About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Are the hummingbirds gone?

It appears the hummingbirds have left. True?
 
I usually leave my feeder up at least until mid-October or maybe even a little later. The rule of thumb is if you haven't seen a hummingbird for two weeks, it's probably safe to take it down.

Individual adult males get the urge to leave first, followed soon after by the females, and then finally the juveniles. Amazingly, once the young have gained enough weight, they find their own way to the same winter habitat as their parents - someplace where they have never been, using the GPS in their head.

Hummingbirds migrate thousands of miles south every fall to reach their winter homes in Mexico and Central America under their own power. They fly about 23 miles a day by themselves, not in flocks or on the backs of geese.

It's not necessary to take down feeders to force hummingbirds to leave. The initial urge is triggered by the shortening length of sunlight as autumn approaches, and has nothing to do with temperature or the availability of food. However, weather is a factor. Hummingbird will take advantage of the winds to push them in the right direction.

Many hummingbirds migrate around the Gulf of Mexico, through Texas and northern Mexico to winter in Central America. Others will fly from Florida across the Gulf of Mexico to the Yucatan Peninsula.

The hummingbirds aren't in as big a rush to go down south as they were to find nesting grounds in the spring but they will leave us when the winds and weather are just right.

Related Articles:
Hummingbird Information on Habitat and Habits http://bit.ly/It2WwE
Where have my Hummingbirds gone? http://bit.ly/IHzxy3
How Do I Know If It's a Baby Hummingbird? http://bit.ly/IHzCSh
Gardening for birds http://bit.ly/It58nR
Where should I hang my hummingbird feeder? http://bit.ly/FQ9kxU