When Do Hummingbirds Migrate?

hummingbirds-migrate Credit: Matt MacGillivray/Flickr/CC-BY-2.0

Most hummingbirds in America and Canada spend the winter in Mexico or South America before migrating to their breeding ground in southern U.S. as early as February or the first week of March. Some South American hummingbird species also travel north to the tropics during the southern winter.

Hummingbirds that live in the tropics very seldom migrate because there are few shortages and cold winters to avoid. Some species in Alaska, such as the Rufous hummingbird, travel a minimum of 2,700 miles from its nesting range on the northern edge of Alaska to its wintering range in the northern edge of Mexico. Other hummingbirds that are not physically able to migrate can overwinter in a specific place, especially if there are still hummingbird feeders around.

Although hummingbirds eat nectar, they are also insectivorous and feed on insects to obtain nutrients, such as protein and certain vitamins and minerals. This is one reason why some species of hummingbirds migrate during the winter, as insects are no longer readily available in parts of North America. Hummingbirds are attracted to red, orange and bright pink flowers.