008


Just a couple of small corrections to Dennis Paulson's message. Anna's
Hummingbirds are indeed nonmigratory throughout their range; there are no
populations known to be migratory. However, they are not the only
nonmigratory hummingbirds in the USA. The Channel Islands populations of
Allen's Hummingbird (which also includes those on the mainland Palos Verdes
Peninsula) also appear to be nonmigratory, and the Buff-bellied Hummer,
which just gets into southern Texas from Mexico, is also nonmigratory. Also,
some of the other Southwestern hummer species don't migrate very far.

Also, I believe the main factor responsible for the northern range expansion
of Anna's is not hummingbird feeders, but the proliferation of cultivated
plants which bloom through most of the winter (yes, there are lots!!).
Anna's Hummingbirds first started showing up here in the late 1960s, before
there were many hummingbird feeders, but long after winter-blooming shrubs
were widely planted. Feeders are certainly important during the winter, and
probably essential for survival during cold snaps such as we are having now,
but many Anna's use feeders little if at all during the warmer part of the

Wayne C. Weber

Delta, BC

contopus at telus.net

From: tweeters-bounces at mailman2.u.washington.edu
[mailto:tweeters-bounces at mailman2.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Dennis
Sent: December-16-08 1:04 PM
To: tweeters at u.washington.edu
Subject: Re: [Tweeters] Hand Warmers and Hummers?


Anna's Hummingbirds are nonmigratory. All the other North American
hummingbirds are migratory, but not this one. Our birds would not be to the
south of here if we didn't feed them this winter. They are here whether we
feed them or not, so we haven't changed a thing about their behavior.

However, we have changed the DISTRIBUTION of this species over time by the
proliferation of hummingbird feeders all over the West, so we are ultimately
responsible for them being here. From an original distribution in California
and southern Oregon, they have spread widely to the north and east. There
are doubtless thousands of Anna's Hummingbirds in western Washington now,
and I suppose thousands of feeders to feed them! If you discontinued your
feeder for a week by going out of town, your birds would very likely find
another nearby feeder. We regularly see our hummers leave the yard in an
apparent long-distance directed flight, and I'm sure they're just going to
the next feeder. When we go away for a couple of weeks, they are still here
when we return, even though they haven't been fed in our yard during that
time. And as you say, there are probably not enough flowers around to feed

And one more thing. There is little question that the proliferation of
feeders must have some effect on hummingbird populations, but it doesn't
seem to have changed their migratory behavior much. A lot more stray hummers
turn up at winter feeders in the East, but they represent a tiny part of the
populations of their species. The hordes of hummers that pass through
southern Arizona in the fall, for example, still disappear in the winter and
presumably are heading on south to their Mexican feeding grounds. I've
always been amazed that they didn't just stay in Arizona, but they don't.
There are essentially no Black-chinned or Rufous Hummingbirds in Arizona in
winter, although they swarm around feeders there in August and September.
Why don't they stay? I suppose their genetic programming continues to work.


On Dec 16, 2008, at 12:01 PM, tweeters-request at mailman2.u.washington.edu

Date: Tue, 16 Dec 2008 14:59:23 -0500

From: "Oliver May" <omayo at soon.com>

Subject: Re: [Tweeters] Hand Warmers and Hummers?

To: tweeters at u.washington.edu

Message-ID: <20081216195923.D350F606861 at ws1-4.us4.outblaze.com>

Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"

Steve Compton Wrote

----- Original Message -----

From: scompton1251 at charter.net


Most experts now believe that feeding hummingbirds in the winter

does not alter their migration or wintering patterns.

Steve Compton


What studies or logical theories support your statement,

And how could feeding hummingbirds in the winter not change their

wintering or migratory patterns?

If you weren't feeding them they would be somewhere far to the

south of Washington where plants ARE flowering, probably in Arizona or
southern California

Because when I look outside of my window I don't see any flowers

providing nectar for hummers, just man made hummingbird feeders

and now they have handwarmers attached to them.

How could that NOT change Hummingbirds natural behavior?

Can anyone provide a theory for that?


Dennis Paulson

1724 NE 98 St.

Seattle, WA 98115


dennispaulson at comcast.net

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