When To Stop Feeding Hummingbirds? Take Your Feeders Down On Time
You may have heard a myth that putting hummingbird feeders out in fall will stop hummingbirds from migrating. Basically, the feeders out there provide hummingbirds healthy food sources to help them migrate successfully to warmer regions.
So, when to stop feeding hummingbirds without depriving them of essential nectar? Depending on the species of hummingbirds, you have to stop feeding them mostly in September, October, or November, just before winter. Make sure that you keep your full-of-nectar feeders up until you see the last hummingbird in your backyard.
Apart from that, you may need to take your feeders down for a while to clean and refill them with fresh nectar. In this article, we’re going to share with you everything regarding the best time to stop feeding these little creatures. So, let’s jump right in!
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What Variables to Consider for Stopping Feeding Hummingbirds
When you’re going to stop feeding hummingbirds, you have to consider four variables, such as your location, the climate of your state, the hummingbird migration process of your region, and your individual considerations. Let’s talk about the variables elaborately below.
- #Your Location: In northern regions, people remove hummingbird feeders at the beginning of the fall. Even the birders of Canada and Alaska safely remove their feeders in late summer. Southern regions, on the other hand, usually keep their feeder out for longer. Many year-round hummingbirds stay in these areas, and therefore birders don’t take down their feeders.
- #The climate of Your State: Each state of the USA or the provinces of Canada have a different climate. If you live in a region where summer flowers die quickly, you should leave nectar feeders for long. Your nectar will be a reliable food source for your tinny friends throughout the year.
- #Hummingbird Migration Process: If you know the entire migration process of hummingbirds, it will help you plan when to take down and when not to take down your hummingbird feeders. Male hummingbirds typically start migrating to the south before females and juvenile birds. If they all get nectar from your feeders before migration, they will return to your feeders next year, and in this way, year after year.
- #Individual Considerations: Sometimes, people take down their hummingbird feeders for cleaning and filling them with nectar for at least a week. If you want to clean and fill yours with nectar, the best time to take your feeders down is between noon and afternoon.
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When Should You Take Down Hummingbird Feeders for Winter?
You should take down your feeders for winter after a couple of weeks you see the last hummingbirds. This is because male hummingbirds head to the south early to late summer, while females start migrating after a month later, mainly in early fall.
When it comes to juvenile hummingbirds, they can hang around your feeders throughout the fall. In late fall, they join migrants and go southward. If you’re thinking about these tiny creatures, you may have to leave your feeders until early November.
Will Hummingbirds Stay instead of Migrating If You Don’t Take Your Feeders Down?
Not at all! The fact is that hummingbirds migrate to the warmer regions even if you leave your feeders throughout the year. Scientists have already studied the hummingbird migration process, and they find that hummingbirds don’t migrate due to the lack of nectar.
So, why do hummingbirds leave? When the length of daylight in fall and spring shortens, the hormones of hummingbirds trigger them to migrate to more comfortable regions. As soon as the endocrine system makes hormones, hummingbirds become impatient for migration.
However, several hummingbird species in some particular regions don’t migrate. For example, Anna’s hummingbirds stay in Washington, California, Oregon, and Vancouver Island all year round. Besides, Costa’s hummingbirds live in Arizona and California throughout the year.
Broad-billed hummingbirds uncommonly live year-round in the southwest states, while Buff-bellied hummingbirds stay in some areas of Mississippi and Louisiana. If you’re a resident in one of the regions, stop feeding hummingbirds shouldn’t be your concern.
Handy Hint: To read more about birds feeder, visit our other article about when to feed hummingbird details [here..] and feed a baby bird without feathers [here..]
What Should You Do About Hummingbird Feeders When You Go on Vacation?
You may love to feed hummingbirds as your pets, and therefore, hummingbirds return to your backyard each year to give you much pleasure and enjoyment. What if hummingbirds come to your backyard but don’t find your feeders because you’re on vacation?
Although hummingbirds somewhat depend on our nectar, they’re wild birds, so they can survive without our assistance. If you go on vacation without providing hummingbirds enough nectar, they’ll likely to move elsewhere to search for other food sources.
So, what can you do for hummingbirds when you’re on vacation? If you’re going somewhere for more than a couple of days, pay attention to your hummingbird feeders. Make sure the feeders are thoroughly clean and then fill them with enough nectar before you go.
Another thing you can do before going on a vacation is you can ask a friend of yours or your neighbors to clean and fill the feeders with nectar for you as long as you’re on vacation. If any of them is agreed to help you, he or she is definitely a bird lover.
When to Take Down Hummingbird Feeders in Each State
The climate is not the same in each state of the USA. For example, the winter in northern states starts relatively earlier than that of the southern states. So, the ideal time for taking down hummingbird feeders can vary. In this section, we will show you the real data of taking down feeders in each state.
|States||Best Time to Take Down Feeders|
|Arizona||Early to mid-November or year-round|
|California||Mid-October or year-round|
|Georgia||Mid-December or year-round|
|Nevada||Mid-November or year-round|
|New Hampshire||Early November|
|New Jersey||Late November|
|New Mexico||Early December or year-round|
|New York||Early December|
|North Carolina||Early December|
|South Carolina||Early December|
|South Dakota||Early November|
|Texas||Early January or year-round|
|Washington||Mid-November or year-round|
|West Virginia||Mid-November or year-round|
#Alabama: In Alabama, you can find a very few Black-chinned, Ruby-throated, and Rufous hummingbirds in winter. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are the natives in this state, and they leave Alabama in early November. So, you should keep your feeders out until mid-November.
#Alaska: Rufous hummingbirds are the main natives in Alaska, departing the state in late August. However, Anna’s and Costa’s hummingbirds are rarely seen there. If you want to feed these hummingbirds, you’ll need to leave your feeders until mid-September so that the last visitor is not deprived of nectar from your backyard.
#Arizona: Arizona is the home of many hummingbird species, especially the Southern and Southeastern parts of the state. Lucifer, Black-chinned, and Calliope hummingbirds migrate through Arizona between early and late October. So, take down your feeders in early to mid-November.
Besides that, Broad-tailed, Rufous, and Violet-crowned hummingbirds depart Arizona within November. On top of that, there are several year-round residents, including Rivoli’s, Anna’s, Costa’s, Blue-throated, and Broad-billed, in this state. If you’re living in Arizona, you can keep your feeders out throughout the year.
#Arkansas: Ruby-throated hummingbirds typically live in Arkansas, and they migrate to warmer regions in mid to late November. There are also seven rare hummingbird species there. If you don’t see any of them in the next 15 days, take your feeders down in early December.
#California: Allen’s and Calliope Hummingbirds depart California in early August and mid-August, respectively. However, Black-chinned and Rufous hummingbirds depart California between mid to late September. So, keep your feeders out until mid-October.
In addition, there are some year-round residents, including Anna’s and Costa’s hummingbirds in California. For them, you have to put out your feeders throughout the year, mainly by keeping your feeders from freezing.
#Colorado: Rufous and Calliope hummingbirds migrate through Colorado between July and September. On the other hand, Black-chinned and Broad-tailed hummingbirds depart Colorado between early to mid-October. So, you should take down your feeders in early November.
#Connecticut: In Connecticut, Ruby-throated and Rufous are mostly-seen hummingbirds that depart Connecticut between early to mid-October. If you live in Connecticut, you should leave your feeders hanged until early November to offer nectar to the last visitor.
#Delaware: People have reported that there are plenty of Ruby-throated hummingbirds found in Delaware. They usually depart the state in mid to late October. If you want to provide them with nectar before their migration, make sure your feeders are out until mid-November.
#Florida: In Florida, Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the natives that stay there all year round, especially in spring and fall. Some other hummingbirds, like Black-chinned and Rufous, can be found in the state. If you want to offer nectar to the hummingbirds of Florida, you should keep your feeders year-round.
#Georgia: Most Ruby-throated and Rufous hummingbirds depart Georgia by November. On the contrary, Black-chinned and Calliope hummingbirds are seen there in winter. Therefore, you should leave your feeders out throughout the year unless you see any hummingbird by mid-December.
#Hawaii: You may know that Hawaii doesn’t allow any hummingbird to live. However, some colorful tropical birds are available out there that drink nectar, but only from native flowers. So, you need not hang your feeders in Hawaii.
#Idaho: In Idaho, Broad-tailed and Calliope hummingbirds depart Idaho in late September. In contrast, Rufous and Black-chinned hummingbirds migrate somewhere between early to mid-October. To take your feeders down, you should wait until early November.
#Illinois: Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are probably the only breeding species in Illinois. They typically depart the state in late October. So, if you live in Illinois and want to know the best time to stop feeding hummingbirds, you should take them down in mid-November.
#Indiana: Like Illinois, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds live in Indiana for a long time. They start migrating to the south in the late mid-fall, which means the last week of October. If you’re one of the birdwatchers living in Indiana, you can take your feeders down in mid-November, especially when you don’t see any of them.
#Iowa: In Iowa, you may find Ruby-throated hummingbirds that depart the state at the end of October. If you don’t see any hummingbirds after a couple of weeks of their migration, you can take your feeders into your house.
#Kansas: When it comes to leaving Kansas, Ruby-throated hummingbirds depart the state in late October, but Rufous hummingbirds migrate somewhere from July to September. If you want to stop feeding hummingbirds, the best time of taking your feeders down is early November.
#Kentucky: Like Kansas, there are Ruby-throated and Rufous hummingbirds found in Kentucky. They usually depart the state in late November. So, the ideal period of taking your feeders down in Kentucky is mid-December.
#Louisiana: Most Ruby-throated hummingbirds depart Louisiana by November, but some of them may overwinter there. Similarly, Black-chinned, Broad-tailed, Rufous, Calliope, and Buff-bellied hummingbirds also overwinter in Louisiana. That’s why you should keep your feeders out throughout the year.
#Maine: Probably, only Ruby-throated hummingbirds are available in Maine. Although they come back from their migration in mid-April, they again start migrating somewhere for the next season in late October. And that’s why your feeders should be out until early November.
#Maryland: In Maryland, you can mostly see Ruby-throated and Rufous Hummingbirds. Ruby-throated hummingbirds depart Maryland by late October, while Rufous hummingbirds often overwinter in the state. Hence, you can take your feeders down in early November if you don’t notice any hummingbird in your backyard.
#Massachusetts: In Massachusetts, birders mostly see Ruby-throated hummingbirds. They depart the state in late November. If you don’t see any of them in the next 15 days, you can take your feeders down without any hassle.
#Michigan: In Michigan, Ruby-throated hummingbirds start migrating to warmer regions in mid-October. That’s why you have to wait for the next couple of weeks, until early November, to take your feeders in your house.
#Minnesota: The actual time of Ruby-throated hummingbird migration in Minnesota is late October. If you want to stop feeding them, you should keep your feeders out until mid-November, especially when you still don’t see any hummingbird in your backyard.
#Mississippi: Ruby-throated Hummingbirds usually depart Mississippi in late December, but some of them overwinter there. Some other overwintering hummingbirds, including Buff-bellied, Calliope, and Rufous, are also found in the state. If you’re a bird lover living in Mississippi, you should keep your feeders out throughout the year.
#Missouri: In Missouri, you can see several species of hummingbirds, but Ruby-throated ones are most of them. They usually depart the state in late November. That’s why the ideal time of taking your feeders down is in mid-December.
#Montana: Broad-tailed and Ruby-throated hummingbirds start migrating to warmer regions in mid-September, while Black-chinned, Rufous, and Calliope hummingbirds depart Montana in late September. So, the ideal time of taking your feeders down is in mid-October.
#Nebraska: In Nebraska, Ruby-throated is probably the only hummingbird that migrates to the south between early to late October. If you’re a resident in Nebraska, you should keep your feeders out until mid-November so that the last visitor is not deprived of nectar from your backyard.
#Nevada: Black-chinned, Broad-tailed, and Calliope hummingbirds depart Nevada between late September and late October. Besides that, Rufous hummingbirds usually migrate through Nevada in fall in mid-October. So, you should keep your feeders out until mid-November.
However, if you live in southern or western Nevada, you should keep your feeders out throughout the year because Anna’s and Costa’s hummingbirds live in the regions all year round.
#New Hampshire: Like many states, New Hampshire is one of the homes of Ruby-throated hummingbirds. Although they come back from migration in New Hampshire in mid-April, they again start migrating to the south in mid-October. So, early November is the right time to stop feeding them.
#New Jersey: New Jersey is the state of many Ruby-throated hummingbirds that usually depart in early November. If you want to stop feeding them, you have to wait until late November for the final migrant.
#New Mexico: Black-chinned, broad-tailed, Rufous, and Calliope hummingbirds depart New Mexico in between early to late November. If you want to stop feeding these hummingbirds, you should keep your feeders out until early December.
On the contrary, Anna’s and some Rufous and Broad-tailed hummingbirds overwinter in New Mexico. If you want to offer nectar to these hummingbirds, you have to keep your feeders out throughout the year.
#New York: In New York, there are several hummingbirds out there, but Ruby-throated is the mostly-found hummingbirds in the state. They depart New York for migration in mid-November. To stop feeding those hummers by taking your feeders down, you have to wait until early December.
#North Carolina: Most Ruby-throated hummingbirds depart North Carolina in mid-November, but some of them overwinter in the state. The best time of taking your feeders down is in early December if you don’t see any of them in your backyard.
#North Dakota: Ruby-throated hummingbirds depart North Dakota in early October. So, mid-October is the best time for taking your feeders down. However, you have to ensure that there is no chance of any hummingbird arrival in your backyard.
#Ohio: Although there are some rare hummingbirds found in Ohio, Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the regular ones that depart the state in November. So, when to take down your feeders in Ohio? In our opinion, you should keep your feeders out until early December.
#Oklahoma: Ruby-throated, Black-chinned, and Rufous hummingbirds depart Oklahoma in late October. If you don’t want to feed these hummingbirds, you should leave your feeders out until mid-November.
#Oregon: Allen’s Hummingbirds depart Oregon in early August, while Black-chinned, Calliope, and Rufous hummingbirds depart Oregon in mid-October. However, Anna’s Hummingbirds live in Oregon throughout the year, especially in western Oregon. So, you should not take your feeders down.
#Pennsylvania: Ruby-throated hummingbirds depart Pennsylvania in November, but some of them overwinter in the state. If you stay in Pennsylvania, you shouldn’t take your feeders down.
#Rhode Island: Ruby-throated hummingbirds depart Rhode Island in early October. That’s why you should keep your feeders out until mid-October.
#South Carolina: Most Ruby-throated hummingbirds depart South Carolina in mid-November, but some of them overwinter in the state. Similarly, some Rufous hummingbirds are found there all year round. However, the best time to stop feeding them is in early December.
#South Dakota: Ruby-throated, Rufous, and Broad-tailed hummingbirds depart South Dakota in between late August to mid-October. If you don’t see any of them in early November, you can take your feeders out.
#Tennessee: Most Ruby-throated hummingbirds depart Tennessee in mid-November, but some other hummingbirds overwinter there. If you don’t see any hummingbird until early December, you can take your feeders down.
#Texas: Most Ruby-throated, Black-chinned, and Lucifer hummingbirds depart Texas between mid-November to mid-December, but some of them overwinter in coastal Texas. Besides that, Broad-tailed hummingbirds also overwinter in coastal areas of Texas.
So, when to take down your feeders in Texas? If you live around the coastal area, you should keep your feeders throughout the year. However, if you’re resident in other regions of Texas, you should take your feeders down in early January.
#Utah: Black-chinned, Broad-tailed, Rufous, and Calliope hummingbirds depart Utah in between early October to mid-November. Besides, Anna’s and Costa’s hummingbirds stay in Southwestern Utah all year round. Considering all the aspects, you should keep your feeders out until early December.
#Vermont: Ruby-throated hummingbirds depart Vermont in late October. If you don’t see any of them after a couple of weeks, you can take your feeders down without any hassle.
#Virginia: Ruby-throated hummingbirds depart Virginia in early December. That’s why late December is the right time to take your feeders down. You have to ensure that there is no chance of any hummingbird arrival in your backyard.
#Washington: Black-chinned, Rufous, and Calliope hummingbirds depart Washington in between late September to late October. Besides that, Anna’s hummingbirds live in the state all year round, especially in western Washington.
If you live in the west part of Washington, you should keep your feeders all year round. However, if you’re a resident in the other parts of Washington, you can take your feeders down in mid-November.
#West Virginia: Ruby-throated hummingbirds depart West Virginia in late October, while Rufous hummingbirds start migrating to warmer regions in mid-January. So, you should keep your feeders until mid-November or all year round.
#Wisconsin: Like most states, Wisconsin mostly allows Ruby-throated hummingbirds to live in the state. These hummingbirds depart Wisconsin in late November. To take your feeders down, you have to wait a couple of weeks to ensure that you don’t see any of them around your house.
#Wyoming: Black-chinned, Broad-tailed, Rufous, and Calliope hummingbirds depart Wyoming between mid to late September. That’s why you should keep your feeders out until mid-October.
Do You Need to Remove Hummingbird Feeders Temporarily?
Although hummingbirds keep visiting your feeders in the middle of summer every few minutes, you’ll need to remove your feeders temporarily for several reasons, including cleaning and refilling your feeders with nectar and keeping the nectar from getting frozen. Here we’re going to share with you some of the reasons to remove your feeders temporarily.
Cleaning and Refilling the Feeders with Nectar
Whenever you’re going to refill your feeders with a new batch of nectar, you should remove the spoiled nectar from the feeders and clean them thoroughly. Make sure you’re cleaning your feeders every few days, especially when you see any mold inside them.
Keeping the Feeders Away from Insects
Many insects, such as bees, ants, wasps, praying mantises, and more, love to eat hummingbird nectar. If too many insects monopolize your feeders, you’ll need to remove them temporarily for a few days. Insects may not return to the feeders once they’re discouraged.
Securing the Feeders from Predators
Predators, like bats, cats, raccoons, and squirrels, may try to drink nectar from your feeders. If you remove your feeders temporarily for a week or a couple of weeks, they’ll be discouraged and go for other food sources.
Staying the Feeders Safe from Storms
Summer thunderstorms can leak and damage them by making them fall. If you want to protect your feeders from the storms, you may need to remove your feeders temporarily to a protected area. Once the storm stops, return the feeders to their previous position.
Keeping Nectar from Freezing
Due to the unexpected frosts in late fall or early spring, hummingbird nectar can get frozen. To keep your feeder nectar from freezing, you can remove your feeders to keep them indoors overnight. In this way, the nectar remains liquid and becomes perfect for the next morning.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Why do hummingbirds stop coming to feeders?
Your neighbors may offer hummingbirds fresh flowers to drink natural nectar. That’s why they can stop coming to your feeders. If you want to attract them again, you should plant some flower trees to offer hummingbirds natural food sources.
2. When should I put out my hummingbird feeder?
Depending on the hummingbird species, you should put your feeders out between early March to late May. If you’re a resident of a coastal area in the United States, you can keep your feeders out all year round.
3. Do hummingbirds recognize humans?
Since hummingbirds have sharp memories, they can easily recognize and remember you if they see you while having nectar in your backyard. So, you shouldn’t keep your feeders empty. Otherwise, they can move somewhere else to find a new food source.
No hummingbird feeders can stop hummingbirds from migrating. They migrate not only for nectar shortage, but their hormones trigger them to head to warmer regions before winter. In principle, they become impatient for migration as soon as the endocrine system surge them.
However, some non-migratory hummingbird species are available in North America. They usually don’t migrate due to the unique endocrine system. If you feed both migratory and non-migratory hummingbirds, you’ll help them on their journey and survival in winter.
So, when not to feed hummingbirds? For migratory hummingbirds, you can stop feeding them in between September to November, depending on the species. If you want to offer nectar to non-migratory hummingbirds, you have to keep your feeders out all year round.
This has been very helpful! I love humming birds but I know very little about them! I feed them in my yard, and talk to them I even have a couple named! I hate to see them leave but at the same time I know they have to leave to stay warm and I wouldn’t want them cold or freezing! Thank you for your information on humming birds I feel so much smarter now and I feel like I can better care for them! Thanks again!
You are most welcome! By the way, visit our website regularly and read articles on hummingbirds.
Taking down feeders mid November in Oregon is not good advise. Anna’s hummingbirds stay year round and need the extra nectar offered in the winter. We see about 5 birds at a time at our multiple feeders in the summer and in the winter we usually see five feeders full at once with Anna’s. This is dozens of birds. Friends who did not replace frozen feeders during our ice storm last year found dead hummers in their yard. Ours thrived.
Thanks for the information.