I touched a hummingbird last night, and in the process learned something. I have been feeding them for years, and though they usually migrate south to Mexico for the winter, they will stay year-round with a dependable supply of nectar. They can fly for days without stopping and arrive in Mexico from the Northwest in three days.

With the temperature well below freezing, which is unusual for us here, I bring the feeders in at night to warm up and put them back out in the morning. Last night, there was a little hummer just sitting on the feeder. It scared me because I thought they must be freezing to death. I reached up and touched it, it sat there for a few seconds and then flew away.

This prompted immediate research on my part. Can they tolerate these temperatures? The answer is yes! They have an amazing ability to go into a state of torpor. This allows them to lower their body temperature by up to 40 degrees. Hummingbirds also recognize people and come to know those who feed them. When I bring the feeders in to clean and fill them, they are waiting for me and start buzzing my head as I try to hang them back up.

Mine feed so voraciously that I am refilling the feeders daily and I have large capacity feeders. But if not, remember to change them often because the nectar will get stale and can be fatal to them. No need to buy special mixes. Just four cups of extremely hot tap water and one cup of sugar. And do not add food coloring, it is not good for them. Many feeders come in bright colors to attract them. Once they find their food, good luck getting rid of them.

They are beautiful little creatures, fun to watch, and great if you have a cat. They feed high in the air and are so fast, a cat cannot catch them. Watching them tantalize a cat is as entertaining as they are.

Marcee Maylin has a degree in Editorial Journalism from the University of Washington and 30+ years media experience. She is currently the Editor of the Everett Post dedicated to providing current, relevant, and entertaining content for the local community.