Hummingbird Migration

Hummingbird in flight - Photo credit rcyoung, Bigstock

Each year hummingbirds migrate between their summer breeding grounds and warmer wintering areas. The migration range for the hummingbirds of North America varies by species. Some species don't venture any further north than the southernmost parts of the United States in the summertime, while others such as the Rufous Hummingbird go as far north as Alaska. Most of the hummingbirds we see here in the US migrate south to northern Mexico or Central America for the winter. A few species will overwinter in Florida , California, or Arizona.

Generally, the Ruby-throat Hummingbirds begin to arrive in the southern states in early March and spread across the rest of the eastern US by mid-May.

Hummingbirds can go into a kind of feeding frenzy as they prepare to migrate. They need to consume lots of food to have enough energy to make the trip. Be sure to leave your hummingbird feeders out until the last of the hummingbirds have left. Don't worry that leaving feeders up with encourage the birds to stay too long - the drive to migrate is instinctual and they'll leave when the time is right.



Hummingbird Migration Maps

Rufous HummingbirdEach year the folks at Journey North track the migration of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

The first sightings of the birds are plotted as they make their way north. You can view an animated map that shows how they fill up the eastern part of the US.

The archived annual records are a good way to check and see when the hummingbirds usually arrive in your area. also produces a map of Ruby-throat Hummingbird first sightings.