Hummingbirds seem so stunning and otherworldly that it’s hard to believe their beauty is a natural part of our landscape. But there is perhaps no better place in the United States to see hummingbirds than in Arizona.
More than 15 species of hummingbirds can be seen migrating through Arizona every year! And as if that weren’t wonderful enough, five species of hummingbirds make their year-round homes in Arizona.
Southeastern Arizona, which plays host to the highest concentration of hummingbirds, lays claim to the title of “Hummingbird Capital of the United States”!
When will the big hummingbird migration make its way through Arizona? Let’s learn more!
When Will the Hummingbirds Arrive in Arizona?
The migratory hummingbirds begin to arrive in Arizona in April, and their numbers increase throughout the month. Later in the summer months, even more hummingbirds will show up along with the Southwestern Monsoon.
However, quite a few hummingbird species live in Arizona year-round, especially in the southern and southeastern parts of the state.
Do the Hummingbirds Arrive in Arizona All at Once or Gradually?
Most of the migratory hummingbirds on their way to breed in Arizona will arrive throughout April, trailing off into May.
The Southwestern Monsoon in the summer months will bring a concentration of migratory hummingbirds passing through Arizona, especially in the southeastern region.
Hummingbirds migrate individually, not in flocks. The male hummingbirds will arrive first. They depart about a week before the females to seek out food sources and establish territories. Male hummingbirds will fiercely defend their territories from other hummingbirds and even from birds larger than themselves!
Later, the females will arrive to join the males in their territories. They will mate, build nests, and raise their young.
Does the Weather Affect the Arrival of the Hummingbirds?
The Southwestern Monsoon during the summer months creates conditions that many hummingbirds favor.
The rains bring cooling temperatures, blankets of greenery, and blooming flowers in every direction–a recipe for hummingbirds, not to mention many other bird and wildlife species that can be seen while Mother Nature puts on her show.
A concentration of hummingbirds will travel through Arizona at this time–as many as 15 different species!
These birds are busily flying on their way to various destinations for breeding and wintering. For example, the Rufous hummingbird, appearing in Arizona in July, is already on its way south for the winter during the Monsoon, even though it’s the middle of summer! Yet other species, like the Plain-capped Starthroat, are only just arriving.
Do the Hummingbirds Arrive in Different Parts of Arizona at Different Times?
Many different species of hummingbirds pass through Arizona at slightly different times on their way to breeding or wintering destinations. Since hummingbirds travel individually, and each species is going someplace slightly different, you can think of spring and summer as Arizona’s hummingbird rush hour.
Each hummingbird is like a little commuter on its way to work or back home again. They might leave and arrive at slightly different times, but the traffic will be concentrated through the warmest spring and summer months.
There are a few species of hummingbirds, such as the Violet-crowned hummingbird, that even begin to arrive in Arizona while it’s still technically winter!
Others arrive very late, like the Plain-capped Starthroat, which comes to southern Arizona in the first week of July, and stays only until September.
Some of the hummingbirds don’t have much of a commute. Several species are year-round residents in Arizona. These include Anna’s hummingbird, Costa’s hummingbird, the Broad-billed hummingbird, Rivoli’s Hummingbird, and the Blue-throated Mountain Gem.
When Should I Put Out Hummingbird Feeders in Arizona?
The main hummingbird migration through Arizona gets into full swing in April, so put your feeders out in mid-March, or 1-2 weeks before you expect the hummingbirds.
But truthfully, with so many full-time resident hummingbird species, and early migrators like the Rufous hummingbird and the Violet-crowned hummingbird, there’s every reason to leave your feeders up year-round!
When Should I Take Hummingbird Feeders Down in Arizona?
The main hummingbird migration through Arizona ends in October, so take your feeders down at the beginning of November, or two weeks after you last see a bird at your feeder.
You don’t have to worry that leaving your feeders up will prevent the hummingbirds from migrating. They’ll leave when it’s time, thanks to an internal clock programmed by the length of the days and nights. Having your feeder handy will help them fuel up for the journey.
However, if you’re in an area with resident hummingbirds, they may not leave, and you’ll be lucky enough to have these vibrant little birds for neighbors!
Which Arizona Flowers Attract Hummingbirds?
Hummingbirds love flowers, and as they migrate north, they follow the blooming patterns of nectar-producing flowers. You can attract hummingbirds to your yard by planting their favorites.
Native Arizona plants will do double duty by attracting and feeding the hummingbirds and benefiting your local ecosystem. These plants are best-suited to the growing environment Arizona offers, so they’ll be hardy and easy to grow in your garden.
Here are some Arizona native plants that hummingbirds love:
- Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii)
- Chuparosa (Justicia californica)
- Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis)
- Fairy Duster (Calliandra species)
- Ocotillo (Fourquieria splendens)
- Penstemon (Penstemon species)
- Scarlet Hedgehog Cactus (Echinocereus coccineus)
- Red Justicia (Justicia candicans)
- Snapdragon Vine (Maurandya antirrhiniflora)
- Tropical Sage (Salvia coccinea)
- Mealy Cup Sage (Salvia farinacea)
- Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha)
Time to Meet the Hummingbirds!
Get your feeders and cameras ready because the hummingbird migration is coming to Arizona starting in April! Hummingbirds will continue to arrive through May, and the migration will reach its peak in the summer months to coincide with the Southwestern Monsoon. You’ll have to say farewell to any migrating species by the end of October. But with five different year-round resident species of hummingbirds in Arizona, you’ll always have these sparkling beauties nearby to keep you company!