how to keep hummingbird feeders from freezing. Insects and flowers that produce nectar are scarce during the winter months. Hummingbird nectar feeders are a long-term investment, but they can provide the birds with a steady diet. There should be no half-measures when committing to winter feeding. To the extent that non-migratory hummingbirds come to rely on this food source, any disruption to it will likely have a negative impact on their populations. Unless you plan on regularly cleaning and thawing your hummingbird feeder, you should not put it out.
Frostbite, hypothermia, hypoglycemia (from not getting enough calories), and even defensive injuries sustained while fighting for essential and limited food supplies are particularly dangerous for resident hummingbirds. Learn what you can do this winter to protect hummingbirds if you have a feeder.
Don’t forget to clean the bird feeders!
Large concentrations of hummingbirds at a feeder can be beautiful to observe, but it also increases the risk of disease transmission. The swelling of their tongues caused by these infections is tragic for the birds and the people who love them. Keep the feeders clean to avoid the spread of any bacteria or mold.
Once a week, clean the feeders with a solution of one part white vinegar to four parts water. Every few days, you should replace the nectar solution.
Avoid having your feeder freeze over.
The birds who rely on feeders will perish if the food inside them freezes or is forgotten. You must guarantee that your nectar never freezes or forms ice crystals so that it can be supplied all through the winter.
If you are going to be absent for an extended period of time, you should have a trusted neighbor or friend check on your feeder. You can avoid disturbing the hummingbirds if you bring the feeder inside for the night if temperatures drop too low. If you feed hummingbirds, double-check the openings to your feeders to make sure they haven’t frozen shut.
Nectar dishes, which are lower to the ground than tube feeders, may be less of a hassle to keep from freezing over. Protect your feeder from the cold weather by placing it in a sheltered area. Don’t use a hummingbird feeder with exposed metal parts, as these can get too cold or too hot for the birds.