When To Take Down Hummingbird Feeders

when to take down hummingbird feeders in winter

Want to know when to take down hummingbird feeders for the winter?

It’s a great question if you’re starting to see the hummingbirds migrate south.

In some states, you’ll only get to feed passing hummingbirds for a few months of the year.

Keep your feeders filled with this easy homemade hummingbird nectar to help them refuel on their long journey.

Knowing the right times to put your feeders out and when to take them in will help you see as many hummingbirds as possible.

When To Take Down Hummingbird Feeders – Why it’s important

1. Commitment

Hummingbird feeders can be a big commitment. You have to take them down clean and replenish the nectar every 3-5 days.

As the temperature begins to drop you may even need to take the feeders in so your feeders don’t get damaged by the cold weather.

The bottom line is this: If you know when to take your feeders down you won’t need to stick to a strict regime of cleaning and refilling.

2. Survival

It’s a myth that the hummingbirds won’t migrate if you don’t take down your feeders.

Keeping your feeder up long enough during the fall migration will help hummingbirds to survive.

These tiny birds are traveling thousands of miles and need that energy to fuel up for their travels.

If you take down your feeders too soon the hummingbirds won’t have that energy source to help them survive.

3. Stragglers

You may be tempted to take your feeders down if you’ve not had any hummers for a day or two.

The problem is that there may be a few stragglers who have migrated a little later than the others. These are often younger hummingbirds who are making their first trip south.

Sometimes these hummingbirds may show up a week or two after the last lot of hummingbirds.

This guide will help you learn when to take down your hummingbird feeders. We’ll talk about all the signs you should look out for before you do take them down

Sound good? Let’s start.

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When to take down hummingbird feeders

As a general rule of thumb, you should take hummingbird feeders down 2 weeks after you see any hummingbird feeding.

Now notice I haven’t given you a specific date.

That’s because the exact timing will be different for every bird watcher.

Let’s take a look at the few factors that you’ll have to consider.

What affects Hummingbird migration down south?

These factors will affect when you start to see the last of the hummingbird leave your area for winter. Once you see these signs you’ll know the migration period is coming to an end

Location

The state you live in will impact how quickly the hummingbirds will leave.

The more northern your state, the shorter that time the hummingbirds stay. You’ll start to take down your feeders early into Fall.

The more southern your state is, the later you’ll keep your feeder out. Some states may even have hummingbirds all year round (read more on the below).

As a general rule of thumb, the hummingbirds will leave by August-November.

Keep reading for a more accurate recommendation of when to expect hummingbird season in your state.

Climate

The change of season from summer to autumn will start to cause temperatures to fall. This is a good sign the hummingbirds will soon start to leave.

Hotter climates will see the hummingbirds stick around a bit longer than cooler climates.

If you live in a cooler state expect to see the hummingbirds migrate at the start of August.

Food availability

The change of season and temperature dips will impact how much food is available for hummingbirds in your area.

Insects are their main food source are these will begin to die off in the fall seasons. The same happens to the flowers, which are their natural source of nectar.

The hummingbirds move further and further south as these food sources decline in the north.

Remember your feeders won’t stop the hummingbirds from migrating. It’s a natural behavior for them to move on even if your feeders are still out.

Migration patterns

A hummingbird’s migration pattern is affected by hormones and decreasing sunlight levels.

Not all hummingbirds will have the same migration patterns. Some will start soon than others.

Males also tend to leave earlier than females. Then there the younger hummingbird who are making their first trips. They are the ones who usually leave last.

Hummingbirds are fairly predictable birds. That means if you know when they arrived and left your yard the year before, it will likely follow the same pattern each year.

I highly recommend keeping a yearly hummingbird journal. That way you can record your yearly sightings. This will help you to decide the best tie to take down your hummingbird feeders.

Year-Round Hummingbirds

Some states are lucky enough to have hummingbirds all year round.

That means you can keep your feeders up all year and won’t have to worry about when to take your hummingbird feeders down.

The most common states for year-round hummingbirds are:

  • Pacific coast
  • Southern Texas
  • Central Florida
  • Southern Florida
  • South-eastern Arizona

Other Southern states such as Louisiana and Mississippi may also have some winter hummingbirds. Keep your feeders up all year to help these hummers survive the winter months.

5 Other Reasons to take down hummingbird feeders

There will be times you have to down your hummingbird feeders even if just temporarily. This will every backyard bird watcher that feeds hummingbirds, even if you see them year-round.

Let’s take a look at these.

1. Cleaning

You’ll need to take your feeders down to clean and refill them every 3-5 days.

You may need to refill sooner than this if your feeders are popular. In this case, should ensure a thorough clean at least every third day.

Feeders need to be cleaned and inspected to prevent disease, keep nectar fresh and look for signs of damage or leaks.

A deep clean will take a while to allow time to wash and dry.

If you don’t want to disappoint your hungry hummers then having a second set of feeders ready to use as you clear the other is a good way to avoid this.

2. Pests

Nectar is the food of the gods…. and the bees and wasps and ants and bear…. Need I go on?

The point is that your sugary water won’t just attract the hummingbirds.

If you’re being overrun by insects or other wildlife at your feeders you may want to take them down.

Taking the feeder away remove any trail these animal have left to return to expect some easy food source.

You can also check out my guides for more ideas on how to stop insects at your feeders:

3. Weather

Even in the summer, the weather can be unpredictable.

With your hummingbird feeder being outdoors they will be exposed to all types of weather. Extreme including heavy rain, wind, thunderstorms, tornadoes, hail storms, dust storms, and hurricanes can all damage your feeders.

The feeder may get knocked off and break or even have objects crash into them.

Take your feeders down for the worst part. Try to hang them out as soon as the weather starts to get better.

4. Winter

If you’re one of the lucky few who get hummingbird over the winter, you’ll need to take extra care of your feeder.

Cold temperatures and winter storms can cause your feeder to freeze over. This usually happens overnight when temperatures drop to their lowest.

That means the hummingbirds will arrive at frozen nectar in the mornings.

To stop this from happening you can take your hummingbird feeder down overnight and then hang them first thing in the morning.

5. Vacation

If you like to take a summer vacation consider what you’ll do with your hummingbird feeders.

I recommend you take your feeders down if you’re gone for more than 5 days.

If you leave them up longer than this with cleaning and refilling, your nectar will spoil. Rancid nectar can harmful to your hummingbirds.

You may even return to your hummingbird feeder being invaded by insects.

If you can’t bear to take your feeders down, consider having friends or family come over to clean and refill for you.

You never know, you may even inspire them to put out hummingbird feeders in their own yard.

When to take down your hummingbird feeders by state

These are estimates of when you should start to see hummingbird leave your area over the winter until the spring. The rule of thumb is to take your feeders two weeks after you see the last hummingbird feeding. That way you’ll catch any younger hummingbirds who are trailing behind.

Take a look at what other hummingbird watchers are seeing in your state.

Alabama (AL)

Hummingbirds will start to leave Alabama the last week in August.

Take your Hummingbird feeders down the second week in November.

Alaska (AK)

Hummingbirds will start to leave Alaska the last week in July.

Take your Hummingbird feeders down the second week in October.

Arizona (AZ)

Hummingbirds stay year-round in south-eastern Arizona.

Migratory hummingbirds will start to leave Arizona the first week in September.

Put Your Hummingbird feeders away the last week in November. Keep them up all year if you live in southeast Arizona.

Arkansas (AR)

Hummingbirds will start to leave Arkansas the third week in August.

Take your Hummingbird feeders down the last week in October.

California (CA)

Hummingbirds stay year-round in coastal California.

Migratory hummingbirds will start to arrive in California the second week of August.

Take your Hummingbird feeders down the third week in October. Keep them up all year if you live on the coast.

Colorado (CO)

Hummingbirds will start to leave Colorado the second week of August.

Take your feeders down the third week in October.

Connecticut (CT)

Hummingbirds will start to leave Connecticut the third week in July.

Take your Hummingbird feeders down the first week in October.

Delaware (DE)

Hummingbirds will start to leave Delaware the first week of August.

Take your Hummingbird feeders down the third week in October.

Florida (FL)

Native Hummingbirds stay year-round in central and southern Florida.

Migratory hummingbirds will start to arrive in California the third week of August.

Take your Hummingbird feeders down the first week in November. Keep them up all year if you live in the south or central areas.

Georgia (GA)

Hummingbirds will start to leave Georgia the last week in August.

Take your Hummingbird feeders down the second week in November.

Hawaii (HI)

Hummingbirds are not native to Hawaii so unfortunately, they don’t migrate near the state. They are also banned by state law and it is illegal for hummingbirds to be in Hawaii.

Don’t offer a hummingbird feeder in your yard if you live in Hawaii.

Idaho (ID)

Hummingbirds will start to leave Idaho the first week in September.

Take your Hummingbird feeders down the first week in November.

Illinois (IL)

Hummingbirds will start to leave Illinois the first week in August.

Take your Hummingbird feeders down the first week in November.

Indiana (IN)

Hummingbirds will start to leave Illinois the second week in October.

Take your Hummingbird feeders down the first week in December.

Iowa (IA)

Hummingbirds will start to leave Iowa the second week in September.

Take your feeders down the third week in November.

Kansas (KS)

Hummingbirds will start to leave Kansas the second week in July.

Take your Hummingbird feeders down the second week in October.

Kentucky (KY)

Hummingbirds will start to arrive in Kentucky the second week of March to early April.

Put Your Hummingbird feeders out the last week in February.

Louisiana (LA)

Hummingbirds will start to leave Louisiana the second week in July.

Take your Hummingbird feeders down the second week in October.

Maine (ME)

Hummingbirds will start to leave Maine the third week in September.

Take your Hummingbird feeders down the last week in November.

Maryland (MD)

Hummingbirds will start to leave Maryland the last week in September.

Take your Hummingbird feeders down the first week in December.

Massachusetts (MA)

Hummingbirds will start to leave Massachusetts the second week in September.

Take your Hummingbird feeders down the third week in November.

Michigan (MI)

Hummingbirds will start to leave Michigan the third week in September.

Take your Hummingbird feeders down the last week in November.

Minnesota (MN)

Hummingbirds will start to leave Minnesota the third week in September.

Take your Hummingbird feeders down the last week in November.

Mississippi (MS)

Hummingbirds will start to leave Mississippi the second week in November.

Take your Hummingbird feeders down the third week in January.

Missouri (MO)

Hummingbirds will start to leave Missouri the last week in September.

Take your feeders down the first week in December.

Montana (MT)

Hummingbirds will start to leave Montana the last week in June.

Take your Hummingbird feeders down the first week in October.

Nebraska (NE)

Hummingbirds will start to leave Nebraska the first week in September.

Take your feeders down the first week in November.

Nevada (NV)

Hummingbirds will start to leave Nevada the second week in September.

Take your Hummingbird feeders down the third week in November.

New Hampshire (NH)

Hummingbirds will start to leave New Hampshire the last week in September.

Take your Hummingbird feeders down the first week in December.

New Jersey (NJ)

Hummingbirds will start to leave New Jersey the last week in September.

Take your Hummingbird feeders down the first week in December.

New Mexico (NM)

Hummingbirds will start to leave New Mexico the second week in October.

Take your feeders down the first week in December.

New York (NY)

Hummingbirds will start to leave New York the third week in September.

Take your Hummingbird feeders down the last week in November.

North Carolina (NC)

Hummingbirds will start to leave North Carolina the last week in September.

Take your Hummingbird feeders down the first week in December.

North Dakota (ND)

Hummingbirds will start to leave North Dakota the third week in August.

Take your Hummingbird feeders down the third week in November.

Ohio (OH)

Hummingbirds will start to leave Ohio the last week in August.

Take your Hummingbird feeders down the last week in November.

Oklahoma (OK)

Hummingbirds will start to leave Oklahoma the first week in September.

Take your Hummingbird feeders down the first week in November.

Oregon (OR)

Native Hummingbirds stay year-round in Oregon.

Migratory hummingbirds will start to leave in Oregon the first week of September.

Take your Hummingbird feeders down the third week in November. Keep them up all year if you have native hummingbird species visiting your feeders.

Pennsylvania (PA)

Hummingbirds will start to leave Pennsylvania the last week in September.

Take your Hummingbird feeders down the first week in December.

Rhode Island (RI)

Hummingbirds will start to leave Rhode Island the third week in September.

Take your Hummingbird feeders down the last week in November.

South Carolina (SC)

Hummingbirds will start to leave South Carolina the first week in September.

Take your Hummingbird feeders down the first week in November.

South Dakota (SD)

Hummingbirds will start to leave South Dakota the second week in September.

Take your feeders down the third week in November.

Tennessee (TN)

Hummingbirds will start to leave Tennessee the second week in October.

Take your Hummingbird feeders down the second week in December.

Texas (TX)

Native Hummingbirds stay year-round in South Texas.

Migratory hummingbirds will start to leave in Texas the second week of October.

Take your Hummingbird feeders down the second week in December. Keep them up all year if you live in South Texas.

Utah (UT)

Hummingbirds will start to leave Utah the second week in September.

Take your Hummingbird feeders down the third week in November.

Vermont (VT)

Hummingbirds will start to leave Vermont the first week in September.

Take your Hummingbird feeders down the first week in November.

Virginia (VA)

Hummingbirds will start to leave Virginia the third week in September.

Take your Hummingbird feeders down the last week in November.

Washington (WA)

Native Hummingbirds stay year-round in Oregon.

Migratory hummingbirds will start to leave in Oregon in the last week of July.

Take your Hummingbird feeders down the second week in October. Keep them up all year if you have native hummingbird species visiting your feeders.

West Virginia (WV)

Hummingbirds will start to leave West Virginia the third week in September.

Take your Hummingbird feeders down the last week in November.

Wisconsin (WI)

Hummingbirds will start to leave Wisconsin the second week in September.

Take your Hummingbird feeders down the third week in November.

Wyoming (WY)

Hummingbirds will start to leave Wyoming the first week in September.

Take your feeders down the first week in November.

When to take down hummingbird feeders – Final Thoughts

The takeaway from this guide should be that you need to monitor your feeders closely in the fall months. You can take down your feeders if no hummingbirds have arrived for two weeks after the last one was seen.

Remember that there may be a few younger hummingbirds straggling behind the large crowds.

Keeping you feeders out will allow you to help as many hummingbird as you can on their long journey south for the winter.

If you have any more questions or feedback let me know in the comment below.

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