Continue feeding hummingbirds in mid-August and September as they start their migration back to warmer climates. They do not migrate in flocks nor fly very high—mainly so they can see food sources along the way.
Ruby Throated Hummingbirds fly to Florida, Louisiana or Texas by mid-September before flying across the Gulf to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and south. However, a significant population now winters along the Gulf Coast between Florida and Texas. Almost all hummingbirds migrate except some of the Anna’s and Allen’s hummingbirds in Southern California and Anna’s can also spend the winter in Arizona. The Costa’s hummingbird breeds in the Colorado desert during winter.
In the weeks before hummingbirds migrate, they start to intensely feed in an attempt to gain weight and fat. This is called hyperphagia. A female might put on 25-40% more weight while a smaller male might double its weight. Hummingbirds consume 50% of their weight in sugar each day from flower nectar and feeders, with insects providing the remainder.
Ornithologists have calculated that a hummingbird can fly 600 miles without having to re-fuel. The distance from Florida to the Yucatan is 525 miles. It is estimated that this may take them 22 hrs. With headwinds, the challenge becomes greater. With tailwinds, the trip can become easier. Also keep in mind that hummingbirds will be migrating south from Canada. A ruby-throated hummingbird travels an average of 23 miles per day. Early morning and evening feeding are important as they travel mid-day. Blooming jewelweed is an important food source.
Here are fiveways to help hummingbirds:
1. Put out Hummingbird feeders, ideally more than one as they do not like to share and tend to be territorial
2. When feeding hummingbirds, go from a 4-to-1 to a 3-to-1 ratio of sugar to water so they don’t waste energy. Boil the mixture, cool, put in the refrigerator and use as needed.
3. Plant flowers that have high nectar content.
4. Those residing in the southern part of the US should add more hummingbird feeders, as this may be one of their last stops before a 525 mile journey—this could be until late October.
5. Do not use soap to clean a hummingbird feeder. Use hot water/brushes.
Change the hummingbird nectar or sugar water every 3-5 days, every 2 days in very hot weather.
For more information, visit USABirdSupply.com.
Commentthank you this has given me many ideas.
Comment Very good information!!!.
Thank You! !
Good info. I live in East Tennessee . When do I need to stop feeding.
You do not need to stop feeding to aid in migration. The birds migrate on their own schedule unaffected by feeders. If you mean stopping because is has become a waste of time, I usually stop about two weeks after the last hummer I’ve seen on my feeders.
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I’ll be sorry to see them leave. Enjoyed watching them all summer.
Comment I hate to see the hummingbirds go they have been so nice to see everyday all year until they leave, thank you for all the information.
Very odd this year. Fall 2019. Looks like they have left three weeks early in eastern iowa. Have large following here. Gone 5 sept already for most part.
Haven’t seen any in the last couple of days here in So. NH
my hummers are still here in western north carolina
I had a hummingbird show up November 9, 2018 . I had not seen any hummingbirds since the 3rd of October
I have only a few females left
Hummers using our feeders here in south Kansas city mo.
Do hummingbirds fall asleep on the feeders during day time? I have one lying down on the perch of the feeder. He sat there for over an hour. I don’t want to disturb him if he is sleeping. One foot is holding onto the feeder perch, but he isn’t moving.
It’s mid-September here in northern Wisconsin. We have one lone female that is still flying about. We have left a feeder out. How do we get her to fly south?
Saw them alot last week, now gone. South East Pennsylvania
Makes me sad, I will miss them till next year!
Comment Here in Kentucky we have gone down from 25 plus every day feeding twice daily to 7 hummers. So sad to watch them leave. Hopefully they will bring more next year. We have 10 feeders
2 days ago i had a dozen now none. i will leave up feeders for a couple more weeks to help the stragglers. i miss them already
Comment I have 2 female “Ruby’s today at my feeders..otherwise I have’nt seen any the last 2 day’s! These 2 “beauties” must be migrating through and just stopped in to fuel up! I absolutely love and admire these tiny little “beauties” Bless them all♥️! Northern Minnesota!
Commentjust watched two hummers eating over a 45 minute period
They stopped when someone started a grass mower nearby.
Here in Cincinnati I leave my feeders out throughOctobet
R Robison we have had 9-12 most July, August, and now (Sept 19, 2019) there are only 2 left. The Rubies left a couple of days ago. Just a couple of green ones left. I was able to make several videos this year. They sound just like Dolpins when they are positioning at the feeders. We will miss them and hope they increase next year.
Commentators have some here in Michigan…..later than last year…..Will feed till no sign and then after for stragglers…..Love them…..Will miss them!
Still LOTS of birds in northeast Georgia on 09/23/2019. We had just three “regulars” until two weeks ago but now there’s a dozen or more.
We saw some yesterday here in Liberty, Missouri. We will leave ours up and keep eye out for them. Will miss them too.
Probably migrating already & that is why we r having more down south here in Carolinas & GA. We had a lot this yr. Same ones I guess as years earlier & some new ones.
Here in Alvin Texas I have a hoard of Hummers everyday which began in The middle of August. It is now 9/23/2019 and I have 8 feeders up. This is my first year and it is so wonderful to watch them! I have Rubies and they will fight each other but now they will feed together in peace I think because they realize there’s plenty of food for them. I have to refill my feeders every two days which means I have a lot of hummers coming all day. I’ve planted lots of native vines and flowers that hopefully will grow well so I can create a good habitat for them. What a joy they are! So important to make sure you clean with hot water and refill in south Texas because it’s very hot here. Wild Birds unlimited is a good wild bird store and they carry a product called feeder fresh that helps to keep your nector fresher longer
CommentI just saw one today. He got scared off by a bee. I took care of the bee and it came back and gorged itself at the feeder.