Hummingbirds are among the smallest birds in the avian animal kingdom, known for their vibrant colors and unique flying abilities. While they are primarily found in the Americas, their living habits vary depending on the species and the time of year. In this article, we will explore where hummingbirds live year round, their migratory patterns, and specific locations where they can be found.
Are Hummingbirds Around All Year?
Different types of hummingbirds have different migratory habits. While a majority of hummingbirds migrate twice a year, some hummingbirds do not leave their territories at all. Certain species, such as Anna's hummingbird, the Bee hummingbird, and the Vervain hummingbird, are around all year as they have abundant food sources in their territories.
Most hummingbirds are migratory and migrate twice a year to regions based on food availability. The primary reason why hummingbirds need to migrate is to ensure they have enough food. Hummingbirds have an extremely high metabolism that is supplemented with sugar. In winter, when there are fewer sources of nectar, hummingbirds must migrate for their survival. However, some hummingbirds live in areas that have food available throughout the year, so they also stick around all year.
Where Do Hummingbirds Live in the Summer?
During the summer, hummingbirds live in North America, particularly in regions where food sources like insects and nectar are abundant. The warmer weather is also their breeding season, so most hummingbirds migrate to their breeding grounds as soon as the chill of winter passes. Spring and early summer are when they are the most active and can be sighted. At this time, most hummingbirds can be seen feeding or nesting. It is also a great time to put out bird feeders to attract hummingbirds to your backyard .
Where Do Hummingbirds Live in the Winter?
In the winter, hummingbirds live in Central and South America, Mexico, Florida, and other locations on the Pacific Coast. Hummingbirds that don't migrate stay in their territories in North America, such as California, which is home to the Anna's hummingbird.
Where Do Hummingbirds Migrate to in the Winter?
Most hummingbirds migrate to southern Mexico and Central America for the winter. However, it's common to witness them in milder climates of the Southeast and West Coast of the U.S. For example, the Rufous hummingbird travels as far as Mexico from Alaska every year .
Hummingbirds do not breed in the same places that they migrate to in winter. Breeding season is typically in spring, which is when hummingbirds fly back to North America and other locations where their breeding grounds are located.
Below are some places different hummingbird species migrate to in the winter:
- Ruby-throated Hummingbird: It is the most common hummingbird in eastern North America. They generally head to Southern Mexico and Central America. Some birds may also stay in the Southern U.S. along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts .
- Rufous Hummingbird: This species makes one of the longest migratory trips in the bird world for its size. They leave their breeding grounds in Washington State and Canada for their Mexican wintering grounds. They typically stay in areas with high elevation.
- Black-chinned Hummingbird: It is one of the most popular hummingbirds in the western U.S. After their breeding season, many will travel to west Mexico, while some will go along the Gulf Coast.
- Calliope Hummingbird: This species migrates along the Pacific Coast in the spring and back to Mexico for the winter along the Rocky Mountains.
- Patagona Gigas: Known as the largest of the hummingbirds, the giant hummingbird migrates to the more temperate regions of South America in the summer and to North America for the winter, towards more tropical climates .
- Broad-tailed Hummingbird: This species migrates early, both during spring and fall. The males migrate before the females, and the young migrate both times. They migrate north in March and south in August.
- Allen's Hummingbird: Also an early migrant covering medium-distance migrations, the Allen's Hummingbird goes to Mexico for the winter, while breeding happens along the coast. However, those that reside along the Channel Islands and breed there are non-migratory.
Do Hummingbirds Return to the Same Place Every Year?
Hummingbirds have a remarkable memory and tend to return to the same place every year after migration. They also follow the same routes they have taken before, as they seem to be creatures of habit and routine. Hummingbirds remember every flower and feeder they have visited, which contributes to their ability to navigate and find food sources .
For this reason, bird lovers who keep their bird feeders out all year round are encouraged to do so, as they would be tending to the birds who don't or aren't able to migrate. As long as the birds have enough food sources to survive the winter, they will remain in their territory.
In conclusion, hummingbirds live year round in different locations, with some species migrating while others stay in their territories. They migrate to ensure they have enough food, as their high metabolism requires a constant supply of nectar. Hummingbirds can be found in North America during the summer, and in Central and South America, Mexico, and other locations during the winter. By understanding their migratory patterns and preferred habitats, we can appreciate and support these fascinating creatures.