How to Ensure Your Hummingbirds Stay Healthy and Happy During Winter

Hummingbirds are a popular and welcome sight in gardens and backyards. They rely heavily on nectar for their energy, and during the winter months, the lack of natural food sources can be detrimental to their survival.

To help hummingbirds in the winter, provide a feeder filled with a solution of four parts water to one part sugar. Additionally, planting winter-blooming flowers and shrubs can provide a natural food source for the birds.

Here, I will discuss why providing care for hummingbirds during winter is essential and how you can help these awe-inspiring creatures survive the cold months ahead. So, let’s dive in and explore how we can support our feathered friends.

Challenges of Winter for Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds face great challenges during the winter as they are not adapted to handle harsh weather conditions. Unlike other birds that can migrate or hibernate, hummingbirds cannot do either.

They require a constant source of energy through feeding in order to keep their bodies warm. Besides, most of their natural food sources, like nectar, insects, and spiders, are unavailable during winter. The lack of food combined with the cold weather can cause the death of hummingbirds.

Therefore, helping these tiny birds is necessary by providing them with nectar feeders, planting winter-blooming flowers, and keeping the feeders clean. By taking these simple steps, we can help our hummingbirds survive the winter.

How to Keep Hummingbirds Healthy During Winter?

Keeping hummingbirds healthy during winter can be challenging since they migrate to warmer regions. However, if you live in an area where hummingbirds overwinter or experience mild winters, you can take certain steps to support their health. Here are some tips:

Provide a Year-Round Food Source

Keep your hummingbird feeders available throughout the winter. Use a feeder with a built-in ant moat and bee guards. Make a sugar water solution with a higher concentration of sugar (4 parts water to 1 part sugar) to provide them with extra energy. Check the feeder regularly to ensure the nectar is not frozen, and replace it if necessary.

Offer Natural Food Sources

In addition to providing nectar feeders, plant winter-blooming flowers that can serve as a natural food source for hummingbirds during the colder months. Examples include winter honeysuckle, witch hazel, and flowering quince. Research which native plants are suitable for your region and can provide nectar during winter.

Provide Shelter

Hummingbirds need sheltered areas to rest and protect themselves from harsh weather: plant evergreen trees and shrubs near your yard to offer natural cover. You can also install birdhouses or nesting boxes with small entry holes specifically designed for hummingbirds.

Minimize Disturbance

During winter, hummingbirds need to conserve energy. Minimize disturbances around their feeding and resting areas to reduce stress. Avoid excessive noise, sudden movements, or bright lights that may disrupt their routines.

Avoid Pesticide Use

Avoid using pesticides or insecticides near hummingbird habitats, as these chemicals can harm them. Opt for natural pest control methods to maintain a healthy environment for the birds.

Provide Water Sources

Hummingbirds still require water for drinking and bathing, even in winter. Ensure a clean and unfrozen water source is available for them. Consider installing a heated birdbath or using a heater or de-icer to prevent the water from freezing.

Be Observant and Report Sightings

If you live in an area where hummingbirds are not typically found during winter, but you spot one, report your sighting to local birdwatching or ornithological organizations.

This information can contribute to scientific research and help monitor the population and behavior of wintering hummingbirds.

Winterization of Property

Winter is challenging for hummingbirds, but you can help them survive. Here are some tips for winterizing your property:

Preventing Freezing of Water Sources

  • Bird baths: Use bird bath heaters or heated bird baths to prevent the freezing of water sources. These devices keep the water at a temperature that hummingbirds can access.
  • Fountains: If you have outdoor fountains, consider investing in solar-powered fountains or fountain heaters to prevent them from freezing and provide a water source for hummingbirds.

Winterizing the Home and Environment

  • Tree trimming: Keep trees and shrubs near your property trimmed to provide shelter from cold winds and more open spaces for hummingbirds to fly and forage.
  • Roosting boxes: Install roosting boxes or birdhouses with multiple perches and compartments to provide shelter and warmth for hummingbirds during the colder months. These boxes should have small entrance holes to keep out larger birds.

Maintaining and Monitoring Feeders

  • Regular checks: During extremely low temperatures, check your hummingbird feeders regularly to ensure they are clean, filled properly, and not frozen.
  • Cleaning: Clean the feeders with hot water and mild soap every few days to prevent bacterial growth and mold. Rinse them thoroughly before refilling them with fresh nectar.
  • Proper filling: Fill the feeders appropriately to ensure a steady supply of nectar. During winter, hummingbirds may need extra energy, so consider increasing the sugar concentration slightly (4 parts water to 1 part sugar) to provide more calories.
  • Avoid freezing: If the nectar freezes in cold weather, replace it with fresh, unfrozen nectar to ensure hummingbirds can access a food source.

Are Feeders Safe for Hummingbirds During Winter?

Feeders can be beneficial for keeping hummingbirds healthy during winter. These tiny birds rely on a consistent source of nectar to fuel their active metabolism, and feeders provide a reliable food source when natural nectar is scarce. However, it is important to keep the feeders clean and filled with fresh nectar to ensure the birds’ well-being.


As the winter season approaches, there are simple steps you can take to help your hummingbirds survive and thrive. From providing a reliable food source to creating a warm shelter, taking care of these tiny creatures is essential.

Providing a hospitable environment for your hummingbirds doesn’t take much, but a small effort will make a huge difference in their survival. Plus, it’s an incredible experience to witness these birds up close and personal.

By educating yourself on the needs of your feathered friends and taking the necessary steps, you’ll be helping to protect and preserve this remarkable species. Remember to prepare your feeders, add heated bird baths, and maintain the area’s cleanliness to prevent the spread of diseases.



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