Sep 9, 2016 | Featured in: Watching Backyard Birds, October 2015

Helping Hummingbirds in Fall

Anna's hummingbird. Photo by Seth Reams, Portland, OR. The Anna's hummingbird is common along the Pacific Coast all year long (often the only hummingbird present in midwinter).
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It's a myth that a hummingbird, or any bird for that matter, will be deterred from heading south in the fall because of human-provided food. Instinct and hormonal urges are what drive birds to migrate, and hummingbirds are no different. Besides, there is good reason to leave your nectar feeder up and full of fresh sugar water until the temperature dips to below freezing, even if you haven't seen a hummer for weeks: It will offer late migrants a refueling spot long after most nectar-producing flowers have ceased blooming. Late-to-migrate hummingbirds turn up throughout North America each fall and winter. By providing a food source, you'll be helping them, not harming them.

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  • I’ve been enjoying goldfinches eating coneflower/ echinacea seeds in my new pollinator garden! I will leave the plants out all winter for them if the seeds keep that long? Or should I deadhead and put them in a dry area? Im in CT and thought they migrated, but didn’t know they put in winter coats! What do they eat in winter without bird feeders?
    by Anne Sheffield, Sat, 04 Sep 2021
  • Hi Gary, I will pass your question along to Birdsquatch next time I see him. He knows infinitely more about nocturnal wildlife than I do. Where do you live? That's pretty important in figuring out the answer. But the thief could be raccoons, deer, or flying squirrels. Do you live in the woods? Are there trees near your feeder, or must the culprit climb a shepherd's hook or pole? Dawn Hewitt, Watching Backyard Birds
    by Dawn Hewitt, Mon, 30 Aug 2021
  • This breaks my heart. God strengthen your spirit and comfort your heart.I am fortunate to be taking a vacation next month, hopefully before sky high inflation hits and I can no longer afford it.
    by Ironweeds, Fri, 27 Aug 2021
  • What is emptying my jelly feeder overnight.
    by Gary Vandervest, Wed, 25 Aug 2021
  • Thank you, Dawn. I'm close enough to Ohio (Ann Arbor, Michigan) that I went ahead and took my tubes down and scoured clean all my bird baths. I won't put up my tubes this winter, just my trays and safflower only just to keep the bullies away for a while.
    by Pat Moore, Mon, 09 Aug 2021