Hummingbird Migration Dates

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird (female)

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird (female)

The Hummers are on the move. Yes, The Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have arrived back in North America and are making their way north to the good old Delaware Valley.

The hummingbirds have already arrived in the deep south (or never left). The website Hummingbird Migration tracks the northward migration of the hummingbirds. Naturalists like you and me input the date that the first hummingbirds arrive in their area.

Using the Hummingbird Migration website to checking past years data, helps to know when you should put out hummingbird feeders in your area.

The Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds usually arrive in Philadelphia in early April. I will be putting my feeder out the last week of March.

Ruby-Throats are the only hummingbird species that regularly calls this area home for the summer breeding and nesting season.

Studies have shown that the Ruby-Throated moves northward as three key flowers come into bloom. Those plants are Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia), Clove Currant (Ribes odoratum) and  Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis). Now we know what to plant for those early arriving Ruby-Throats.

The hummingbird migration dates vary in different regions of the country. Some  areas have several species regularly nesting in their area. Field guides can tell you what species to expect and when. The following  chart covers the eight most common species that breed in North America.

Eastern Northward Southward
Ruby-throated late February to mid-May late July to late October
Western Northward Southward
Allen’s January to March mid-May to September
Anna’s does not migrate;
shifts to local areas with more food
Black-chinned mid-March through mid-May mid-July – November
Broad-tailed March to May August to October
Calliope March to May late July to September
Costa’s late January to February September to October
Rufous February to May late June to September

20 thoughts on “Hummingbird Migration Dates

  1. Donna I have had Hummingbirds around for several years and tried all kinds of feeders, and the one you have pictured is the best! I love how easily it cleans. It’ great and the Hummers love it !!

  2. Hi my name is Rose I’m here in Slidell la.I live quite close to lake Ponchartrain,it’s a town right outside New Orleans,I’m wanting to get back to having Humming birds come around again,do you know when they will be around these parts or are they always here ? Or do you just have to put out their feeders? Any info would be appreciated Thankyou!

    • Hi, Rose

      Thanks for reading In Season. Given how far south you are, the hummingbirds probably never left your area. You can put your feeders out now. If they did migrate further south, they will be in your area soon.

      Enjoy!

      • Here in Philadelphia, we never put out feeders and the hummingbirds are here all day, all season long. Just plant salvia, Mexican sunflowers, and basically any flower that has nectar they can get to and they’ll be there.

      • Hi, Jon

        Thanks for reading In Season.

        Yes, the hummers certainly flock to nectar plants. The hummingbird feeders provide people without gardens a chance to feed and watch the birds.
        In my Philadelphia garden, the hummers visit the Mexican/Texas Red Salvia and Philadelphia native Trumpet Flower. Here is a list of native plants for hummers here in Philly. Why native plants?

  3. I thought this video of hummingbirds and butterflies in our Philly backyard might be of interest. We have hummers every day, all day,despite the fact that we never use feeders. “Our” hummingbirds love salvia, Mexican sunflowers, and honeysuckle…

  4. Donna, Please help us with a question. I have a friend that says Hummingbirds are poisonous. Is the true? And if so, What makes them poisonous.
    Thanks for your help.

    • Poisonous? I have never heard that Hummingbirds are poisonous. What would be poisonous? They don’t have teeth or fangs. Their claws are tiny. I can’t imagine what on them would be poisonous.

      I will say no, hummingbirds are not poisonous.

  5. Greetings we reside on Cape Breton Island Nova Scotia Canada , we have lots of humming birds returning every year. We are looking for some advise as to when we should place our feeders out? Thanks in advance.
    Kind Regards
    Ken & Arnaly

    • Hi Ken and Arnaly

      I actually visited Nova Scotia several years ago. It’s a very lovely place.

      Put your feeders out now. It is good to put the feeders up before you see the first hummingbirds. There is always that early soul who shows up early to stake out territory.

      And keep them up probably into September. Nova Scotia weather seemed a bit mild even though it much further north than I am. I guess it’s the moderating influence of the ocean.

      The hummingbirds probably start south in August were you are. But they tend to hang around longer than humans think they should.

      Enjoy!

  6. we are feeding 5 at a time and have seen 7-9 flying around at once. the texas drought with lack of flowers may be attributing to this. we have never seen this many at once. when should we pull the feeders so they will continue south before winter? we live in se tx. thanks

    • Hi, Lillian

      Keeping your feeders out will not stop the hummingbirds from migrating. You can keep them out until no more hummers visit them.

      In Texas they just may not migrate. Recent studies have shown that hummers stay around in the deep south far later into the year then most people realized. The explanations range from, “we weren’t looking for them therefore we didn’t see them” to “maybe the birds have changed their habits”.

      Either way the birds will move along when they are good and ready.

      It is great that you are feeding them, they probably are glad to get the nectar.

      Donna

      • Thank you so much for the information. We did have 1 bird last year that stayed through the winter. We had to bring the feeder in some nights so it would not freeze and put it out the next morning for it again. We love watching them and appreciate your assistance and web site of great information.

    • Hi, Sandra

      Thanks for asking the question.

      Ruby-throated Hummingbirds stay in the our part of the east through late October. In West Virginia I would keep the feeders out until the end of October.

      Don’t be surprised if you see a hummingbird later than that. Studies have shown that hummingbirds stay in the area later than we think. We often miss them because me don’t expect to see them. People in my neighborhood don’t expect to see hummingbirds and are surprised when I say the visit my garden all the time.

      The changing climate also might have something to do with the hummers sticking around.

      Good luck.
      Donna

      • Thanks for the input Donna. I am hoping here in Cleveland, Ohio, they will stick around, at least til late October. I do know too, once a hummer has found a reliable feeder, it returns to it year after year. This was my first year. More hummingbird to you.

  7. i am happy to be living with my sis in wynnewood and she has a pretty ok garden which i am learning to help with … i’ve liked hummingbirds since i was a little kid in the adirondack mtns. new york and thought at first they were giant bumblebees.

    anyway i have gotten a feeder which drips sugar water/humm’nbrd ‘food’ all over the place (do you know a GOOD one?) … but after a few weeks of no action and my sis
    telling me wait until it’s warmer i gave up temporarily …. but yesterday evening 4/29
    i finally saw one investigating my sis’s azealeas, so i quick filled up my feeder (too late) but hope to see a return tomorrow.

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