Every spring, hummingbirds come back to their breeding areas. Those who love watching hummers want to attract them to their backyards in this season. Most of them may not know when to start feeding hummingbirds since weather patterns are different in each state.
So, when to feed hummingbirds? Most hummingbirds visit plenty of feeders in March, April, and May, while other species, like Anna’s hummingbirds, feed on nectar all year round. Typically, dawn and dusk are the best time to drink nectar for hummingbirds. Besides that, they consume nectar at different periods of the day, especially from the feeders located in the shade.
When to put out hummingbird feeders entirely depends on the specific region you’re living. In this article, we’re going to talk about feeding hummingbirds in each state of the USA, along with what to feed them and the possibility of feeding them in the winter.
So, let’s get started!
When to Start Feeding Hummingbirds?
The entire process of feeding hummingbirds depends on their migration patterns. Since feeding hummingbirds’ exact time can vary, you have to know well when they can start visiting your feeders. And you have to be ready with nectar before they come.
01. February and March (Southern USA):
The hummingbirds of Southern United States, first of all, start migrating to the warmer regions. The Southern United States includes North Florida and the southern part of Georgia. If you’re living in one of these areas, you have to put out your feeders in the middle to late February or early March.
02. March and April (Central USA):
Ruby-throated hummingbirds and Rufous hummingbirds are mostly found in the United States’ Central regions. If you’re living anywhere in the Central USA and willing to offer nectar to hummingbirds, you have to put out your feeder in the middle to late March or early April.
03. April and May (Northern USA):
Many hummingbird species typically reach the United States’ northern ranges between late April and early May. This is the best time to put out your feeder if you’re a respected citizen there.
04. May and June (Canada and Alaska):
Hummingbirds usually reach Canada and Alaska between late spring and early summer. If you’re living in one of these places, you can put up your hummingbird feeder in mid-May or very early June.
What to Feed Hummingbirds?
Hummingbirds mainly feed on nectar from plenty of flowers. If you’re willing to offer them artificial nectar, you have to make sugar water at a ratio of 1:4 and put the mixture into a feeder. We have an ultimate guide on this topic that helps you a lot.
Once you’ve prepared the sugar water, our recommendation is to clean the feeder before filling it with the mixture. As long as you keep the feeder clean, you can keep these tiny creatures safe. If you still don’t have a feeder, check these feeders on Amazon.
Should I Feed Hummingbirds All Year?
You should feed hummingbirds all year if you’re a resident of the area of non-migratory or overwintering hummingbirds. Those living in southern British Columbia and on the Pacific coast of the United States can feed hummingbirds all year round.
Besides that, south and central Florida, southern Texas coast, and southeastern Arizona are the hotspots of all-year-round hummingbirds, so you can feed them in these places throughout the year. You can also feed them all over the year if you live in Mexico or the Caribbean regions.
What Time of Day Do Hummingbirds Feed?
In most cases, hummingbirds feed on nectar at dawn and dusk. Dawn refers to early in the morning, and dusk means late in the afternoon before sunset. Although those two times are hummingbirds’ favorites, they drink nectar at many different times all over the day.
Occasionally, I get up at 5 am, and I notice several hummingbirds are having nectar from my feeder. Between 8 and 9 am, I hardly find them around the feeder. Again, many of them hover around my feeder at dusk, exactly before sunset.
When to Put Out Hummingbird Feeders in Each State?
You may know that hummingbirds always love to stay at warmer temperatures. When it comes to putting out hummingbird feeders, March, April, and May are the best time to offer nectar to hummingbirds in most states.
That being said, we’re now going to show you the estimated hummingbird arrival times in each USA state. As a consequence, you can get a clear idea of when you can put up your hummingbird feeder. However, some more details about each state are in the following.
|States||Best Time to Put Out Feeders|
|Alabama||Late April to early May|
|Alaska||Late April to early May|
|Arizona||Early mid-April to year-round|
|Arkansas||Late March to early April|
|California||Mid-March to early April|
|Connecticut||Late April to early May|
|Delaware||Late March to early April|
|Georgia||Late February to early March|
|Illinois||Late April to early May|
|Indiana||Late April to early May|
|Iowa||Late April to early May|
|Louisiana||Mid-March to early April|
|Maryland||Late April to early May|
|Massachusetts||Late April to early May|
|Michigan||Mid-April to early May|
|Mississippi||Mid-March to early April|
|Montana||Late April to mid-May|
|Nevada||Early April to year-round|
|New Hampshire||Early May|
|New Jersey||Late April to early May|
|New Mexico||Late March to early April|
|New York||Late April to early May|
|North Carolina||Late March to early April|
|North Dakota||Mid May|
|Oregon||Late February to early March|
|Rhode Island||Late April to early may|
|South Carolina||Mid-March to year-round|
|South Dakota||Mid May|
|Texas||Mid-March to early April|
|Utah||Late April to early May|
|Washington||Late February to early March|
|Wisconsin||Late April to early May|
Alabama: Alabama is one of the USA’s states where you can find around 12 different species of hummingbirds. The best time of putting out the hummingbird feeders in this state is between late April and early May.
Alaska: If you live in Alaska, you regularly watch Rufous Hummingbirds around you. Besides that, Costa’s and Anna’s hummingbirds migrate to this part of the USA. The best time of putting out your feeders is between late April and early May, especially for the male Rufous hummingbirds, because the females arrive there a couple of weeks later.
Arizona: Every year, Arizona has witnessed as many as 17 species of hummingbirds. Thanks to the warm climate, some of Anna’s hummingbirds stay there all year round. Therefore, you can put out your feeders in early mid-April for all year round.
Arkansas: If you’re a resident of Arkansas, you can find approximately 9 species of hummingbirds there during the warmer weather. The best time of offering nectar to the hummingbirds is between late March and early April.
California: Around 14 different hummingbirds are found in the warmer climate of California. Since this is a coastal state, especially the southern part of the state, many hummingbirds stay there all year round. You can hang your feeders all over the year, but the ideal time is between mid-March and early April.
Colorado: The residents of Colorado can see only 4 species of hummingbirds each year, and the most common ones are Broad-tailed hummingbirds. The best time to put up your feeders is in mid-April for almost all year round.
Connecticut: Connecticut is one of the USA’s smallest states where you can find 5 to 6 different species of hummingbirds each year. However, Rufous and Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the native species of this state, so you can put your feeders throughout the entire year. Without putting your feeders all year round, the ideal time is between late April and early May.
Delaware: Those who live in Delaware can see 4 different species of hummingbirds, such as Ruby-throated, Rufous, Allen’s, and Broad-tailed. These hummingbirds are typically found in mid to late April, but some people report that they see them in late March. That’s why you should put up your feeders, depending on weather and temperatures.
Florida: Florida is a versatile state for hummingbirds. In southern Florida, many hummingbirds are found in the winter months. However, north-central and central Florida see hummingbirds in early March, sometimes in late February. There are 3 different species of hummingbirds, such as Ruby-throated, Black-chinned, and Rufous, found in this state.
Georgia: Georgia has witnessed a dozen different species of hummingbirds each year. Similar to Florida, this state has summer and winter hummingbirds, and some of them stay there all year round. Since Ruby-throated hummingbirds reach there between late February and early March, you should put out your feeders at this time.
Hawaii: Hawaii is the only state of the USA where hummingbirds are banned by state law. This is because this state has a large pineapple industry, and hummingbirds could pollinate the pineapple flowers.
Idaho: In Idaho, you can find around 8 species of hummingbirds each year, especially between early and mid-April, and this is the ideal time of putting out your feeders. However, Anna’s hummingbirds may stay in Idaho throughout the year.
Illinois: Although 4 to 5 species of hummingbirds are regularly active in this state, a large portion of them is Ruby-throated hummers. They arrive there between late April to early May, which is the ideal period for putting out feeders.
Indiana: There are 3 different hummingbirds, such as Ruby-throated, rufous, and Black-chinned, found in Indiana, but Ruby-throated hummers are the most among them. When it comes to putting your feeders out, mid to late April is the ideal period.
Iowa: Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the only regular hummers in Iowa. However, some people report that they sometimes see well-traveled Rufous hummingbirds. If you’re a resident there, you should put feeders between late April and early May.
Kansas: Like Iowa, Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the most common ones in Kansas. If you live in this state and willing to feed these tiny creatures, you have to put your feeders out as early as mid-April.
Kentucky: In Kentucky, Ruby-throated, Rufous, and Black-chinned hummingbirds are mostly seen. Ruby-throated hummers come to the state in early to mid-April. As early as late March, you may also enjoy watching them from your home.
Louisiana: Many people in Louisiana have reported that they already see around a dozen different species of hummingbirds in this state. They finish their migration in mid to late March, but the majority of them come in mid-April.
Maine: In early May, Ruby-throated and Rufous hummingbirds reach Maine. So, you should put out your feeders before this period. Besides, some people can occasionally see the elusive white hummingbirds, especially in New England.
Maryland: Like most of the states, Maryland witness Ruby-throated and Rufous hummingbirds each year. They arrive there in between early May and late April, so this is the best period to start feeding them.
Massachusetts: If you’re living in Massachusetts, you should put up your hummingbird feeders in late April or early May to feed the Ruby-throated and the Rufous hummingbirds back in the area from migration.
Michigan: Michigan is the home of Ruby-throated hummingbirds for a few months out of the year. Other species, such as Rufous hummingbirds, can occasionally be seen in this state. However, you should hang your feeders outside of your house in mid-April to early May for the hummingbirds that return from migration.
Minnesota: In Minnesota, Ruby-throated hummingbirds reach there at the beginning of May. When it comes to the female Ruby-throated hummingbirds, they arrive in Minnesota after a couple of weeks.
Mississippi: People of Mississippi already report about 10 different species of hummingbirds in the state. However, Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the most common species among them. In mid-March to mid-April, they start reaching Mississippi, which is the ideal period of putting out feeders.
Missouri: Ruby-throated hummers are the only species in the state. They return to their actual nests between early April and late May. Therefore, you have to set your feeders out within this period (if possible, before the period).
Montana: Montana has 4 native hummingbirds, such as Rufous, Black-chinned, Anna’s, and Calliope. Most importantly, they all reach the state as early as late April to mid-May. In our opinion, putting out feeders with nectar at this time is the right decision.
Nebraska: There is only a species of hummingbird, Ruby-throated hummingbirds found in Nebraska. They can mostly be seen in eastern Nebraska along with the Missouri River. If you’re looking for feeding hummingbirds of the area, you have to put your feeders out in mid-May.
Nevada: The Nevada people report that there are 9 species of hummingbirds, including 5 native breeders, found in the state. The native hummingbirds are Black-chinned, Costa’s, Calliope, Broad-tailed, and Anna’s hummingbirds that come (except Anna’s) in the state between April and mid-May.
New Hampshire: Ruby-throated and Calliope are the species of hummingbirds found in New Hampshire. They reach the state in early May, and therefore, this is the ideal period of putting the feeders out for them.
New Jersey: In New Jersey, Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the most common species. Besides that, Rufous hummingbirds can be found there but rarely. These birds arrive between late April and early May each year.
New Mexico: New Mexico witness around 17 different species of hummingbirds each year. Most of them migrate to Mexico through the trail between late March and early April, but a few of them, such as Blue-throated hummingbirds, stay in the state.
New York: New York is one of the most suitable places for Ruby-throated hummers. Each year, they return to their home from migration in early May. So, you should put your feeders out in late April before their arrival to offer them delicious nectar.
North Carolina: In North Carolina, the only breeding species are Ruby-throated hummingbirds, and they come back to your backyard between late March and early April. However, you may occasionally see Rufous hummingbirds in North Carolina, especially in winter.
North Dakota: Like North Carolina, North Dakota has only the Ruby-throated hummingbirds, and they’re available there, especially in the eastern half of the state, during early spring. So, this is the ideal period of putting your feeders out of your home.
Ohio: Ruby-throated hummingbirds start migrating to Ohio in the mid to late April. Also, Rufous and Calliope hummingbirds are rarely seen there. As a consequence, you can make this time perfect for feeding nectar.
Oklahoma: Oklahoma is mainly the home of two hummingbird species, Black-chinned and Ruby-throated, and they’re seen in the spring and fall. So, you can place your feeders in mid-April around your residence.
Oregon: Around 7 species of hummingbirds, including Rufous and Allen’s, migrate to Oregon at different periods of the year. If you’re a resident of western Oregon, you can put your feeders out all year round for Anna’s hummingbirds. However, if you live in any other Oregon area, consider placing your feeders between late February and early March.
Pennsylvania: In Pennsylvania, Ruby-throated hummingbirds are native, but Rufous hummers are occasional migrants. Ruby-throated hummingbirds reach the state at the end of March. So, if you want to attract some early arrivals, you have to hang your feeders around your house in early March.
Rhode Island: You should hang your feeders around your house between late April and early May because Ruby-throated and some Rufous hummingbirds migrate to this state in spring.
South Carolina: In South Carolina, Ruby-throated hummers come back in mid-March each year. If you’re willing to attract them to your backyard, you have to set your feeders around your house before their arrivals.
South Dakota: Only Ruby-throated hummingbirds are rarely seen in South Dakota, especially in the state’s eastern half. Since they typically arrive there in May, you should opt for the time to put your feeders out.
Tennessee: Like most other states, Tennessee is one of the best places for Ruby-throated hummingbirds. They arrive in the state between late March and early April, and that’s why this is the right time to put up your feeders.
Texas: Around 17 different species of hummingbirds, including Ruby-throated, Blue-throated, Rufous, Buff-bellied, Broad-bellied, and Black-chinned, can be seen in Texas. If you live there, you can put your feeders out between mid-March and early April.
Utah: Utah is the state of a few common hummingbirds, such as Black-chinned, Rufous, Broad-bellied, and Costa’s. If you want to attract these little creatures in your backyard, you need to put your feeders out before late April.
Vermont: The most common Ruby-throated and Rufous hummingbirds are usually found in Vermont. They come back to the state in early May, and therefore, this is the best time to put up your feeders.
Virginia: Each year, Ruby-throated and Rufous hummingbirds can be found in Virginia in early to mid-April. That’s because you can put your hummingbird feeders out with nectar around your house in this period.
Washington: You can see Rufous hummingbirds in Washington between late February and early March. However, you can find Anna’s hummingbirds in this state, especially in western Washington, throughout the year.
West Virginia: Ruby-throated hummingbirds, the only breeding species in West Virginia, reach the state in mid-April. If you’re going to attract them in your backyard, you need to put your feeder out around your house before their arrivals.
Wisconsin: Like West Virginia, Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the only breeding species that usually return from their migration between late April and early May. So, put your feeders around your house within this time to attract plenty of hummers.
Wyoming: In Wyoming, Rufous, Broad-tailed, Black-chinned, and Calliope hummingbirds can be seen between early to mid-May each year. Consequently, this is the right time to have your feeders out.
Is It Possible to Feed Hummingbirds in the Winter?
In the winter, it’s possible to feed Anna’s hummingbirds by putting your feeders out. For that, you have to be a resident of Vancouver, Baja, Arizona, and the West Coast. Besides, Costa’s hummingbirds stay in the Southwest deserts during winter and feed on nectar from feeders.
You may also find several species of winter visitors between Texas and Florida, especially near the coast. You can feed these birds throughout the winter by putting your feeders with nectar around your house or in the backyard.
Most importantly, hummingbird feeders may get frozen in winter weather. To keep the feeders away from freezing, you can put them near a porch light to give them some heat. You can also use a couple of feeders and change them every 12 hours.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Is it okay to feed hummingbirds sugar water?
Hummingbirds love to eat nectar, natural sugar water. If you’re willing to fulfill the necessity of nectar, you can definitely provide them sugar water with clean feeders. I have already written a piece of content on this topic. You can read it by clicking here.
2. How much nectar does a hummingbird drink in a day?
One day, we made a half-gallon of sugar water, and 139 hummingbirds came to drink the nectar in that day. Therefore, each hummingbird consumed 0.46 oz. of nectar. There was 64 oz. of sugar water in the feeder. If we divide 139 by 64, we get 0.46 (the amount of nectar consumed by each hummingbird). However, this is not rocket science; it’s sometimes a matter of fun to do this kind of calculation.
3. Do hummingbirds return to the same place every year?
Hummingbirds have a great memory, and therefore, they return to the same feeder every year if they find nectar in the feeder. If the feeder is empty, they go for searching for other feeders in somewhere else. It’s not a matter of loyalty, yet they cannot survive for a long time without drinking nectar.
Now that you know when to start feeding hummingbirds, you have to make sure some related things about hummingbird feeding. Always try to put your feeders out before the arrival of your backyard friends. If you fail to make nectar before their appearances, they may go anywhere else.
However, once hummingbirds feed on nectar from your feeder, they will have excellent memories and come back to your feeders every year. If they come into your backyard but don’t find the feeders, they tend to move to another location for searching for food sources.
If you put nectar in your feeders too early, it may get spoiled or frozen in winter weather. Make sure that you replace the spoiled, old nectar before they come back to your backyard. Always clean the feeders before putting nectar into them.
Enjoy watching hummingbirds!