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When to Stop Feeding Hummingbirds (In Each State)

If you love hummingbirds and have nectar feeders in your yard, are probably aware that most species that spend spring and summer in the United States head south to Mexico or Central America for the winter. But when is the right time to stop putting nectar out for them, and will it affect their migration? In this article, we will go state by state and cover when to stop feeding hummingbirds, if at all.

When to stop feeding hummingbirds

As a general rule of thumb, it is advised to leave your hummingbird feeders out for two weeks after you see your last hummingbird. This will ensure that any stragglers or late migrants can still access food before making the trip down south for the winter. 

Hummingbirds will begin their migration based on environmental cues, like temperature, availability of flowers, and hours of daylight. So migration dates and patterns may change slightly from year to year. For example, if your state is having an unseasonably warm fall, this may delay migration and hummingbirds might leave a bit later than expected. 

It’s important to note that the dates we list below are based on estimates, so there might be some differences between what you read here and what you see in your yard. Consider this a guide to give you a general idea, and then observe and record what you see in your yard. It’s fun to note hummingbird arrival and departure each year, and if you keep records it can be interesting to see changes over time. 

Hummingbird feeding
Hummingbird feeding | Image by Zachary Crespin from Pixabay

If I leave my feeders out will it prevent hummingbirds from migrating?

Thankfully no, hummingbirds that migrate will do so whether you still have your feeders out or not. This is something researchers have kept an eye on and there is no evidence that having access to a feeder will prevent a hummingbird from heading south.

Migration is a strong, natural instinct and they know when it’s time to go, even if you are still feeding them. That being said, some hummingbirds are more tolerant to cold than others, and every year a few decide to stick around rather than make the long journey, especially in areas that have mild winters. If you find a hummingbird is continuing to visit your feeder in cold weather, check out our article on how you can help out hummingbirds that decide to stay for the winter

Here is a handy chart to give you a general idea of when to remove hummingbird feeders. Keep reading below for more information about your specific state. If you are interested in finding out when hummingbirds return to your state in the spring, we have a separate article with all those details.

State When to remove hummingbird feeders
Alabama Mid to Late October (leave out along coast)
Alaska Early to Mid August
Arizona End of October or leave out year round
Arkansas Late October/Early November or year-round in the south
California Leave out year round (or take stock in October/November)
Colorado Early-Mid October
Connecticut Late September/Early October
Delaware Late October
Florida Leave out year round (Southern FL) or until late October
Georgia Late October
Idaho End of September/ leave out year round (Boise)
Illinois End of September/Early October
Indiana End of September/Early October
Iowa Late September/ early October
Kansas Early/mid October
Kentucky Early/Mid October
Louisiana Mid/late October (leave out along coast)
Maine End of September
Maryland Early/mid October
Massachusetts End of September
Michigan Early/mid September
Minnesota Mid/late September
Mississippi Mid/late October (leave out along coast)
Missouri Early/mid October
Montana Mid September
Nebraska Mid to Late September
Nevada West & South: leave out all year, North & East: end of September
New Hampshire Late September
New Jersey Mid to Late October
New Mexico Mid/late November
New York Mid/late September (early Oct at the coast)
North Carolina Mid to Late October/year round along coast
North Dakota Mid to Late September
Ohio Mid to Late October
Oklahoma Late Sept – Early Oct (West) / End of Oct (East)
Oregon Mid September / leave out year round (Western Oregon)
Pennsylvania Mid/late October
Rhode Island Late September/early October
South Carolina Mid to Late October / leave out year round along coast
South Dakota Mid to Late September
Tennessee Mid to Late October
Texas Early November / leave out year round coast & south
Utah Early November
Vermont End of September
Virginia Mid to Late October
Washington Mid September / leave out year round (Western Washington)
West Virginia Early to Mid October
Wisconsin Early to Mid September
Wyoming Mid October

Alabama

Leave your hummingbird feeders up until at least October 15th in Alabama. Ruby-throated hummingbirds, the only species to breed in the state, begin to migrate south as early as the end of August, but most leave in early to mid October. While there have been at least 9 species recorded in Alabama, the ruby-throated hummingbird is the only populous, common species. 

However, if you happen to live along Alabama’s small strip of coastline, you may want to leave your feeders up even through the winter. Buff-bellied, black-chinned, and calliope hummingbirds have been noted to be expanding their winter grounds into the Gulf coast. 

 

Female anna's hummingbird
Female anna’s hummingbird | Image by Veronika Andrews from Pixabay

Alaska

Hummingbirds in Alaska start to head south in July, so it is best to leave your feeders up until early to mid August. The summer season is short in Alaska, with hummingbirds arriving in late April to early May, and only staying for about three months. This is the migration pattern for the rufous hummingbird, which according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, is the only commonly found species in southern Alaska.

However, the Anna’s hummingbird is also known to be occasionally spotted along the Gulf of Alaska during the late fall and winter. This species remains in the U.S. all year but doesn’t have a set migration pattern. Instead, individuals tend to wander during the non-breeding season.

Arizona

Arizona has a variety of hummingbird species, so leave your feeders out until the end of October and then see if you are still getting hummingbird activity. If so, you may want to leave feeders out year-round. 

At least 17 species have been recorded in Arizona, partly due to the warm weather and partly the proximity to Mexico and easy travel routes from Central America. In the warmest areas of Arizona, some hummingbirds remain year-round. The main year-round species in Arizona are the Anna’s, Black-chinned and Costa’s hummingbirds.

But many hummingbirds do leave the state to go even further south, and this tends to happen in October.  If you live in southeastern Arizona you are more likely to be in the area where some hummers will stay for the winter, so keep those feeders out year-round unless you stop getting visitors.

Arkansas

In Arkansas, most of the hummingbirds will have left the state by mid-October, so to be safe leave feeders out until the end of October/early November. The ruby-throated hummingbird is known to be the only nesting species of hummingbird in Arkansas, but about 7 different species have been observed in the state.

Arkansas stays fairly warm late into the year, and is also along a popular migration route. In southern parts of Arkansas, some ruby-throated and rufous hummingbirds will hang out all winter. So if you continue to see them coming to your feeder through November, you’d be doing them a big favor by leaving your feeders out year-round. 

California

The Anna’s hummingbird, found throughout much of the state, stays in California year-round so we recommend leaving your feeders out for them all year. There are several hummingbird species commonly seen in California, and some of them head south for the winter.

So if you have been feeding several species, once October hits you may see a decrease in overall activity at your feeders. If you live in southern California, alongside the Anna’s you may also have Allen’s and Calliope hummingbirds that stay put over the winter months.  

Colorado

We recommend leaving your hummingbird feeders out until early October in Colorado and continuing for two weeks after you’ve seen your last visitor. The broad-tailed, calliope, black-chinned, and rufous are the most commonly seen hummingbirds in Colorado, and they are all migratory.

In general, hummingbirds will start leaving Colorado as early as the end of July, with most heading south between mid-August and mid-September, and the late travelers hanging on until October. 

Connecticut

Hummingbirds normally head south from Connecticut in early to mid-September, so we recommend you leave feeders out until the end of September or the start of October. The only species of hummingbird that spends summers breeding in Connecticut is the ruby-throated hummingbird.

After enjoying spring and summer in New England, they head to southern Mexico and Central America just as the season begins to change. If you live along the shore, you may want to leave feeders out just a little bit longer, as some seem to want to hang on here into early October. 

Female Ruby-throated hummingbird at our feeder
Female Ruby-throated hummingbird at our feeder | image: birdfeederhub.com

Delaware

Hummingbirds will begin leaving Delaware starting in September with most being gone by early to mid-October. But consider keeping your feeders out for the month of October to be sure. While a few uncommon species have been spotted in Delaware, ruby-throated hummingbirds are the main species found in this state. 

Florida

In northern Florida, you will probably want to bring your hummingbird feeders in by mid to late October, while in the southern part of the state, you may want to leave them out year-round. If you live in the far eastern portion of the panhandle and are interested in seeing if you can spot some of the rare vagrant species, you may also want to leave your feeders out year-round.  

Florida is unique because different parts of the state will experience very different weather and temperatures, which can influence when (or if) hummingbirds migrate. For those hummingbirds migrating out of the state, they will usually leave around mid to late October. However, there are hummingbirds that choose to spend the winter in Florida as well.

It is fairly common to see ruby-throated hummingbirds in Florida during the winter, especially in the southern half of the state. There are also some western species or tropical species, such as the rufous, buff-bellied, black-chinned and Allen’s, that have been known to visit Florida during the winter months. This is most common in the south or in the panhandle. 

Georgia

Ruby-throated hummingbirds begin heading south out of Georgia at the end of September, with most leaving by mid to late October. Therefore in Georgia, we recommend leaving your feeders out until the end of October. While there are 11 different species of hummingbirds that have been spotted in the state, the Ruby-throated hummingbird is the only common one, and the only species that migrates to and from Georgia to breed.

Idaho

Most hummingbirds in Idaho leave the state and start their journey south from late August to mid-September, so leave your feeders up through the end of September. The rufous, calliope, black-chinned and broad-tailed hummingbirds are the most common species you will encounter in Idaho.

However, in parts of western Idaho such as Boise and Moscow, Anna’s hummingbird has been known to spend the winter. They don’t show up in large numbers and it is still fairly uncommon, but if you live in those towns it might be fun to leave a feeder up all winter to see if you can attract one!  

Illinois

Hummingbirds typically leave Illinois in mid-September, so leave those feeders out until the end of September/early October. The only common hummingbird in Illinois is the ruby-throated hummingbird, although a few other species have been spotted over the years. These tiny birds will be well on their way before that icy winter wind blows in, heading over the Gulf or along the Texas coast on their way to Mexico. 

Indiana

The majority of hummingbirds will leave Indiana in early to mid-September, so leave your feeders out until the end of the month. In Indiana, only the ruby-throated hummingbird is considered common

The rufous hummingbird is sometimes spotted in Indiana, especially during November and December. They are few and far between though, so don’t worry about leaving feeders out for them unless you want to take a chance and see if you can catch a rare sighting of this winter vagrant.    

Iowa

Hummingbirds in Iowa will begin to head south just as the weather begins to change in early September. However, if warm weather persists, they may be seen as late as early October. For this reason, it may be a good idea to keep feeders out until late September or early October. 

Kansas

In Kansas, hummingbirds begin to depart in September and may be sighted into October, so it is a good idea to leave your feeders up until early to mid-October. The ruby-throated hummingbird is really the only commonly encountered species in Kansas, however, there are an additional seven species that have been occasionally recorded. 

Kentucky

The majority of hummingbirds leave Kentucky in September, although some can persist into October, especially during warm weather. Therefore early to mid-October is the best time to take feeders down.

The most common hummingbird in the bluegrass state is the ruby-throated hummingbird, like many other states in the eastern half of the country. However, if you’re very lucky, you might see a rufous hummingbird that has gotten sidetracked during migration. 

Buff-bellied hummingbird
Buff-bellied hummingbird | Deposit photos

Louisiana

Typically most ruby-throated hummingbird migration takes place between September and early October in Louisiana, so leave your feeders up until mid to late October. The ruby-throated is still the most common species in the state by far. However, if you live in far southern Louisiana along the Gulf Coast, you may want to leave your feeders up all year.

Due to its warmer weather and location, several species of hummingbirds visit the coast during the winter months. The buff-bellied, black-chinned, and calliope hummingbirds are all typical winter visitors, and their numbers seem to be slowly increasing. Some lucky bird watchers even get to see rare tropical species that have wandered of course.   

Maine

Many hummingbirds leave Maine in August, with the last batch heading south in early to mid-September. Therefore you’ll want to leave your hummingbird feeders out until the end of September in Maine. Being the most northern state on the East Coast, the northern areas of Maine can start getting pretty chilly by early fall.

If you live in northern Maine you may notice most of the hummingbirds have disappeared by the end of August. The temperature tends to be warmer longer into fall in the southern part of the state, and you’ll likely continue to see hummingbirds there into early September. 

Maryland

In Maryland, most hummingbirds leave in mid to late September, with the last group staying until mid-October. Leave your feeders out until early to mid-October, and continue for two weeks after you’ve seen your last hummingbird.

Waiting until mid-October can help the last group of hummingbirds still making their way south by giving them that last-minute nectar to fuel up. Like other east coast states, the most common species in Maryland is the ruby-throated hummingbird, however, there are five other species that you may rarely encounter.

Massachusetts

Hummingbirds normally leave Massachusetts and head south in early to mid-September, so we recommend you leave feeders out until the very end of September. The only species of hummingbird that spends summers breeding in Massachusetts is the ruby-throated hummingbird. Some stragglers may persist into early October, especially if the weather has been unseasonably warm.

Michigan

Hummingbirds will start their journey south starting in late summer or early fall, making early to mid-September a good time to remove your feeders in Michigan. The only commonly observed and native hummingbird to the Great Lake state is the Ruby-throated hummingbird. However, a few lucky birdwatchers have spotted rarer migrant species such as the Mexican Violeteater

Minnesota

Male hummingbirds will begin to depart Minnesota first, starting in late summer and females will follow into the fall. By mid-September, most should be gone, so you can leave your feeders out until mid to late September to be safe. Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the most common visitors to hummingbird feeders in Minnesota, however, birdwatchers may be lucky and spot a rufous or other rare visitor to the state.

Mississippi

Ruby-throated hummingbird migration takes place between late September and mid October in Mississippi, so leave your feeders up until mid to late October. However, if you happen to live along Mississippi’s small strip of coastline, you may want to leave your feeders up even through the winter.

While the ruby-throated hummingbird is still the most common species in the state, several other species have been known to visit the coast during the winter months. The buff-bellied, black-chinned, and calliope hummingbirds especially have been noted to be expanding their winter grounds into the Gulf coast. 

Missouri

In Missouri, hummingbirds begin to depart in September with the last hanging on into October, so you probably shouldn’t take your feeders down until early to mid-October. The ruby-throated hummingbird is the only commonly encountered species in Missouri, however, there are at least three other species that have been occasionally recorded in the state

Montana

Hummingbirds will begin to leave Montana in August, and the majority will be gone by early September. We recommend taking your hummingbird feeders down in mid-September. Despite being one of the northern states, Montana is known to host a few different species such as the black-chinned, calliope and rufous hummingbirds. 

Broad-tailed hummingbird on it’s feeder
Broad-tailed hummingbird on it’s feeder | image by Larry Lamsa via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Nebraska

Most hummingbirds will have left or traveled through Nebraska by the start of September, so take feeders down in mid to late September. If you’re in the far eastern portion of the state, the ruby-throated hummers that have spent the summer will head south. If you live in far western portions of the state, late summer is usually the best time for you to see hummingbirds.

While they don’t stop in Nebraska to breed, rufous, calliope, and broad tailed hummingbirds may pass through along the western border as they head south. So if you put feeders out near the end of July and take them down in mid to late September, you may be able to attract some of these migrants and help them fuel up as they pass through.  

Nevada

If you live in western or southern Nevada (think Reno and Las Vegas), leave those hummingbird feeders out all year. For folks in central or northeastern Nevada, you can take your feeders down at the end of September.  

Most of Nevada’s population lives around Reno and Las Vegas, and these two areas are home to Anna’s hummingbirds year-round. Especially in the southern tip of Nevada, you may get a variety of other species that decide to either stay for the winter or wanderers that come just for the winter months.

However, most of Nevada’s other hummingbird species like the black-chinned and broad-tailed hummingbirds, will head out of the state and winter elsewhere.

New Hampshire

In New Hampshire, you can start taking your hummingbird feeders down at the end of September. At this point, most of the the Ruby-throated hummingbirds, which are the only breeding hummingbirds in the state, have left. There may be a few stragglers into early October if it’s been unseasonably warm. New Hampshire doesn’t get many visits from other hummingbird species, but a few interesting migrants have been seen over the years.   

New Jersey

Most hummingbirds have left New Jersey by late September / early October, so take those feeders down in mid to late October. As with all the east coast states, the ruby-throated hummingbird is the most populous species here by far, and their fall departure is what you want to base your feeder schedule on. However, there are a few other species that have been occasionally spotted in New Jersey. 

New Mexico

You may encounter hummingbirds as late as November, so leave your feeders up until at least mid to late November in New Mexico. If you happen to live along the southern border, you may want to just leave them up all winter and see if you can attract some of the rarer species that sometimes come up from Mexico during the non-breeding season.

New Mexico enjoys quite a bit of hummingbird diversity, with as many as 16 different species that have been recorded here. This state is also one of the only U.S. states that regularly gets visits from the brightly colored Rivoli’s hummingbird.

New York

In New York, you can take your hummingbird feeders down in mid to late September, and maybe wait until mid-October down by the coast. Northern parts of the state will probably see their ruby-throats leave closer to early to mid September while further south they may linger a bit longer into early October. As mid September approaches, keep a close eye on your feeder and employ the two week rule – take feeders down two weeks after seeing your last hummingbird.  

North Carolina

Ruby-throated hummingbirds leave North Carolina mainly in September, with the last wave leaving in early to mid October, so leave your feeders out until mid to late October . The exception to this would be if you live along the coast.

A small population of ruby-throated hummingbirds has been known to stick around during the winter along this region of the Atlantic coast. So if you live near the shore you might be able to feed hummingbirds all year long! While there are no other commonly seen species in North Carolina, there have been some sightings of other species over the years that wander into the state during the winter months. 

North Dakota

The ruby-throated hummingbird is the only species commonly seen in North Dakota, and most will have left the state by the end of September. So you can typically take down your hummingbirds feeders in North Dakota in mid to late September.

Eastern North Dakota is at the far end of this species range, so there tends to be much fewer hummingbirds in western parts of the state even during the summer. Occasionally, the rufous hummingbird or calliope hummingbird are recorded in North Dakota, but infrequently.  

Ohio

Researchers from Ohio State University recommend leaving your hummingbird feeders up through mid to late October. As with most states in the east, the ruby-throated hummingbird is the only common species. However, Ohio has recorded at least four other atypical species visit, such as the rufous hummingbird.

Oklahoma

Taking down hummingbird feeders in Oklahoma depends on where in the state you live. In western Oklahoma where the black-chinned hummingbird is found, feeders can come down from late September to early October. In eastern Oklahoma where the ruby-throated hummingbird is the dominant species, leave feeders out until the end of October. 

Oregon

If you live in western Oregon, we recommend you leave your hummingbirds feeders out all year. Otherwise, you can take your feeders down in mid September for central and eastern Oregon. This is because one of Oregon’s hummingbird species, the Anna’s hummingbird, will remain along the coast year-round. However other species seen in the state, such as the black-chinned, calliope and rufous hummingbirds, will begin to leave Oregon in August and most will be gone by early September. 

Rufous Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird | Image by Daniel Roberts from Pixabay

Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, most hummingbirds will exit the state during September with some hanging on into early October. Therefore take your feeders down in mid to late October. While up to six different hummingbird species have been recorded in Pennsylvania, only the ruby-throated hummingbird is common. The annual migration of this species is what you should use to decide your nectar feeding schedule. 

Rhode Island

Hummingbirds normally head south from Rhode Island in early to mid-September, so we recommend you leave feeders out until the end of September or the start of October. The only species of hummingbird that spends summers breeding in Rhode Island is the ruby-throated hummingbird. Some may linger a bit longer along the coast, but eventually undertake their long migration south before the first hint of snow.

South Carolina

In South Carolina, ruby-throated hummingbirds leave mainly in September or early October, so leave your feeders out until mid to late October. Unless you happen to live along the coast, where a small population has been known to overwinter. So, if you live near the shore you can probably feed hummingbirds all year long!

While there are no other commonly seen species in South Carolina, there have been some sightings of other species over the years that wander into the state during the winter months. 

South Dakota

Typically, all but the stragglers have left by early September, so keep your hummingbird feeders up until mid to late September in South Dakota. South Dakota falls into a little bit of a “dead zone” for hummingbirds, but there are up to six different species that have been recorded in the state. Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the most common and are typically only seen in the eastern half of the state. 

Tennessee

In Tennessee, hummingbirds begin to depart in September with the last hanging on into mid October, so you probably shouldn’t take your feeders down until mid to late October. The ruby-throated hummingbird is the only commonly encountered species in Tennessee, however, there are several other species that have been occasionally recorded in the state.

How long some of the stragglers stay in Tennessee is partially influenced by temperatures, so if October is warm they may stick around a little longer. Keep an eye on your feeders and employ the “wait two weeks from seeing your last hummingbird” rule.  

Texas

In the northern half of Texas you can take hummingbird feeders down by early November, however along the Gulf coast or in far southern parts of the state you may want to leave your feeders out all year. In Texas, there have been at least seventeen different hummingbird species recorded, although only about 8 of them can be seen reliably.

While most hummers migrate out of northern Texas by November, there are an increasing number that overwinter in the south, including Austin, San Antonio, Corpus Christi and Houston. So for those in the southern half of the state, by leaving feeders out all year you may get a chance to see some rare visitors during the winter months, especially along the Gulf. 

Utah

Whether one of the resident summer species or one of the many that pass through during fall migration, most hummingbirds will have left Utah by mid September. Therefore we recommending leaving feeders out in Utah until late September to early October. There are at least nine species of hummingbird that have passed through Utah. However only a few of them are considered common, like the black-chinned hummingbird and broad-tailed hummingbird.  

Vermont

In Vermont, you can start taking your hummingbird feeders down at the end of September. At this point, most of the the Ruby-throated hummingbirds, which are the only breeding hummingbirds in the state, have left. There may be a few stragglers into early October if it’s been unseasonably warm, especially in the southern part of the state. 

Black-chinned Hummingbird (male) at the feeder
Black-chinned Hummingbird (male) at the feeder | image by Bettina Arrigoni via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Virginia

Ruby-throated hummingbirds leave Virginia mainly in September and early October, so leave your feeders out until mid to late October. The exception to this would be if you live along the coast. A small population of ruby-throated hummingbirds has been known to stick around during the winter along this region of the Atlantic coast. So if you live along the shore you might be able to feed hummingbirds all year long! While there are no other commonly seen species in Virginia, there have been occasional sightings of several other species over the years. 

Washington

If you live in western Washington, we recommend you leave your hummingbirds feeders out all year. Otherwise, you can take your feeders down in mid September for eastern Washington. The Anna’s hummingbird remains in Washington all year, however they are much more common in the western half of the state. Other species seen in the state, such as the black-chinned, calliope and rufous hummingbirds, will be mostly gone from the eastern half of the state by early September. 

West Virginia

The majority of hummingbirds leave West Virginia in September, although some can persist into October, especially during warm weather. Therefore early to mid-October is the best time to take feeders down.

The most common hummingbird in West Virginia is the ruby-throated hummingbird, like many other states in the eastern half of the country. However, if you’re very lucky, you might see a rufous hummingbird that has gotten sidetracked during migration. 

Wisconsin

Hummingbirds will start their journey south starting in late summer or early fall, making early to mid-September a good time to remove your feeders in Wisconsin. Some may persist into October, so keep an eye on your feeders until you stop seeing hummingbirds. The only commonly observed hummingbird in Wisconsin is the ruby-throated hummingbird, however occasionally rufous hummingbirds are also seen. 

Wyoming

Residents of Wyoming can expect to take their hummingbird feeders down by early October. There are at least six species of hummingbirds that have been noted in Wyoming, although not all of them are common. Rufous hummingbirds travel between Mexico and Alaska, stopping in Wyoming along the way. This species is joined by the black-chinned hummingbird, calliope hummingbird, and broad-tailed hummingbirds as relatively common species in the state.

 

Sources:

“Hummingbirds of North America,” Sheri L. Williamson, Peterson Field Guides, 2001

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