When Should I Take Down My Hummingbird Feeder?

There is a long-standing myth that leaving your hummingbird feeder out will prevent hummingbirds from migrating. This is not true. Migration in hummingbirds is controlled by hormonal changes. These hormones are triggered by changes in the length of daylight, not by food availability.

Hummingbird feeders can help late-arriving birds at a time when natural food sources are not plentiful. Late arrivals that have access to a hummingbird feeder can fuel up quicker and be able to continue their journey south.

Hummingbird feeders should be left out as long as you have hummingbirds feeding from them. After you see your last hummingbird at the feeder, wait 2 weeks. If you still don't see any hummingbirds at the feeder, you can go ahead and bring your feeder in for the season.

In the Erie area, hummingbirds are typically done migrating through our region by the end of September. Late migrants have been spotted into October, however. Pay close attention to any hummingbirds at your feeders in October. Sometimes they turn out to be Rufuos Hummingbirds, a western species that can wander east during fall migrations. Document and photograph any questionable-looking hummingbird and report it. Report rare bird sightings in Erie County to Jerry McWilliams [email protected] and consider reporting all of your hummingbird (and other bird) sightings on eBird to help scientists get a better picture of bird populations.