Where Do Hummingbirds Go in Winter?

where do hummingbirds go in winter

Hummingbirds are one of the most common birds naturally seen in North America, especially during summer. But did the hummingbirds cope with extreme winter? If not, then where do the hummingbirds go in winter?

As soon as the winter turns cold, these tiniest birds go to other places where they can get plenty of food. This is known as the migration of Hummingbirds. But did you know how far these tiniest birds can go for migration?

Some hummingbirds don’t go anywhere as they stay in the same place. Some others fly up to 500 miles to cross the Gulf of Mexico from Yucatan Pennsylvania to the coast area between Southern Texas to Florida.

The hummingbirds are seen in a large group near the feeders during the fall migration. The individual hummingbirds generally travel earlier or later, but they go to different locations.

To know this fact in detail, you can read the article till it ends.

Where Do Hummingbird Go In Winter ( Explained in detail)

The North American hummingbirds go to Mexico, Central America, to find suitable food and shelter. For example, the Ruby-throated hummingbirds go to the south part of Florida, Mexico, and Pennsylvania.

The overwintering hummingbirds are generally found in mild climate areas such as South East and West coast regions. These birds can not travel too far, so they have chosen this place as the end of their migration journey.

Before you go too deep into the topic, you should know the migration basics of hummingbirds and why they migrate. Let’s read the article.

Migration Basics of Hummingbirds

The hummingbirds go to the South to eat insects, flowers, or other natural foods. Some species also start their migration journey during late summer and winter fall.

As soon as the winter goes away, the hummingbirds return to the northern part of the USA. The north part of the USA is the source of sufficient food.

Why Do Hummingbirds Go To South Part of U.S During Migration

The hummingbirds generally migrate to look for small insects, follower nectar, etc. There are sufficient insects flowers present in the U.S. during summer and Spring. But as soon as the weather starts to cool, they travel through the South. At that time, the weather in that part remains warmer.

The hummingbirds migrate for several reasons. The first reason is to follow the food source. The hummingbirds mainly depend on the blooming cycle of plants.

Due to the insufficiency of a good food source, the hummingbirds get forced to migrate.

Once Autumn comes in the North, the plants get ready for the overwintering stage. They don’t produce flowers, and the insects also settle themselves in the South U.S.

Some hummingbirds also stay north and deal with cooler temperatures and no food available as they have different migration habits.

The hummingbirds migrate for several reasons, including predation, finding out food sources, and endogenous programming.

How Hummingbirds Prepare Them For Migration

As soon as the temperature drops down and affects their food cycle, the Hummingbirds prepare themselves for migration. They take food intensely before they start their journey.

In this way, they build up fat stores in their body. Some species of hummingbirds also double up their weight before migration.

First, they go to the Southern United States in just a few weeks. Then they start their journey towards the Caribbean. Finally, they reach Central America during October and November on the overwintering stage.

However, every Spring, they return to their northern breeding area. Finally, they get a habitat in that place during the summertime.

If there is a storm, surviving in that place can be detrimental for those tiny birds.

Who Starts Journey First During Winter and When

The male hummingbirds start migrating before the female hummingbirds, and this practice is because the male hummingbirds reach the spot earlier to announce their presence.

They also select areas for breeding on wintering grounds. Apart from that, the adult hummingbirds start their journey before the juvenile hummingbirds do.

Because they are inexperienced with migration habits, they will need more time to store fat in their bodies.

Different Hummingbirds Migration and Their Patterns

Now you know the migration basics of hummingbirds and where they go in winter. But now you can come up with one question: do all hummingbirds change places during winter? Let’s discuss it.

Migrant Bird: Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds

The Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds reach Southern Canada when they breed during summer. Some return in mid-July, while others wait till the end of August.

Although some of them remain in the same place as they have traveled more than a thousand miles. There are sufficient Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds in the U.S. due to backyard feeders and forest edge habitats.

Migrant Bird: Rufous Hummingbirds

The Rufous Hummingbirds make the most extended migratory tip in the bird world, near about 3900 km. Their migration trip takes a clockwise loop.

They leave from Mexican wintering ground in Spring and reach Washington State by May. After that, they take a rest in the North. As early as July comes, they get back to their breeding place.

The bird is a near-threatened species in Hummingbirds. So, you can expect a declining population for these migrating birds.

Migrant Bird: Black-Chinned Hummingbirds

The Black-changed hummingbirds are generally found in the Western United States, and they are considered one of the most adaptable Hummingbirds of the U.S.

After their breeding session, these adult hummingbirds fly towards the high elevation of mountains to feast on flowers. Some of them travel through Western Mexico.

There is a high population of black-headed hummingbirds in the U.S. The high population is because of the backyard hummingbirds’ feeders and their adaptable power in varied habitats.

Migrant Bird: Allen’s Hummingbirds

The Allen’s Hummingbirds are generally found in a specific area of the U.S., and they stay pretty firmly on parts like the California shore and Southern Oregon.

They spend their winter in central Mexico around Mexico City. Some Allen’s Hummingbirds leave the Northern part in July, while the others do it in late August.

Between Los Angeles and the channel’s island, you can watch these birds. They return to their ground in February and March.

Migrant Bird: Anna’s Hummingbirds

Unlike the North American Hummingbirds, Anna’s Hummingbirds travel relatively more minor during migration. Some stay at the same place around the year, while others travel a few miles to find food sources.

You can find these species in Washington, California, and Arizona. However, the rising population of Anna’s Hummingbirds can not be denied in the New Mexico and Canada West Coast.

How to help Migrating Hummingbirds

There are many ways you can help Hummingbirds during winter migration. Here the methods are given below for your help:

  • As soon as the migration time reaches, you should keep your feeders filled with a 4:1 Mixture of water and sugar. Hang them throughout your garden so that they can take them during their journey.
  • Put out food and keep them in a shallow birdbath. It allows fruit flies which are a great source of protein for migrating birds.
  • Don’t use any insecticides in your garden to attract hummingbirds.
  • Plant flowers in your garden. So, the hummingbirds can take it as their natural nectar. You can also pick some flowers from a nursery that can provide birds with a nectar source.


So, now you know where the hummingbirds go in winter. They travel to the South to get plenty of food and live in warmer environments. You can also help those migrating birds in winter with the above tips.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do hummingbirds come back to the same place every year?

The hummingbirds can come back to the same place every year as they have fantastic memories. So, if they don’t find feeders at the same site, they will go somewhere else and never return.

Q: How long do the hummingbirds take to reach south during winter?

It generally takes about one week to reach the wintering ground. If they rest at various feed-in places, it may take two weeks.

Q: What temperature is too cold for the Hummingbirds?

Most of the hummingbirds can tolerate sub-freezing while some others do not. As soon as winter starts to come, they travel to another place still in summer.

Written by
Cosmo Jarvis

Cosmo Jarvis is a multi-talented artist excelling in various creative realms. As an author, his words paint vivid narratives, capturing hearts with their depth. In music, his melodies resonate, blending genres with finesse, and as an actor, he brings characters to life, infusing each role with authenticity. Jarvis's versatility shines, making him a captivating force in literature, music, and film.

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