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Seeing More Hummingbirds In Winter Lately?

Alan Vernon

As winter begins, humming bird experts say more of the tiny birds may be sticking around the Northwest instead of migrating south.

There are three types of hummingbirds Northwesterners might be seeing more of at feeders or in their yards this time of year: the Rufous, the Anna’s or the Allen’s hummingbirds. These little birds are able to survive the cold by lowering their body temperature, hiding in the lees of tree trunks, shivering to warm up and eating a lot.

Laura Erickson with Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology says because of climate change we might be seeing more of these birds.

“As we have milder winters those individuals who remain in the north rather than moving further south are more likely to survive,” she says.

At the same time, Erickson says those hummingbirds that do migrate south might be finding less friendly habitat than they used to. Erickson adds it’s a myth that feeding hummingbirds will convince them to stay north for longer.

On the Web:

Identifying Hummingbirds (Cornell Lab of Ornithology)

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.