About 340 species of hummingbirds live throughout North and South America. Most of them live in the tropics, while others live in places with cold winters. Some hummingbirds annually migrate away to escape the low temperatures.
Hummingbird males usually migrate earlier than females. In the spring, they arrive early to reserve good breeding areas. In the fall, they can leave early because they don’t have to take care of their offspring.
If you have a hummingbird feeder, you can take it inside when the hummingbirds leave and put it back outside to welcome them when they arrive.
When to Take Hummingbird Feeder Inside
Some people say that leaving hummingbird feeders outside for too long could prevent them from migrating, causing the poor little birds to freeze to death when winter comes around.
This is not true. Hummingbirds will leave, regardless of whether food is available.
North Carolina Cooperative Extension says that hummingbirds begin migrating even when flowers and insects still abound. Hummingbirds can sense when days start becoming shorter and decide to leave.
In fact, leaving feeders outside in the fall could help hummingbirds. They could get the extra energy for the long journey from the sugar solution. According to Ohio State University Extension, ruby-throated hummingbirds increase their body weight by 50 percent before migration, storing energy as fat for the 500-mile flight.
In some places, hummingbirds don’t migrate. There have even been reports of hummingbirds visiting feeders in the middle of a snowstorm, so you can leave the feeders outside year round if you want to. In cold weather, warm the sugar solution to keep it from freezing.
If you want to take the feeders inside, do it when the hummingbirds stop coming. If you don’t see a single hummingbird in a period of one week, you can take the feeders down.
When to Hang Hummingbird Feeder Outside
If you take the feeders inside for the winter, place them outside again as soon as hummingbirds arrive in your area. The exact date depends on your location. In the southern areas of the USA, hummingbirds come as early as January or February each year. In northern areas, they arrive as late as April or May.
To attract the highest number of hummingbirds possible, put up the right type of hummingbird feeder in the best location in your yard. Keep it fresh by cleaning and refilling it every two to three days with a homemade sugar solution. Get rid of unwanted animals and insects that discourage hummingbirds from visiting. Grow plants that attract hummingbirds. When your feeder starts to seem crowded, make more feeders to keep them coming.