Some years hummingbirds aren’t as active as the year before, while other years they are more active than ever. Those years where they aren’t we don’t want to miss the few that show up at our feeders each day so that begs the question, what time of day do hummingbirds feed most frequently? Let’s look a bit closer at this question and see if we can figure out when hummingbirds feed most often each day.
What time of day do hummingbirds feed?
A hummingbird’s favorite time of day to visit a feeder and feed on your nectar is usually dawn and dusk, or early in the morning and late in the afternoon before sunset.
But even though those two times seem to be their favorite to eat, hummingbirds will be seen feeding at various times throughout the day.
If you have really active feeders you may even have constant hummer activity considering they eat twice their body weight (or more) every day!
I also polled 50 people on Facebook when they see the most hummingbird activity at their feeders and the large majority said mornings and late afternoons.
What time of year are hummingbirds most active?
Hummingbirds are naturally attracted to warmer climates and feed on flower nectar and small insects. Considering flowers bloom in the spring through summer and insects are more available during this time, hummingbirds prefer milder temperatures. They must consume about half their weight in pure sugar and 2-3 times their weight in total food each day due to their extremely high metabolisms. Hummingbirds are generally most active in the U.S. in March through September.
What time of year do hummingbirds migrate?
Hummingbird migration begins in the southern parts of the U.S. as early as late February and early March. They will start to migrate south to warmer climates in late August to September. You may start to see some species such as the Ruby Throated hummingbirds in the central U.S. closer to mid March to April. Here’s a post I did about when hummingbirds arrive in each U.S. state each year.
When to bring in the hummingbird feeders
Some hummers may stick around after the first cold snap so you may still see them buzzing around your feeders. Hummingbird nectar doesn’t freeze until it reaches about 27 degrees Fahrenheit but many people leave them out long after this. If you want to keep your feeders out when it’s freezing and keep the nectar from turning to slush or ice then here are a few tips:
- put out a heating lamp to keep the nectar warm (check out this great choice on Amazon)
- tape hand warmers to the bottom of the feeder
- wrap Christmas lights around your feeder
- wrap your feeder in tin foil and put a wool sock over your feeder for insulation
Check out a few of our favorite hummingbird feeders
Many people report leaving their feeders out all winter and use similar techniques to keep nectar available even in the cold. It is not totally uncommon to have some hummers stick around throughout the cold and keep feeding from your hummingbird feeder. If you see any hummers that appear to be dead or frozen don’t count them out right away, bring them in and try to warm them up before assuming they are dead. See more tips here for helping hummingbirds in the winter.
Check out these related articles:
- Want to know when to expect hummingbirds to start showing up in your state?
- Looking for an easy no-boil hummingbird nectar recipe?
- Why red dye may be harmful to hummingbirds
When to put your hummingbird feeder back out
As I mentioned above, some people leave their feeders out year round so that the hummers have a constant food supply. However if you have very harsh winters like in New England for instance, you are most likely not going to see many in the winter months. If you live in a region like this then put your feeder back out when it begins to warm up in March to April. As long as you can keep the nectar from freezing it’s not hurting anything by having your feeder out early. Use some of the tips above if you are concerned it may freeze and have hummingbirds feeding from it already.