Hummingbird Migration: When to Expect Them in Your Area [2021]

Hummingbird flies into a flower
Hummingbird migration is a sure sign of spring. (©Lou, Adobe Stock Photos)

Hummingbird migration is one of spring’s highlights. Most years, these birds surprise us, zipping around the yard before we’ve even thought about hanging out the feeder.

But here’s something you count on, like clockwork: As spring moves northward, so do these birds, following above-freezing temperatures and spring blooms.

Hummingbird migration is a product of instinct and nature. Most researchers agree that feeding hummingbirds will not alter these migration patterns, and many gardeners like to extend the feeding season to support migrating birds.

Read: How to Make Hummingbird Nectar and Refill a Feeder Fast


Ruby-throated hummingbird perched on a twig
Ruby-throated hummingbirds get their name from the male’s distinctive red throat below a gray feathered chin. (©Igor Kovalenko, Adobe Stock Photos)

Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds

The most commonly watched species of hummingbird is the colorful and spunky ruby-throated hummingbird.

Of 300 species of hummingbirds — 16 of which breed in the United States — it’s the most common one seen east of the Mississippi River. Its summer habitat includes the eastern half of the U.S. and southeast Canada.

Spring hummingbird migration varies year by year, but this chart will help you get ready for hummingbirds in your area:

Migration Maps

The flutter of these tiny hummingbirds northward across the migration map is exciting to behold, and it begs even casual birdwatchers to participate in recording their progress.


Further Information

For more information about different species of hummingbirds, their feeding, habitats, and arrival dates, check out:

8 COMMENTS

  1. There are a number of plants that attract hummingbirds to your yard, and if you keep your nectar fresh, you should enjoy plenty of hummers. For tips on hummingbird-friendly gardening, check out Hummingbirds in the Garden.

    I haven’t used that particular feeder, but the most important thing is that it be easy to take apart and clean. It needs to be scrubbed every time you fill it. I use a flat feeder that looks like a flying saucer – it comes completely apart, has no tiny or hidden parts to scrub, and is dishwasher-safe. For more info about cleaning and filling feeders, check out How To Make Hummingbird Nectar and Refill a Feeder Fast.

  2. Ruby-throated hummingbirds have always been my favorite. Is there anything I can do to attract more of them to my yard? I’ve been looking at feeders and found Perky-Pet’s Top Fill feeders so far. Have you tried them yet? Instead of having to flip them upside down to fill and use a funnel, you can fill them right from their wide-mouth top.

  3. We are in the northwoods and do not get hummers till mid to late may.We put out various feeders but they seem to like the small ones we got at the dollar store the best.They dont hold much and we refill almost everyday,the fresher the better?,or the size of the feeder? who knows?

  4. we have 3 hummingbird that fly right by our back window 1 girl and 2 boy they fight over the girl she fly’s right next to me and she so green it’s unreal.

  5. My husband and I live in the southwest part of Missouri. We have fed and cared for Ruby Throated Hummingbirds for thirteen years. This year we have had a very cool, wet Spring. The number of hummingbirds we feed is drastically reduced. Has anyone else experienced this reduction? Are we aware of any reason for this reduction? Many of our neighbors have also experienced the reduction in visitors. We live very rural and the landscape has not changed. Any thoughts on this???

  6. I live in Massachusetts , so my question , Chart shows …Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds usual seen time is April last week..so that means it will start showing up from April last week to end of summer or show up for at most two weeks?

    when should i put feed in Massachusetts area?

  7. June 1, 2019 Clermont County, OH
    Our hummingbird feeder was visited today by what appears to be a black chinned rather than the usual ruby throated hummingbird. Could that western species possibly be just outside of Cincinnati?

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