Hummingbird migration signals when to remove feeders

Published 10:00 pm Monday, October 7, 2019

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are headed south for the winter. Hummingbird migration in Iowa usually lasts from late August to early October.

This year, hummingbirds are still being reported throughout the state in the second week of October. Many of the birds people see now bred north of Iowa and are working their way to their wintering areas in Mexico and Central America.

So, when is the right time to take down hummingbird feeders? And can feeding them stop the hummers from migrating when they should?

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According to a press release, hummingbirds, like other species, need to build up body fat in order to make their large migration flights, so refueling locations like backyard feeders are important.

One of the triggers for birds to migrate is day length, and regardless of food availability, they will migrate as the days grow shorter.

The best thing to do is to keep hummingbird feeders up for at least 10 days after you see your last hummingbird to food for any migrating stragglers, the press release stated.