It was a battle between two very strong wills, harsh weather in its whitest form and the tiniest feathered firecrackers with an attitude that could scare even winter away.
Heavy rain fell, followed by a 4-in blanket of snow, right after the first wave of hummingbirds showed up in Alberta. Two very cool days followed, but the danger fell at night after the snow had melted and the skies cleared. With high humidity and temperatures barely breaking 4C(40F) in the day, the temperature dipped dangerously low at night, leaving a blanket of ice coated blades of grass. The temperature bottomed out at -5C(22F), and even the perennials showed their disgust with droopy translucent leaves.
I know that many people of the South never experience temperatures like this, especially during late Spring time, so their fear of hummingbirds being taken by cool temperatures typically brings serious cases of anxiety. What I'm about to tell you may shock you, but it's meant to put your mind at ease. We've had late season hummingbirds in the province of Alberta with temperatures as low as minus 28 Celsius(-20F), and they've survived several nights. What I firmly believe is that cold isn't the real threat, but rather, the lack of food during those frigid temperatures. It's during these colder times that feeders should be available to the hummingbirds because that is when they're most needed.
Even I didn't want to get up the next morning when I saw the temperature Gauge coated in frost. But upon opening the door, nothing seemed to phase all the new migrants. Every songbird was singing it's tune as if nothing was out of the ordinary. The only unanswered question was whether the hummingbirds could endure the cold night. Well they certainly did. Feeders were active that morning, our dominant male was on patrol, and nothing, absolutely nothing would slow them down. Winter didn't stand a chance against these fiery little creatures, even if they woke up with frosted feathers. Even a couple female Rubies had arrived, the garden began to liven up, and within hours, Winter was no where to be seen.
Image is our new dominant male. May 21, 2021.