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.
Comment: Just had 4 at my feeder here in Hamden, CT. The feeder’s still busy, though it’s lessened in the last 3 days.
Comment: I have 5 feeders up and still have 10 to 15 daily in West Monroe, Louisiana (northeast Louisiana). Sure will miss them when they go. Will keep my feeders clean and filled as long as I need to.
Comment Just had one at my feeder here in Idaho. Hadn’t seen any for two weeks. It was below freezing last night. Weird or not?
This is my first year feeding the hummingbirds ! I sure have enjoyed them . As of October 4th I still have my 2 . I’m near Chicago Illinois . I’m really going to miss them ! I hope we have a fast winter !!!
I still have a few hummingbirds but I’m sure they are getting ready for the big flight.
I truly hate to see them leave
I just read in the above information not to use soap when cleaning the feeders.
I have done that for years but I recently started putting everything in to the dishwasher. I have a tiny brush for the little spout s. Haven’t had a problem.
15 degrees last night but still a couple hummers around. I defrosted the feeder and put it out with fresh nectar. Seems awfully late for the little ones to still be here in central idaho
We’ve had a small female hummer that’s been here for a few days now in Central Missouri. Hadn’t seen any for a week or so until this one. She survived our cold rain, early snow & freezing temperatures Wednesday night & Thursday. I also thawed out feeder & put out fresh nectar. I hope she heads south now that warmer temperatures are in the forecast.
We are still seeing a female Ruby Throated in Columbia, Mo. She continues feeding although the feeder had a bit of ice floating in the top this morning. I’m bringing the feeder in tonight and putting out fresh nectar in the morning. I do hope she travels on soon. This is the latest I’ve seen them here and with such cold temps.
Still saw a hummingbird feeding today. Most left a few weeks ago. We had a very mild November. I live in Berkeley and we just got out of a cold spell, but it keeps raining. I’m concerned for what looks like a straggler.
Lake of the Ozarks. I had between 6-12 hummingbirds all spring/summer until the last week of September. On 10-2, noticed only one male left. 🙁 I put out fresh nectar and and he is still there on 10-6-2020.
I still have my hummingbird bush loaded with flowers hear in Clearwater, FL. But haven’t seen any hummers in 2 weeks. Temp still in high 80’s , low 90’s. It’s going to be a long winter without them.