Thursday, January 19, 2017 Hummer Feeder Failure

Seward, Alaska

The fierce north wind howled and roared all last night, and finally diminished to a low rumble by mid morning. I was so confident in the new super-insulated feeders that I only took a short piece of electrical wire in case I needed to poke out a little ice in some of the feeder ports.

What I found was complete failure of the feeders, thanks to the snarling wind. The new foam box was nowhere to be seen, blown to oblivion. The little nightlight that was nestled inside dangled from its electric cord, swinging in the wind, shining brightly. The caulk had failed on the bottom of the feeder still wearing its cheery pink sock cap, allowing the wind to separate the feeder from the box. I should have tied the feeder to the box for backup. The 75-watt lamp dangled in the breeze by its cord, luckily also unbroken.

I was disappointed to find the heat-taped feeder was frozen though it was still on top of the 7-watt nightlight in the super-insulated box. I unhooked it and tied it to the stepladder top platform as best I could with increasingly colder fingers. Then I aimed the 75-watt lamp close to it and tied it down, in hopes of melting the sugar solution and keeping it liquid.

I gathered up the remaining components of my feeder to fix at home. On a whim, I drove around the neighborhood, looking for the wayward foam box. What luck! It had blown over the cliff and was trapped by some alders near the road, looking none the worse for its flight. Maybe I’ll put my name and address on it!

After that big disappointment, I headed to Ava’s for a boost. I didn’t have long to wait. There he was, the little jewel, flashing the magenta, metallic sequins on his head and throat in the sun. He was more active today, taking short flights, always in the sun.

While hoards of PINE GROSBEAKS surged from the carport to the trees, whistling and mewing, he sat calmly on the various accidental perches under the carport, watching. Nothing seemed to bother him, this little sparky speck. I was tickled he perched facing out today so I could see him flashing now and then. Be still, my beating heart!

And now, back to the feeder repair. The cold and wind are forecast to stick with us for several more days, providing a perfect, if frustrating environment to figure out how to keep a hummingbird feeder from freezing.

In other Anna’s news, Kate reported both the banded male and female Anna’s at her feeder in Cordova yesterday:
Gwen in Juneau reported a female and young banded male in Auke Bay on January 11th. Tough birds all!

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

1 comment:

  1. The jar of sand made me think maybe you could heat it well in an oven and then cover with acouple of socks" use it as another heat source. Rocks might work too. J Pat