When to Stop Feeding Hummingbirds? [State by State Guide]

when to stop feeding hummingbirds

Contrary to the myth that if you keep your feeders out, hummingbirds do not migrate, they will indeed fly south for the winter. It’s part of their natural instinct and no matter how much nectar is available, these tiny birds will still migrate. Wouldn’t you fly to a warmer climate over winter if you had the chance?

So, the next question I hear you ask is “When should you stop feeding your hummingbird visitor?” or “When should you take down your feeders?”.

It’s really important that you get the timing right so that there’s still enough nectar available for the migrating birds to help them on their long journey. Depending on where you live, this could be anywhere from September to January.

There are certain factors that determine the best time to take down your feeders and we’ll delve into these in more detail. These factors include where you live, your climate and the type of hummingbirds that visit you. There are even certain States where you can leave your feeders out all year round.

Where You Live

If you live in the north of the country or in Canada or Alaska, you can safely take down your feeders in the very beginning of fall. It’s different for southern states though. In some of these states, where the weather remains warm, hummingbirds will stay around all year round.

Here’s a general guide showing you when to take down your feeders depending on which state you live. We’ll go into more detail on each region a little later.

Your Climate

It’s no secret that most hummingbirds prefer the warmer weather. Also, when it’s warm, flowers are likely to bloom for longer periods. However, if you reside in a state where flowers don’t bloom into fall, you want to leave your feeders out a little longer. This ensures that migrating hummers will get enough food to sustain them on the long journey south.

The Type Of Hummingbirds That Visit Your Garden

The type of hummingbirds that visit your garden will determine how they migrate and how far. Therefore, you should make yourself aware of the species of hummingbirds that visit you and their migratory pattern.

In general, you’ll find that male hummingbirds will start the migrating process first. This can be as early as late summer. This is because the mating season for them is over and so it’s time to head south to avoid the cold weather.

The males are then followed by the females and the juvenile birds. Sometimes, the female birds will leave first, especially if they’ve finished raising their young. This usually happens in early fall.

Juvenile birds are likely to stay a little longer, especially if there’s a good food supply handy. They are usually the last to leave and will start their migration in late fall.

Because this process can take many weeks, it’s important that you keep your feeders out to sustain even the stragglers on their migratory journey. At this time, you need to be vigilant and only take your feeders down 2 weeks after you’ve spotted the last hummingbird.

Are There Hummingbirds That Don’t Migrate At All?

Research has shown that there are certain species of hummingbird that don’t migrate at all. Anna’s hummingbirds like to live their lives in Washington, Oregon, California and Vancouver Island.

Another non-migratory species is the Costa’s hummingbird. They prefer to live their lives in California and Arizona. In addition, Broad-billed hummingbirds may choose to stay in the south western states instead of migrating. Plus, in some areas of Louisiana and Mississippi, there are Buff-bellied hummingbirds that like to hang around all year.

So, if you live in any of these states, you should leave your feeders out all year round and only take them down when they need a good clean.

A More Detailed Look At Each State

As hummingbird migration varies from state to state, let’s look at each state in more detail so you know what to expect each year.

Alabama

  • Common species visiting Alabama are Ruby-throated, Rufous and Black-chinned hummingbirds.
  • These will leave the state early November.
  • Take your feeders down around mid to late November.

Alaska

  • The most common visitors to Alaska are the Rufous hummingbirds. There might also be the occasional sighting of Costa’s and Anna’s hummingbirds.
  • Hummers will start their migration in late August.
  • Take your feeders down around mid-September.

Arizona

  • There are many species of hummingbirds that visit Arizona. These include Lucifer, Calliope, Black-chinned, Broad-tailed, Violet-crowned and Rufous hummingbirds.
  • Additionally, there are certain species that like to make Arizona their home year-round. These include Anna’s, Rivoli’s, Blue-throated, Costa’s, and Broad-billed hummingbirds.
  • Migratory hummers will leave around late October.
  • You should leave your feeders out all year-round if you live in Arizona.

Arkansas

  • Arkansas is mainly visited by Ruby-throated hummingbirds.
  • These hummers start to leave around mid to late November.
  • Take your feeders down early December.

California

  • Migratory species of hummingbird visitors include Allen’s, Calliope, Rufous and Black-chinned hummingbirds.
  • Year-round resident hummingbirds include Costa’s and Anna’s hummingbirds.
  • Keep your feeders out all year-round. Make sure they don’t freeze though.

Colorado

  • Common visitors are Rufous, Calliope, Broad-tailed and Black-chinned hummingbirds.
  • The last of these migratory birds will leave around mid October.
  • Take your feeder down early in November.

Connecticut

  • Most common visitors are Rufous and Ruby-throated hummingbirds
  • These start to leave around early October.
  • Take your feeders down around early November.

Delaware

  • Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the most common visitors to Delaware.
  • They start to depart around late October.
  • Take your feeders down around the middle of November.

Florida

  • Florida residents are lucky because the Ruby-throated hummingbird stays there all year.
  • Keep your feeders out all year.

Georgia

  • The most common visitors to Georgia are the Rufous and Ruby-throated hummingbirds.
  • Calliope and Black-chinned hummingbirds are likely to be seen all year round.
  • Keep your feeders out all year round.

Idaho

  • Common migratory hummingbirds in Idaho are Broad-tailed, Rufous, Calliope and Black-chinned hummingbirds.
  • These start to leave around late September to the middle of October.
  • Take your feeders down in early in November.

Illinois

  • Illinois only gets frequented by Ruby-throated hummingbirds.
  • They leave the state around late October.
  • Take your feeders down in the middle of November.

Indiana

  • Ruby-throated hummingbirds are usually the only visitors to Indiana
  • They leave around the end of October.
  • Take your feeders down in mid November.

Iowa

  • Another state that only sees mainly Ruby-throated hummingbirds.
  • These will leave the state around the end of October.
  • Take your feeders down around mid November.

Kansas

  • In Kansas, you can see both Ruby-throated and Rufous hummingbirds.
  • The last ones will leave around late October.
  • Take your feeders down in mid November.

Kentucky

  • Common visitors to Kentucky include the Rufous and Ruby-throated hummingbirds.
  • These start to leave around late November.
  • Take your feeders in around the middle of December.

Louisiana

  • Even though Ruby-throated hummingbirds tend to leave Louisiana around November, other species, like the Black-chinned, Calliope, Broad-tailed, Rufous, and Buff-bellied hummingbirds, will stay all year round.
  • Leave your feeders outside all year round.

Maine

  • The only hummingbirds to visit Maine are Ruby-throated.
  • They start to leave near the end of October.
  • Take your feeders down in early to mid November.

Maryland

  • Mostly Rufous and Ruby-throated hummingbirds visit Maryland.
  • Ruby-throated hummers will leave around late October, however, Rufous hummingbirds may stay all year round.
  • Leave your feeders out all year round unless you don’t see any hummingbirds after early November.

Massachusetts

  • Ruby-throated hummingbirds are usually the only ones that visit Massachusetts.
  • They will leave the state around late November.
  • Take your feeders inside in mid December.

Michigan

  • Michigan residents will likely only see Ruby-throated hummingbirds.
  • These will start to leave around mid October.
  • Take your feeders down in early November.

Minnesota

  • Ruby-throated hummingbirds are usually the only visitors to Minnesota.
  • These hummers will leave the state around late October.
  • Take your feeders down in mid November.

Mississippi

  • In Mississippi, you’ll commonly find Ruby-throated hummingbirds. Some of these will leave near the end of December. However, some may also stay for the winter.
  • Also, Buff-bellied, Rufous and Calliope hummingbirds may stay in the state all year round.
  • Leave your feeders out all year round.

Missouri

  • The most common visitors to Missouri are Ruby-throated hummingbirds.
  • These birds will leave the state around late November.
  • Take your feeders inside around the middle of December.

Montana

  • In Montana, you’re likely to see Broad-tailed, Rufous, Black-chinned, Calliope and Ruby-throated hummingbirds.
  • The last of these will leave the state late September.
  • Bring your feeders inside in the middle of October.

Nebraska

  • Nebraska residents are likely to see only Ruby-throated hummingbirds.
  • They will start to leave the state around late October.
  • Take your feeders down in mid November.

Nevada

  • Common visitors to Nevada are Black-chinned, Calliope, Broad-tailed and Rufous hummingbirds.
  • The last of these will leave the state around mid October.
  • Take your feeders down in mid November.
  • Note: Residents of western or southern Nevada should leave their feeders out all year as Costa’s and Anna’s hummingbirds call this area home throughout the year.

New Hampshire

  • Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the most common visitors to New Hampshire.
  • They usually leave around mid October.
  • Take your feeders down in early November.

New Jersey

  • Residents of New Jersey can also commonly see Ruby-throated hummingbirds.
  • They will usually leave around early November.
  • Take your feeders down in late November.

New Mexico

  • New Mexico is frequented by Black-chinned, Rufous, Broad-tailed and Calliope hummingbirds.
  • These will start their migratory journey south in late November.
  • However, some Broad-tailed and Rufous hummingbirds may stay over winter. Plus, the Anna’s hummingbird is also known to make its year-round home in New Mexico.
  • Leave your feeders out all year round.

New York

  • The most common visitors to New York are the Ruby-throated hummingbirds.
  • They leave the state around mid November.
  • Bring your feeders inside in early December.

North Carolina

  • Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the most common visitors to North Carolina.
  • They leave around the middle of November. However, some may stay over the winter.
  • Take your feeders down in the beginning of December if you haven’t seen any hummingbirds for two weeks.

North Dakota

  • North Dakota residents mainly see Ruby-Throated hummingbirds.
  • They leave the state around early October.
  • Take your feeders down around late October.

Ohio

  • Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the most common ones found in Ohio.
  • They leave around November.
  • Take your feeders down in early December.

Oklahoma

  • Common species include Ruby-throated, Rufous and Black-chinned hummingbirds.
  • They leave the state in late October.
  • Take your feeders down around the middle of November.

Oregon

  • Oregon is frequented by Allen’s, Black-chinned, Rufous and Calliope hummingbirds.
  • These leave around the middle of October.
  • However, you might find that Anna’s hummingbird will stay all year round.
  • Bring your feeders inside around the middle of November if you haven’t spotted any hummingbirds in the last two weeks.

Pennsylvania

  • In Pennsylvania you’re like to see Ruby-throated hummingbirds.
  • These will leave in November. However, some will stay throughout the winter.
  • Keep your feeders out all year round.

Rhode Island

  • Rhode Island is mainly visited by Ruby-throated hummingbirds.
  • They leave early October.
  • Take your feeders down mid to late October.

South Carolina

  • South Carolina is frequented by Ruby-throated and Rufous hummingbirds.
  • Most will depart in November, however, some will stay in South Carolina over winter.
  • Take your feeders down in early December if you haven’t spotted any hummingbirds for two weeks.

South Dakota

  • The most common visitors to South Dakota are the Ruby-throated, Broad-tailed and Rufous hummingbirds.
  • Most will leave by mid October.
  • Take your feeders down around the beginning of November.

Tennessee

  • Mostly only Ruby-throated hummingbirds visit this state, however, some other species have been known to over-winter there.
  • Ruby-throated hummers will leave Tennessee in mid November.
  • Bring your feeders inside around early December if you haven’t seen any hummingbirds for two weeks.

Texas

  • Texas is mostly frequented by Ruby-throated, Lucifer and Black-chinned hummingbirds.
  • Most will leave between November and December. However, some have been known to stay over the winter in coastal areas. This includes the Broad-tailed hummingbirds.
  • If you live in coastal Texas, keep your feeders out year round. In other areas of the state, you can take your feeders down in the beginning of January.

Utah

  • Most common visitors to Utah are Black-chinned, Rufous, Calliope and Broad-tailed hummingbirds.
  • These birds will leave between October and November.
  • But, in Southwestern Utah, Costa’s and Anna’s hummingbirds live there all year round.
  • Take your feeders down in early December unless you live in Southwestern Utah, in which case you want to make sure your feeders are out all year round.

Vermont

  • In Vermont you can see Ruby-throated hummingbirds.
  • These leave around the end of October.
  • Bring your feeders inside around the middle of November.

Virginia

  • Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the most common visitors to Virginia.
  • They leave around the beginning of December.
  • Bring your feeders inside around the end of December.

Washington

  • Washington is frequented by Black-chinned, Calliope and Rufous hummingbirds.
  • These depart between September and October.
  • However, in western Washington, you might find Anna’s hummingbirds residing there throughout the year.
  • Take your feeders down in mid November unless you live in western Washington. In this case, leave your feeders out all year round.

West Virginia

  • Both Ruby-throated and Rufous hummingbirds like to visit West Virginia.
  • They usually depart around late October. But the Rufous hummingbirds may stay until mid January.
  • Take your feeders down in late November or keep them up all year round if you spot hummingbirds near them.

Wisconsin

  • Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the only visitors to Wisconsin.
  • They depart around the end of November.
  • Bring your feeders inside around the middle of December.

Wyoming

  • Wyoming residents can see Black-chinned, Calliope, Broad-tailed and Rufous hummingbirds.
  • They leave the state in September.
  • Take your feeders down in mid October.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Will hummingbirds migrate if you keep feeding them?

Yes, hummingbirds will still migrate even if you leave your feeders out. It’s part of their natural instinct.

What time of day do hummingbirds feed?

The most favourite time for hummingbirds to visit your feeders is early in the morning or late in the afternoon.

Do hummingbirds know who feeds them?

Hummingbirds are very intelligent and have excellent memories. This allows them to come back to the same spot year after year if they found food available previously.

Final Thoughts

By now, you should have a pretty good idea of when you should take down your hummingbird feeders depending on which state you live in.

Remember to thoroughly wash and dry your feeders before you store them away for the winter. We hope this has been useful and would love you to share your comments with us below.

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