Where are my hummingbirds?

I’ve heard comments from a lot of hummingbird lovers out there, asking “Where are my hummingbirds?”  Loyalists, who are used to seeing swarms of hummingbirds at their feeders, feel like they are coming up empty this season.  So I talked to a few expert resources, too see what their opinion was on the lack of hummingbirds.  Their answers led me to believe there is nothing to worry about!

Cornell Lab of Ornithology at Cornell University is a terrific reference on all things birding, and they had this to say about the hummingbirds, “As you know, bird populations can fluctuate considerably from year to year.  Only if this trend were to persist on a much wider scale for multiple years would it likely indicate a larger problem for the species.  It is also true that what is happening in one location isn't necessarily indicative for the species overall.”  This is a great sign! 

They further say, “When birds migrate, where they stop is highly dependent on weather patterns.  Because they're in such a hurry to get to their nesting area, if they don't need to stop, they won't.  And that means that sometimes they're not in a particular area.”

We also took this question to Scott Weidensaul, who is an expert of bird migration.  He gave us the following explanation, “Most of the emails I get in June and early July about ‘where are my hummingbirds?’ stem from the females being tied up with incubation and chick-rearing, the usual early summer lull that always makes people panic. They remember the hordes of hummers they had last year (not realizing it was in late summer, after the chicks had fledged and the migration was underway) and compare that with the normal, low-intensity activity at their feeders in early summer and assume the worst.”

So in the end, we’ve concluded that all hope is not lost.  Keep those hummingbird feeders full of the good stuff and your much anticipated visitors will show up.  Feed them… and they will come!


  1. The WBJ Blog Team admin said:

    They may have already started migrating south. But to be safe, keep your feeders clean and filled until freezing temperatures begin!

  2. Karrie said:

    For the last 8 years we have had our typical amount of hummingbirds. This year we had to add a large glass feeder to my existing 4 medium and 2 large feeders due to the massive number of birds we have. For the first time ever (eight years), I’ve had to literally fill each feeder 3 times a day. I live in Vienna, IL; 25 miles west of Paducah, KY; halfway between St. Louis, MO and Nashville, TN. I’m receiving new birds daily to eat who are migrating south. So many of you should be seeing our little friends arriving hungry soon. Keep the food fresh!

  3. Samantha said:

    I had several hummingbirds and 3 feeders I had to refill almost daily until last week then suddenly they disappeared. I’m in Oklahoma. Last year they were still feeding with ice on the ground. What happened??

  4. Lesley said:

    The first year I put them out,had two sets of Ruby Hummingbirds, and they hatched out their babies, the second and third year have only seen maybe one set, and it is like they have disappeared, and they hardly come around anymore. They are so fun to watch!

  5. Eric said:

    I live in southern Illinois, near st.louis mo. When do I stop feeding them so they can head south?? Eric

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