Birdwatchers in Georgia are often lucky enough to encounter a wide range of hummingbirds in their state. Learning when you might expect them to arrive in and leave Georgia means that you will be able to help them out, and attract them to your garden.
One species, the ruby-throated hummingbird, may remain in Georgia year-round. Most, however, are migratory species, which arrive in February or the first week of March, and depart before mid-October. Many pass through on their way further north or heading south.
Read on to learn more about these birds and for information to help you prepare for them in this part of the United States.
What Hummingbirds Are Seen in Georgia?
No fewer than eleven species of hummingbird may be seen in Georgia throughout the year. The ruby-throated hummingbird is the only one that nests in the state and the most common hummingbird here, but many other types may remain in the state for a time or simply pass through to their nesting grounds in South Carolina and further north.
Other hummingbird species you might encounter in the state are the rufous hummingbird, black-chinned hummingbird, calliope hummingbird, magnificent hummingbird, Allen’s hummingbird, Anna’s hummingbird, broad-tailed hummingbird, green violet-ear, and green-breasted mango.
When Do Hummingbirds Arrive in Georgia?
Some ruby-throated hummingbirds will nest in Georgia, but others will pass through Georgia and continue north to their preferred nesting sites. Some individual birds may remain in Georgia year-round, though typically, only a very limited number will be year-round residents. Those that make Georgia their winter home tend to be individuals that are too old or injured to migrate.
Migrating birds of eastern North America will arrive in Georgia beginning in February and as late as the first week of March.
Do all the Hummingbirds Arrive at the Same Time?
The birds undertaking spring migration may have traveled a long way or come from somewhat closer. The birds will often have traveled between 1200 and 3500 miles to reach Georgia from as far south as Panama or just across the Gulf of Mexico.
Regardless of their origin, migrating hummingbirds will arrive in George around the same time – arriving during a couple of weeks at the end of February or the beginning of March.
People in the state’s south may expect hummingbird season to start slightly earlier than those in the north since they are an earlier stop on the northward migration path. And the time may vary slightly depending on the specific conditions in different areas in different years.
Do Male and Female Hummingbirds Migrate Together?
Male ruby-throated hummingbirds on the spring migration route tend to arrive a little earlier than the female ruby-throated hummingbird. Usually, they will have been in Georgia for a week or two before the females arrive.
The nesting season in Georgia for these birds will typically begin in April. Those individuals whose preferred breeding grounds are further north will have moved on by this time. Those hummingbird populations that do nest here will frequently produce two broods each year.
How Long do Hummingbirds Stay in Georgia?
Typically, as hotter weather arrives, those in Georgia can expect the number of hummingbird visitors to decrease. Many hummingbirds will continue to head north.
And in summer, ruby-throated hummingbirds will be the most common species seen. These are better able to cope with the heat and humidity in the state over the warmest months.
Other species are likely to be viewed once more only when the birds undertake their southwards migration at the end of the season.
Remember, limited numbers of ruby-throated hummingbirds may sometimes be seen in Georgia in winter, though not as commonly as during the other seasons. Historically, these hummingbirds would only have spent the winter months in Florida. But the proliferation of feeders, availability of winter-flowering plants, and climate change mean that Georgia may also host these birds sometimes during the coldest months.
How to Prepare for the Arrival of Hummingbirds in Georgia
If you would like to attract and aid hungry hummingbirds in your Georgia garden, the best thing to do is to make sure that you cater to these birds through your planting. A biodiverse environment filled with plenty of native plants will provide a nectar source for the birds whenever they are around while also attracting insects as prey.
Red buckeye, bottlebrush buckeye, trumpet honeysuckle, trumpet vine, cardinal flower, bee balm, jewelweed, fire pink, Indian pink, and Eastern red columbine are just some of the great native plants to consider in Georgia for a hummingbird-friendly garden.
Be sure to include plenty of native trees, shrubs, and climbers for shade to beat the heat, and include nectary plants and insect attractants which bloom during as much of the year as possible for a wildlife-friendly garden.
While creating a flower-filled garden is great for hummingbirds, you should also consider adding hummingbird feeders to ensure that these birds have all they need.
What Month Do You Put Out Hummingbird Feeders in Georgia?
If you decide to place dedicated hummingbird feeders on your Georgia property, you should do so a couple of weeks before you expect the first migratory visitors to arrive in February.
When Do Migrating Hummingbirds Leave Georgia?
As mentioned above, some hummingbirds will leave Georgia soon after they first arrive, passing through to make their way further north. But, some will leave before summer really begins to heat up. These types may pass through on their migration back south in late summer or early autumn.
Though some ruby-throated hummingbirds may remain in Georgia year-round, most will leave to migrate further south from Georgia. Almost all will depart before mid-October.
When Should You Take Down a Hummingbird Feeder?
Typically, feeders for migrating species should be taken down only after no more hummingbirds are seen for a couple of weeks. Usually, it is safe to remove feeders in November in Georgia.
However, if there are year-round occupants in your area, you might also consider leaving your hummingbird feeders out for the entire year to provide for winter residents.
Just remember to make sure that you take steps to stop the feeder from freezing in areas where the temperatures fall low enough in winter. And in the height of summer, take steps to keep the solution in your feeder cool to give birds some respite from the heat.
Where Do Georgia Hummingbirds Go When They Leave Georgia?
During the spring migration, migratory birds make their way northwards to preferred nesting sites across the eastern US.
In the second migration period, in late summer or fall, most hummingbirds will head south, to Mexico and beyond and across the Gulf of Mexico, and perhaps even on to Central America or South America to reach their preferred wintering grounds.
How Long Does It Take a Georgia Hummingbird to Migrate?
Unlike other bird species, hummingbirds tend to migrate as individuals rather than in flocks. So the time it takes for them to complete the trip varies. On average, a hummingbird flies around 30 mph and takes approximately 50 hours to reach the Mexican border from Georgia. But individuals may sometimes travel for just one hour per day or undertake non-stop flights of 500 miles in around 20 hours.