As the end of summer arrives, hummingbirds are getting ready to start their migration back south.
Crazy, right? It feels like they just got here. Honestly, I hate knowing I won’t get to see hummingbirds for a while!
At this time of year, one of the most commonly asked questions I get asked is:
“When should I take down my hummingbird feeders?“
As much as I wish I could give you a specific date, the best time to put your nectar feeders away varies from year to year. And the timing is also different depending on where you live!
Personally, here is my rule of thumb:
I leave my feeders up until I haven’t seen a hummingbird for at least TWO weeks.
Here’s the reasoning behind my rationale:
Leaving your nectar feeders up for a few weeks after you see the LAST hummer ensures that any birds that migrate through your area later on still have access to your precious sugar water.
For example, even though the birds near you start their migration on September 20th, there could be hummingbirds moving through your location weeks later that have come from farther north.
Hummingbirds expend A LOT of energy during migration, so you don’t want to take down your feeders too early. Trust me; it’s better to keep them up a bit too long than take them down too early.
Personally, I live in Ohio. It seems that I normally see my last Ruby-throated Hummingbird in the middle of September. So that means I am usually taking my feeders down around the beginning of October. As you go farther south, these dates will be later and later. As you go farther north, these dates will be earlier and earlier.
But what happens if you aren’t around all day to watch your hummingbird feeders?
For example, you may be thinking that you work during daylight hours and have no idea if a hummingbird may have visited.
Luckily, I have a unique solution for you!
You can use EBIRD to check to track the southward migration of hummingbirds and to see if anyone has been seeing them in your area. You can use this data to determine when it’s time to take your nectar feeders down.
If you want to learn how to use eBird to do this, please watch the video below!
Does leaving my feeders up prevent hummingbirds from migrating?
The short answer to this question is NO! This is a myth!
PLEASE don’t worry that leaving up your nectar feeders is preventing hummingbirds from leaving to fly south. A hummingbird’s instinct will take over and make them travel south, which is why I recommend that you leave your feeders out until you haven’t seen any birds for a few weeks.
Do the hummingbirds near me migrate?
So for most of us that live in the United States and Canada, the hummingbirds we see during summer migrate south for the winter.
But some of you are extremely lucky and have hummingbirds that live near you ALL YEAR LONG!
In general, if you live in California, southern Texas, Oregon, Washington, southern British Columbia, Arizona, or New Mexico, then you probably don’t have to take your hummingbird feeders down at all. You have hummingbirds that never leave. 🙂
For more information about the types of hummingbirds that live near you, check out the article below.
- The 8 Most Common Hummingbird Species in North America! (Includes detailed range maps)
When do you take down your hummingbird feeders?
Please leave a comment below.
I’d love to know WHERE you live and WHEN you normally see your last hummingbirds migrating.
Thanks for reading. 🙂