Hummingbirds on the Move

October 5, 2023 by Team Journey North

As fall progresses, temperatures drop and daylight length shortens. Hummingbird migration is in full swing. Many adult males have already headed south, and more females and juveniles are following suit. Keep reporting your observations to Journey North!

Photo: Judith in Westminster, MD (10/05/2023)

Mostly Females and Juveniles in the North

Reports of hummingbirds in Southeastern Canada, the Northern U.S., and parts of the Western U.S. are dropping, but some females and juveniles remain. Individuals passing through or sticking it out in northern climates are eating voraciously to gain calories and trying to cope with colder temperatures. Only a few nectaring flowers remain. Keep your feeder up for the stragglers. Don’t be concerned: Your feeder will not cause hummingbirds to stay longer than they should.

Mike in St. Paul, MN: “Thought our hummingbird season was over as none were seen in the morning but around 12:15 two ruby-throats had a brief spat right in front of our deck doors. Then they spent most of the day perching with sporadic nectaring at the feeders. Towards the end of the evening there was quite a bit of nectaring at black-and-blue salvias and some at cigar flowers. The day was mostly cloudy with the high in the mid-60’s. The last hummer to quit this evening was at 7:01 p.m. central daylight extending quitting time to after 7:00 once again. A few more days with the little zippers would be icing on the cake.” (10/04/2023)

Jim in Morrisville, PA: “Had one female ruby-throat stop by today, mid-migration, for a couple of minutes and some sips of deliciousness - and then she was gone again!!” (10/05/2023)

Pat in South Salem, NY: “Last night (October 4) was the final appearance of any of our regular female Ruby Throats, at 5 PM. She attempted to land at the feeder, saw a yellow jacket, and simply turned and flew away. There has been no other activity for nearly 24 hours. I am making this my final observational post for Fall 2023. Blessings for safe flight for all our tiny visitors, and a fulfilling winter season for all observers who care for the residents of the natural world.” (10/05/2023)

Fluctuating Numbers Farther South

Migratory activity levels vary throughout the Southern U.S. Some Journey North volunteers are reporting a surge in sightings, while others are seeing numbers drop.

Leslie in Edgewood, NM: “Adult male Rufous still here guarding his feeder. There appears to be a female Rufous as well. He tolerates her and they sit in the same tree sometimes.” (09/30/2023)

Karlyn in Hunstville, TX: “What an exciting season. Had more hummingbirds than ever. Couldn’t keep feeders filled. But all good thing must come to an end. Went from 40-50 birds to 5. One lone male today and maybe 4-5 females. I’ve had the privilege of feeding Ruby-throats, Black Chins, and I believe one Rufous!!! I loved this journey!!” (09/30/2023)

Mary in Corpus Christi, TX: “Today, I didn’t see a hummingbird for the first time in a long time. This one was here yesterday. We’ve had one every day since I last reported…” (09/30/2023)

Sophie in Kernersville, NC: “Several more left this morning, so we’re now down to about 8 or so juveniles and/or adult females. We are maintaining 10 feeders and still have lots of hummingbird/pollinator flowers. Lots of bumble bees as well. Butterfly numbers have been diminishing the last couple of weeks, although we are seeing monarchs stopping by on their journey south as well. As so many report, hummingbirds really do say goodbye, thank you, see you next year! I have so many sweet ones who make it a point to come see me before they head out. Please keep your feeders going with fresh, clean solution. Lots of hummingbirds still making their way south.” (10/03/2023)

Journey North & The North Carolina Wildlife Federation

Journey North is partnering with the North Carolina Wildlife Federation to promote monitoring monarch and hummingbird migration along the Butterfly Highway, a statewide conservation restoration initiative that aims to restore native pollinator habitats to areas impacted by urbanization, land use change, and agriculture across the state.

Read more about the Butterfly Highway>>

Keep Reporting

Keep reporting until you see your last hummingbirds of the season. Migration is going by fast! Thanks for all you do on behalf of hummingbird tracking.