Here’s when hummingbirds leave North Carolina! (to migrate south)

Unfortunately, hummingbirds don’t live in North Carolina year-round. 🙁


At the end of every summer, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds (the only common species in the state) depart North Carolina to migrate south to southern Mexico and Central America. They spend the winter here in the warm weather before coming back next spring!


So when exactly do hummingbirds leave North Carolina?

when do hummingbirds leave


Ruby-throated Hummingbirds start their southward migration once their breeding season ends. It’s believed that they can sense the changes in the reduced number of daylight hours, flowers, and insects, which triggers their instinct to leave North Carolina.


This means that most hummingbirds have left North Carolina by early to mid-September!


But these are just the birds that choose North Carolina as their breeding grounds. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds can be found from North Carolina all the way into Canada.


And many of the hummingbirds that are migrating south to Central America and southern Mexico must pass through North Carolina. So it’s likely that you will see hummingbirds through much of October as these northern birds are making their way south.


I’m guessing that the reason you wanted to know when hummingbirds leave North Carolina is that you were curious when you can put away your feeders for the winter?


Here’s what I always recommend:


Don’t take down your feeders until you haven’t seen a hummingbird for TWO weeks.


hummingbirds leaving

Once that happens, you can be very confident that almost all the hummingbirds in North Carolina have left for the year!


Trust me; you definitely don’t want to take away the nectar in your yard too early. Hummingbirds migrate a LONG way and need lots of ENERGY, which you can hopefully provide to them.


When do you normally see the last hummingbirds leave North Carolina?


Let us know in the COMMENTS section below!


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  1. I am in Charlotte NC and have noticed a significant drop this week , I’ve only seen 2 when normally I can see many more.  A cold snap is coming next week so my guess is they left before the cold arrives .

    1. I’m also in Charlotte and had several this summer in my backyard. Most of them left 2-3 weeks ago. I had 2 hanging around until yesterday, but today I have only noticed 1. I’m still refreshing the feeders for her!

  2. Normally, in Beech Mountain, NC, the hummingbirds don’t leave until early October. But this year, we aren’t seeing any and it’s only September 29, 2022. We have had a few lows near freezing and bad weather from Hurricane Ian is on its way. I’m sure the hummingbirds know.