Arkansas is home to several hummingbird species. Typically, however, you are most likely to see Ruby-throated hummingbirds here.
Ruby-throated hummingbirds arrive from mid-March to early April and typically leave between mid-August and late October. Other hummingbirds may be seen as they migrate south, especially during fall or early winter. Interestingly, things are changing here. It is increasingly common for hummingbirds to remain in the state all winter long.
In Arkansas, you can help hummingbirds almost year-round in your garden. The first step is learning a little more about their movements and habits.
What Hummingbirds are Seen in Arkansas?
The most common hummingbird seen in Arkansas is the Ruby-throated hummingbird. It is the only bird that breeds and nests in the state. They now occasionally remain residents year-round.
Other hummingbirds seen here include the Rufous hummingbird and (more rarely) the Calliope hummingbird. Both of these used to be seen in Arkansas only on their migrations northward in spring or southward in fall. But they are increasingly found remaining for more extended periods over the fall and winter months.
Very rarely, Green violetears, Black-chinned hummingbirds, Anna’s hummingbirds, Broad-tailed hummingbirds, Buff-tailed hummingbirds, and Magnificent hummingbirds have been sighted in the state. But if you live in Arkansas, it is still improbable that you will spot these species in your garden.
When Do Hummingbirds Arrive in Arkansas?
Typically, Ruby-throated hummingbirds will arrive in Arkansas in late March or early April. Rufous hummingbirds may also appear around the same time. Calliope hummingbirds may also rarely be fleetingly glimpsed in spring.
Some hummingbirds will simply pass through on their way to nesting sites further to the north and will be gone before the breeding season begins around June.
However, some Ruby-throated hummingbirds will remain in Arkansas to breed and nest over the summer. The males will arrive first, followed by the female Ruby-throated hummingbirds a week or two later.
In fall, rarer species may arrive during the southward hummingbird migration. Though these are far less frequently seen in the state.
The exact timing of the hummingbird migration can differ from year to year depending on weather conditions and other factors like the availability of food. However, the migrations will not vary in timing all that much from year to year – rarely differing by more than a week or two.
Preparing for the Arrival of Hummingbirds in Arkansas
Making sure you have a meal for hummingbirds is just one step in getting ready for the arrival of these beautiful and interesting birds.
One of the very best things you can do to aid hummingbirds and attract them to your space is to think carefully about how you plan, maintain, and plant your garden.
Providing natural sources of nectar and insects for hummingbirds to eat should always be the first step. But you should also think about how you combine your plants to create the perfect hummingbird-friendly habitat in your garden.
Remember that if you want a garden filled with wildlife, you should always garden organically. Make sure that you do not use anything that could pose a risk to the feathered visitors and other creatures sharing your space.
How to Attract Hummingbirds to an Arkansas Garden
Arkansas has varied geography. But whether you live in the Ozark mountains, in the densely forested timberlands to the south, or in the lowlands along the Mississippi River and the Arkansas delta to the east, you can attract hummingbirds to your garden.
Creating a hummingbird-friendly space means choosing plants that will provide them with nectar and attract the insects they eat. But it is also crucial to choose the right plants for the right places and combine them in the right ways.
In the east, prairie-style planting schemes can often be a good idea. Great hummingbird-friendly plants to include in such a planting scheme include:
- Cardinal flower.
- Rough blazing-star
- Wild bergamot.
To name a few examples.
In more mountainous and exposed areas, planting trees and shrubs to create a more sheltered micro-climate and shade can be an excellent idea for hummingbirds in your area.
If you live in a typically tree-covered area, restoring areas of native forest with appropriate under-story planting is a great idea.
You can also cater to hummingbirds wherever you live as you plan your food-producing garden areas. You might create biodiverse food forests, perennial planting schemes, or an annual vegetable garden with nectar-rich companion plants and beneficial insect attractants.
When Should I Put Out Hummingbird Feeders in Arkansas?
Feeders alone are no substitute for natural hummingbird habitat in your garden, but you can also provide feeders to give these birds an extra helping hand.
Place feeders by the middle of March, and you should typically be ready for when the first migrating species arrive.
However, since hummingbirds are now more frequently remaining in the state over the winter months, you may wish to have hummingbird feeders in your Arkansas garden year-round.
When Do Hummingbirds Leave Arkansas?
Ruby-throated hummingbirds will typically begin to leave Arkansas in mid to late August. The males will typically depart first, followed later by the females. The females may remain, often until around the end of October.
Increasingly, however, individuals will stay in Arkansas over the winter months rather than making their way south to Central America as was previously the norm.
Rufous hummingbirds will typically leave in fall, in September or October, as will Calliope hummingbirds. But, increasingly, these species are also remaining longer in the state, and these and other rarer species may be seen through fall and into winter.
When Should I Take Down Hummingbird Feeders in Arkansas?
Most migrating hummingbirds will leave Arkansas by late October. However, you should usually leave hummingbird feeders in place for a couple of weeks after you last see a hummingbird in your garden. This means that food will be available for any late-migrating hummingbirds or stragglers.
As mentioned above, however, hummingbirds are also increasingly seen in Arkansas over the winter months. So, if you continue to see these birds in your garden, the kind and helpful thing to do is leave your feeders in place.
Understanding when hummingbirds arrive in and leave Arkansas should help you see why you should do what you can to aid these birds in your garden throughout the year.
Catering to all the different species potentially seen in this state can help them and you. Hummingbirds are an important part of the native ecology. So, by helping them in your garden, you’ll find it easier to maintain a healthy, productive, stable, and functioning space. So, learn, plan, and plant to enjoy sharing your space with hummingbirds in your state.