The Best Time To Put Out Your Hummingbird Feeders

As hummingbirds migrate north, they'll hunt for tasty nectar to fuel their journey, so know when to put out your feeder for maximum enjoyment.

“Putting out a feeder guarantees that they'll find something to feed on as they pass through the yard,” says American Bird Conservancy's David Wiedenfeld. Boosting their energy as they travel northward is also nice.

Wiedenfeld says the Southeastern US has only one hummingbird, the Ruby-throated, but others migrate through in fall.

He says Ruby-throats return to the Gulf Coast in the second part of February, but the early migrants stay in southern Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.

Hummingbird feeders can be placed out in late February, depending on where you reside.

“But for most of the Southeast, it's probably okay to wait until late March or early April,” Wiedenfeld says. Put your feeder out before the birds arrive to capture the first ones.  

Being able to access food quickly when they arrive helps the birds. They've gone a long way—maybe from Costa Rica—and an energy boost can help them breed well, Wiedenfeld says.

Putting out hummingbird feeders can help migrating hummers, but don't worry about their becoming dependant.

“They're pretty good about still visiting natural flowers for other nutrition,” Wiedenfeld explains. “They also get protein from insects, which they find and eat elsewhere.