I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.
A magical thing
And sweet to remember.

“We are nearer to Spring
Than we were in September,”
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.
by Oliver Herford .

The birds I’ve heard singing lately, and it’s really more of a chirping, are some Anna’s hummingbirds that seem to be wintering somewhere near me. I had procrastinated about taking down my hummingbird feeders and low and behold, I have winter hummers! These birds used to be strictly along the California coast but have drastically expanded their range. I’ve been worried about how they are going to stay warm when I found this information from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. This site has wonderful information about birds.

“Anna’s Hummingbirds normally have a body temperature of around 107 degrees Fahrenheit — that’s a scorching temperature for a human. When outside temperatures fall, Anna’s and many other species of hummingbirds enter torpor. Their breathing and heart rate slow, and their body temperature can fall as low as 48 degrees Fahrenheit. When the temperature warms, the hummingbirds can become active again in a few minutes.”

december-2016-blog

The Intermountain Bird Observatory at BSU has been tracking and banding these hummingbirds for several years. One person had seven tagged just last week, that were visiting his feeder. I know that I have at least two. If you are seeing them at your feeder, you can contact the Intermountain Bird Observatory at 208-426-2223 or [email protected]

What do you call a flock of hummingbirds? You can call them a bouquet, a glittering, a hover, a shimmer, or a tune of hummingbirds. Cool, huh?

D&B Garden Show December Tips:

  • Check out your fruits, vegetables and any bulbs, tubers, or corms that you have stored. If any are showing signs of disease, toss them now so they don’t infect the entire lot.
  • Dust your houseplant leaves and increase the humidity around the plants if the leaves are starting to get brown edges.
  • If you plan to use a live Christmas tree, don’t bring it indoors for more than three days. The warm house will cause the tree to break dormancy, leading to winter injury when you take it back outside.
  • If you have left over pesticides, don’t store them where they’ll freeze. Some products are sensitive to freezing and they will be ineffective next spring.
  • If you need to use ice melt, products containing chloride (salt), sodium chloride or calcium chloride can cause plant damage. Look for ice melt listed as safe for pets as it will be safe for your plants, too. Or forget salt based ice melt and use traction instead. Apply sand, or non-clumping kitty litter.

This month on the D&B Garden Show we’ll be visiting with Melinda Jean Stafford about winter bee hive care, MaryAnn Newcomer about garden gift ideas, and new plant varieties and Rich Guggenheim from the Canyon County Extension office. I hope you’ll tune in and join me on Saturday mornings at 10:00 on KIDO, 580am.