Pushing Southward
September 13, 2016 by Rita Welch

By mid-September, the hummingbirds you are seeing are likely migrants on the move, not your familiar summer residents.

Hummingbird in Minnesota
Terrie Hoefer   Minneapolis, MN    September 11, 2016

Passing Through
For over 6 weeks, an observer in Houston has been watching a hummingbird parade.

"We have had rubythroats coming through since the last week of July. Almost all of them male or sub-adult male. One that came August 30 is still manning 4 feeders," reported B.L. on September 10th.

You can probably recognize these temporary visitors when you see them by the way they explore your flowers and feeders so tentatively.

A Changing Mix
Southerners are now seeing fewer adult males. This signifies that the migration's leading edge — made up of adult males — has already moved through.

"Very hard to count! Estimating 50 hummingbirds. The mix is about 10% adult males, 40% sub-adults and 50% females," reported Kenneth from Willis, Texas on September 8th.

Leaving Soon?
Along the migration trail, observers continue to report hummingbird departures. There are clear signs that the females and juveniles, steadily nectaring at flowers and feeders, are getting ready to leave soon.

"After several weeks of continuous nectaring by many hummers, today is the first day without one observation," reported Lynn from Liverpool, NY on September 6th.

Keep your feeders up at least two weeks after you've seen your last hummer. Stragglers or young juveniles may need more time to grow before leaving.

Alexis Hayes   Markham, Ontario   September 3, 2016

Featured Resources

As ruby-throated hummingbirds migrate southward, how quickly will they travel?

Report Your Sightings

Report at least once a week while hummingbirds are present during this fall migration season.

Hummingbird fall sightings
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