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Winter Food for Hummingbirds in the PNW

December 27 2022

Winter Food for Hummingbirds in the PNW
Winter Food for Hummingbirds in the PNW

Winter Hummingbird Food and Plant Options for the Pacific Northwest

As gardeners in the Pacific Northwest, we know firsthand how important it is to provide food and shelter for our beloved hummingbirds during the winter months. These tiny birds are a joy to watch as they flit from flower to flower, and we can do our part to help them thrive by offering them a variety of nourishing plants. Here are a few of our favorite winter food and plant options for hummingbirds in the PNW:

Camellias

We see hummingbirds all over our camellias in-store, as you can see from the photo at the top of this blog (they are not always easy to photograph though!). These beautiful flowering shrubs are a great source of nectar for hummingbirds. They produce delicate, fragrant blooms in shades of white, pink, and red, and they can be grown in partial to full shade. Camellias are hardy plants that can withstand cold temperatures, making them a perfect choice for the PNW winter garden.

Pansies

Pansies are another excellent choice for attracting hummingbirds to your garden. These cheerful flowers come in a range of colors, including shades of purple, yellow, and white, and they can tolerate cooler temperatures. Pansies are easy to grow and make a great addition to containers or borders.

Primroses

Primroses are a type of flowering annual that can provide a valuable food source for hummingbirds during the winter months. Hummingbirds are adapted to feed on nectar from a variety of flowering plants, and primroses are a particularly attractive choice because they produce nectar-rich flowers that are easy for hummingbirds to access. In addition to providing a source of food, primroses also add a splash of color to gardens during the winter months, making them a beautiful and practical choice for attracting hummingbirds to your yard.

Hellebores

Hellebores, also known as Lenten roses, are a beautiful and subtle choice for winter hummingbird food. These perennial plants produce delicate, cup-shaped flowers in shades of pink, purple, and white, and they thrive in partial to full shade. Hellebores are a great choice for adding a bit of winter interest to your garden.

Additional Ways to Support Hummingbirds

In addition to these plants, there are a few other things you can do to attract hummingbirds to your garden during the winter months. Providing a clean, reliable source of water is crucial, as hummingbirds need to drink and bathe regularly. You can also consider setting up a hummingbird feeder filled with a mixture of four parts water to one part white granulated sugar. Be sure to clean the feeder regularly to prevent the growth of mold or bacteria.

At our store, we pride ourselves on offering a wide selection of hummingbird feeders and food to help our customers attract these beautiful birds to their yards and gardens. Whether you're a seasoned hummingbird enthusiast or just starting out, we have something to suit every need and budget.

Plants in Pots or Containers

While it's always a good idea to provide hummingbirds with a variety of plants to feed on in the winter months, you don't necessarily have to plant everything in the ground. In fact, there are a few options for keeping plants in pots or containers that can be easily moved around or brought inside when the weather turns harsh.

For example, you could keep a pot of camellias or hellebores on your porch or patio, and simply cover them with a frost blanket or bring them inside during extreme cold snaps. These plants will continue to produce nectar for hummingbirds as long as they receive adequate sunlight and water, even if they're not planted in the ground.

Another option is to keep a selection of annuals,such as pansies or violas, in pots or containers that can be easily moved around. These plants are annuals, meaning they will only survive for one growing season, but they can provide a reliable source of nectar for hummingbirds throughout the winter months. When the weather warms up in the spring, you can plant them in the ground or simply replace them with new annuals.

By keeping your plants in pots or containers, you have the flexibility to move them around or bring them inside as needed to protect them from the harsh winter weather.

What to Do if You Find a Damaged or Distressed Hummingbird

If you come across a damaged or distressed hummingbird, the most important thing to do is to contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator as soon as possible. These professionals are trained to care for injured wild animals and have the resources and expertise to provide the necessary treatment and care. In the meantime, you can offer the bird some nectar or water, but do not try to force-feed it if it is unconscious or semi-conscious. It's also important to keep the bird warm and try to transport it to a rehabilitator as soon as possible. In the Lynnwood area, PAWS is a good option for wildlife rehabilitation, and Feather Haven Wildlife Center in Tacoma is another option.

By following these tips and providing food and shelter for hummingbirds in the winter months, you can help these tiny birds thrive and enjoy their beauty all year round.

3 comments

  • Watson's Greenhouse: December 29, 2022
    Author's avatar image

    Hello Moyer and Kim:

    A shallow depth is perfect for hummingbirds. If you have a shallow birdbath already, that should work. Something about an inch or so deep or not filled to the top.

    We do carry a water feeder that would work or shallow hanging bird baths that are excellent. You will just need to pay attention to freezing temps and protect any glassware if it has water in it so it does not break.

    If you have any other questions, feel free to email us at info@watsonsgreenhouse.com and thank you so much for your questions and interest! =)

    -Watson’s Greenhouse

  • Me/my Moyer: December 28, 2022
    Author's avatar image

    What level should a dish of water be for hummingbirds be? I have dishes on the floor of my deck and see little birds bathing but never a hummingbird .

  • Kim Ekker: December 28, 2022
    Author's avatar image

    Thank you for this article. I leave food out in the winter, but didn’t think about water! Should the water be in a feeder as well, or can they drink from a bird bath type dish?

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