Very soon your hummingbird pals will be packing their bags, so to speak, and heading south for some well-earned vacation time. Migration is fun and exciting (especially for the birds), but we know you may have some questions, especially in the early stages of migration. Whether you want to know more about migration in general, or you want to know how to help your feathered friends, we’re here to help you. Let’s start by answering six of the most common hummingbird migration questions that we get asked.
1. When exactly is hummingbird migration?
Most hummingbirds typically spend their winters vacationing in Central America or Mexico. In order to make it there in time, hummingbirds begin to travel during August and September. The migration is usually complete by the end of October. However, depending on the seasons and air temperatures, actual migration patterns may vary.
2. How do hummingbirds know when to migrate?
Pure instinct plays a large role, but hummers also realize when it’s time to migrate based on their surroundings. They may notice things like daylight changes, or the decrease in the amount of flowers, nectar, and insects (aka their food sources). When all those things start adding up, the hummingbirds know it’s time to head south!
3. I’m used to filling my feeder every couple weeks, but now I have to do it every day. Is this because of migration?
You bet it is! In order to maintain energy during their trip, hummingbirds usually put on 25 to 40 percent more weight beforehand. This means not only will they be eating more than usual, but there will also be more hummingbirds stopping by to eat as well! To ensure that hummingbirds find feeders, keep yours well stocked to help your feathered friends put on more weight to prepare for their long journey ahead.
4. So, how do hummingbirds find my feeders?
Well, hummingbirds are creatures of habit. They typically follow the same migration pattern each year and often breed and feed in the same beautifully birdscaped yards. But there are a few things that you can do to help hummingbirds find feeders: keep feeders full and clean, place feeders in open places with cover nearby, and entice them with landscaping.
Hummingbird Feeding Tip: Keep your Perky-Pet® hummingbird feeders full and hanging in your yard until the threat of frost or below freezing temperatures.
5. I live in the south. Is there anything special I should do to help with migration?
As many more hummingbirds will be headed your way, your feeder’s nectar level will deplete faster than usual. Something those birders in the south can do to help is to put out more feeders around October. Your feeder may be the last stop for many hummingbirds before they show their passports and exit the country, so it’s helpful if you have more places for them to feed before they move on.
6. I’m really going to miss the hummingbirds while they’re gone. Is there anything I can do to prepare for their return in the spring?
We are going to miss the hummingbirds too! But of course there are things you can do to help prepare for their return. Start stocking up for next hummingbird season by flying on over and getting your hands on your favorite Perky-Pet® bird feeders. You can plant both early- and late-blooming flowers so there will be plenty of nectar for the hummingbirds when they return. In addition to this you can provide nesting materials so when the hummingbirds return, they can easily start to build their family!