Hummingbird Feeder Etiquette
The RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD (Archilochus colubris) will begin migrating through Ohio beginning in September and we may continue to see hummingbirds passing through into October. Hummingbird migration can sometimes last into November. Homeowners often wonder when they should take their hummingbird feeders down for the year. Should all feeders be down by the end of the summer so as not to discourage hummingbirds from migrating? Will a hummingbird forgo the long, treacherous journey south in the face of a feeder full of sugary sustenance? The answer is no.
It is a common misconception that leaving hummingbird feeders up during the migration season will encourage hummingbirds to stay and not migrate. This is at risk of starvation. Simply not true – a hummingbird, whether a seasoned veteran or spring chicken, knows when it is time to head south. What a feeder full of sugary goodness will provide is energy and fuel to begin or continue that long journey.
Migration is extremely difficult, especially for such a small bird, but hummingbirds that are able to find good supplies of nectar or feeders have an easier time of it. Homeowners can leave feeders up through October, or when they no longer see hummingbirds visiting the feeder, and then take them down for the year. When should the feeders go back up? Hummingbirds usually return to Ohio in April, sometimes earlier depending on the weather, so have feeders cleaned and ready to go by mid March.