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This Week’s Creature Feature ... Snow Bird

Rufous hummingbird thrives in winter

My procrastination finally paid off. Long after the summer visitors to my hummingbird feeder had departed for their winter home, my feeder hung like a lone beacon in the leafless maple tree. I’ll get around to it, I kept telling myself.
    While I was lazily watching out my window a flash of tan caught my eye. Then again. What was it? I knew it was some kind of hummingbird, but why was it here this time of the year?
    My bird guide confirmed it was a juvenile rufous hummingbird, a small, beautiful tan and green bird that generally lives in the western states and Alaska but winters mainly in Mexico. So what was it doing in Crofton?
    The cold winter days seem warmer as I watch my hummingbird explore the yard then zip back to the feeder for a meal of nectar, sometimes taking a break on a tree branch as the cold wind, snow and sleet blow over him. Rufous hummingbirds can handle temperatures down in the single digits without problems, so I keep a heat lamp on the feeder to keep the nectar from freezing.
    I’ll never know why he chose my home; I’m just glad he did.