Baby it’s cold outside… first snow!

This is perhaps the most intriguing thing to me: how these tiny Anna’s hummingbirds, adapted for the tropics, and with essentially no body mass, survive our cold Canadian winters!

We don’t get snow every winter here (in Port Alberni, central Vancouver Island). We have, though, seen a few days of snow pretty regularly these past several years – pretty much always in the second half of December. (It’s a tough choice for me during the Christmas season: ditching my rare and few photo-ops of hummers in the snow for social gatherings with humans!).

We got our first snow of this year a few days ago, so here are some of my photos. I dropped pretty much everything to take these shots and to record some video.

Who knows, this may be our only snow for the next few years. (Or it may snow again in a few days, so hard to predict).

The hummingbirds split their time between aggressively chasing one another around (to warm up, I guess?) and sitting very still, fluffing up their downy feathers to hold heat in.

I love it most when the snow falls in those giant cotton-ball aggregates of flakes. Not sure if the hummers like it so much, though – here is my new back yard male getting bonked in the head by a snowflake:

It’s funny how I used to have mostly female Anna’s hummingbirds here. But this year as well as last, it is all males. The males are so stunning in the snow, their metallic red and green gleaming like Christmas ornaments. But I hope the females also find safe places to shelter and reliable food sources in this cold weather. More about that in a forthcoming post!

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Published by Jacqueline Windh

I'm a writer, photographer, and radio broadcaster who is concerned about our planet and how we live our lives - hoping my work helps people to find new ways of thinking about issues such as personal health, wilderness, the environment, food security, thinking about the future. These things are all connected, you know...

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