Still Migrating South

October 26, 2023 by Nancy Sheehan, Program Coordinator

Hummingbird fall migration is slowing but not done yet. If you're still observing hummingbird activity, keep reporting to Journey North!

A surprise visit by a Rufous hummingbird. Photo: Ellen in Waunakee, WI (10/18/2023)

Late Travelers Passing Through

As November approaches and temperatures continue to drop, hummingbirds are making the last push to complete their journeys south.  

Sightings of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are dwindling in the Upper Midwest.

Mary Lou in Pittsburg, KS: “Not a great photo! On the 13th and 14th I had three hummingbirds in my south facing front yard hiding down in the black and blue salvia and rose of sharon trying to keep warm, and using these feeders! By Sunday, the 15th I only saw one all day. It was small. I will guess immature male. It was a gloomy gray windy day and very chilly. I was not home Monday from early a.m. til late at night. Today is Tuesday October 17th. I have not seen a hummingbird but will be watchful til sunset. I will keep fresh food out til I haven’t seen a hummingbird for a couple weeks. That would be November.” (10/15/2023)

Cheryl in Zionsville, IN: ”…rubythroat on the black-blue salvia. My first sighting in 13 days. It’s either a juvenile male or female. Very plump. I’m not excited to see it. Its chances of making it south aren’t good this late in the year. Hope it’s just stopping for nectar. The weather is good for the next two or three days, so hope that helps her or him. Lots of gnats swarming around too, so that will feed it.” (10/24/2023)

Migratory activity slowing along the Gulf Coast with weather patterns seeming to impact nectaring behavior.

Beverly in Houston, TX: “Rufous still with us in light showers as of 7:20 a.m. today perched in the purple gurantica. There was way too much wind for it to nectar in afternoon yesterday. Doesn’t seem to nectar or go to any of 3 feeders out in a hurry like they do before leaving. Just hangs out in maple tree during daytime.” (10/26/2023)

How much longer will they remain in your area? Keep a lookout.

Out West

Fewer and fewer hummingbirds are being observed in the Pacific Northwest.

Kathleen in Coldstream, BC: “All hummingbirds left as they usually do third week August, except this one who still comes to the feeder daily. Never had a hummingbird into October before.” (10/12/2023)

Anna’s and Rufous Hummingbirds are stopping by feeders in New Mexico.

Mary in Alamogordo, NM: “I am happy to say I positively have 2 hummingbirds. I was able to photograph the Anna’s (not an adult) but I also have an adult male Rufous. They both are very elusive. I spend a lot of time outside and sometimes I don’t see them but today I saw them both from inside the house. Alamogordo, New Mexico.” (10/25/2023)

Keep Reporting and Keep Feeders Up

If you’re still observing hummingbird activity, keep reporting to Journey North. And remember to keep your feeders up at least a couple of weeks after your last sighting. As Journey North volunteer observers can attest, it’s important to keep feeders up even after your last sighting – stragglers may yet stop by!