Many people might find it hard to believe there are hummingbirds nesting and raising babies in Canada in the wintertime, but there is a population of Anna's hummingbirds that overwinters on southern Vancouver Island. For years I've kept feeders in my garden and have had the pleasure of watching them year round.
Here's a photograh I took several years ago, and yes, that's snow you can see in the background!
This year the weather has been milder, but not without its challenges. For the past week, a male Anna's has spent long periods of time perched on the largest feeder in my yard. I've never seen this behavior before and at first I thought he might be injured or sick, but he seems fine and now I believe he's just being territorial! I've started calling him Tuff because he often displays white tufts of underfeathers near both wings, and because he has happily turned out to be tougher than I thought!
Here's Tuff at the feeder.
And here's Tuff in the California lilac.
For even better photographs of hummingbirds, I've started following Hummingbirds Up Close on Facebook and visiting the Hummingbirds Up Close website. If you "heart" hummingbirds, you'll love these sites! Both have beautiful photograhs as well as truly amazing videos of hummingbirds building nests, incubating their eggs and caring for their babies.
While I'm talking about hummingbirds, I feel it's important to offer a few tips to those who might consider setting up feeders in their own gardens. Please do not add red coloring to the nectar. The birds will be attracted to the red plastic on the feeder, and the chemicals in the food coloring aren't good for them. Please do clean your feeder once a week and refill it with fresh nectar. This will prevent toxic mold that's lethal to hummingbirds from growing in the feeder. Make your own hummingbird nectar by dissolving white sugar in water. In the summer I use a ratio of 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. In winter, when they need more energy, I mix a ratio of 1 part sugar to 3 parts water.
If nesting birds have you longing for springtime, I hope you'll consider entering my February contest because I'm giving away this adorable cupcake holder filled with yet-to-be-determined goodies!
To enter the draw, simply go to my website, subscribe to my newsletter AND send me an email telling me your favorite first sign of spring! Only newsletter subscribers are eligible, and the winner will be announced in the next issue.
I'm also thrilled to share the cover of Daddy, Unexpectedly, my next Harlequin American Romance (May 2013). I have loved all my covers but I especially love this one because the hero is very much as I imagined him as I was writing this story. Swoon!
This is the third and final book in my Ready Set Sold series about three women who own a Seattle-based real estate business. If anyone would like autographed bookplates for these three books (The Christmas Secret, The Daddy Project, and Daddy, Unexpectedly, please send me an email with your address and I'll pop them in the mail to you!
Unitl next time,
Maggie's Way (Harlequin Heartwarming, May 2013)
Daddy, Unexpectedly (Harlequin American Romance, May 2013)