Do Hummingbirds Return to the Same Place Every Year?

do hummingbirds return to the same place every year

Undeniably the most delicate of bird types in the bird world, for some people, hummingbirds are also the rarest of bird visitors to the yard or garden.

However, for those fortunate to have had the pleasure of receiving these beautiful feathered creatures, you may be wondering what the chances are of them returning once again?

With much discussed about recurring hummingbird visits, here we break down the myths.

Observers Have Discovered That Hummingbirds Actually Do Return!

Though it may not come as too much of a surprise to the people they visit, experts have confirmed that many hummingbirds do in indeed return to the same bird feeders, gardens, and yards each year.

Yet, what’s more fascinating is that they will often head back to those exact same places they initially stopped at and in many cases will arrive back at them on the very same date!

Though studies are still being undertaken as to the intricate workings and understanding behind such fantastic findings, bird professionals have been able to gather such exciting news via the use of data used over several years.

Scientists Aren’t yet Too Sure as to How Hummingbirds Keep Returning Home

Though the findings have been proven, the exact reasoning as to precisely why hummingbirds have this ability to return is still a work in progress!

Considering that hummingbirds, like many of other bird types, have a minuscule brain, their ability to perform such a spectacular navigation ritual still continues to baffle many!

Though suggestions have been made including the hummingbird’s ability to remember the most delicious seed at the best feeder, there are a couple of things scientists believe happen when a hummingbird returns to the same place every year. These relate more to a hummingbird’s instinct, their body structure, and their immediate environment.

Possible Explanations for Hummingbirds Returning to the Same Place Year After Year

So far, scientists have concluded that hummingbirds may:

  • Respond to the hours of sunlight during specific times of the year. This may release that hormone that instinctively tells a hummingbird that it’s time to go. This ability to utilize the sun can also mean they use its position as a compass, guiding them to stay on course.
  • Have a greater awareness and fantastic recollection skills to pinpoint previous landmarks. This includes coastlines, mountains, and rivers – and perhaps even that of highways!
  • Utilize their sense of smell and hearing to guide them back to their familiar spots! This idea suggests they could then make their way back to the exact same feeder or breeding ground that they used the year before, suggesting vast familiarity with a place.

Therefore, evidence strongly indicates that the areas that hummingbirds are hatched are revisited every year, but so too are those most impressive and indeed safest of feeding areas.

The Importance of Continuing to Attract Hummingbirds

These findings make great news for those looking to attract and keep hummingbirds coming back to their garden or yard every year.

Utilizing these studies, here are a few ways that you can work to keep your garden or yard hummingbird friendly.

Put out specialist hummingbird feeders

These are specially designed as visually bright feeders that are guaranteed to attract a hummingbird’s attention as they fly over. Then once they land, they can offer not just a comfortable station with their specially designed perches, but also the hummingbird’s favorite food type. For the best results, choose those bird feeders that are red. Hummingbirds rely mostly on bright colors when it comes to finding food, so an abundance of red is a more attractive prospect.

Offer hummingbirds favorite foods

Nectar is a hummingbird’s primary food source because of its significant sucrose element. This ensures they gain the energy needed to fly and continue to remain healthy. Therefore, specified hummingbird feeders can be filled with this in abundance! You can also offer small insects to include some variation in their diet. Hummingbirds are referred to as natural pest control methods, so avoid the temptation to clear your feeding station of cobwebs or insects, allowing the hummingbird to deal with them instead!

Keep Your hummingbird feeders in the exact same spot

A crucial part of hummingbirds revisiting the same feeder is ensuring the feeder itself remains in the very same place they left it. Studies show that routine may play a considerable part in these little feathered friends recalling the hotspot when it comes to food. So, if you can continue to keep the feeder in the same location, they’re more likely to find it with ease and take up where they left off.

Consider planting plants and flowers that are known to attract hummingbirds

As well as making their feeding station attractive, if you can select those hummingbird plants and flower favorites and place them around the feeder and the garden in abundance, you increase the possibilities of welcoming these visitors each year. Try a brightly colored flower that contains the most nectar. Those that are predominantly red in color are also fantastic visual temptations. Ensure lots of space between your plants and flowers and consider implementing various herbs, dwarf trees, and flowering shrubs.

One Comment

  1. Hughlene Dunn

    Hummingbirds are my favorite birds that visit my yard. I’m diabetic so all my sugar purchases are used to feed my visiting hummingbirds. Now that i know they will return to my area I’ll be sure to leave some hummingbird supplies behind if I ever leave this spot. I’ll leave instructions and blessing to the next person to live here. Loved the article and appreciate all your work, information and advice.
    Hughlene Dunn
    Claremore, Oklahoma

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