You have become so used to having hummingbirds in your backyard that the one day you don’t see them, you are beyond confused. Well, where did they go? Why have you never been able to see hummingbirds in winter?
Well, when winter finally rolls around, it is time for hummingbirds, they have to prepare for a long path ahead. Their flight takes them quite far away from North America. Because if you have ever wondered when do hummingbirds fly south or if they fly south at all, well winter is the very season when they do so. Let’s take a look at their flight patterns and any other question you might have.
If you are wondering when do hummingbirds migrate, the answer might be winter but do you know exactly where they go in winter? Well, different species of hummingbirds might choose different areas to head towards during winter. Anywhere that’s not cold is fine for them. However, for most of them, their usual destination usually runs along the south path.
In North America, the most common species of hummingbird would be Ruby throated hummingbird. Usually they are in the north of the Gulf Coast, often spilling over into Canada. Once winter comes around, they are headed towards Southern Mexico, taking a route where Panama is one of their stops.
When do hummingbirds migrate south, they have a long, long journey. They might be small birds but the speed of their wings and how much they have perfected flying definitely helps them migrate to safety better than a lot of bird species.
It should also be noted that you will never see a hummingbird in flocks. You will see a large group of them gathered around the feeding ground but when it comes to flying or living, they don’t treat each other like family unless it is their family. So to speak, hummingbirds are quite solitary in nature. This means individually, hummingbirds can arrive earlier or later than a lot of their peers, as they don’t communicate among each other the route they are taking or when they are leaving.
Should You Take Down Your Hummingbird Feeder If It’s Winter?
Even if it’s winter, you can leave your hummingbird feeder out. There might be still individual hummingbirds that are lurking around your area and might head south later. Additionally, if you are somewhere to the west of the Rocky Mountains, the southeast, or the borders of the US and Mexico, you can leave the feeders out. Hummingbirds are likely to pass through these places and would be grateful for your offering.
Where Do They Nest In Winter?
Hummingbirds tend to be either in Central America or South Mexico during winter. However, as days pass, more and more hummingbirds are seen in the west coast and southeast of the US, who have taken to staying despite the winter. These hummingbirds either don’t plan on migrating or have given up halfway and don’t plan on continuing their trajectory south.
Now, even though it is rare to see hummingbirds in winter, it is still a good idea to leave a feeder out, no matter the time of the year. If some individual hummingbirds have opted to stay behind, they would certainly appreciate having a steady source of food in these difficult times. Winter is also the season where the flowers run out of nectar and it can become harder for them to grab food. Of course, they can live off insects and other sources of proteins for a while but nectar is still their preferred choice of food and what energizes them.