The migration of hummingbirds each year is really something to look forward to in Missouri. The arrival of these beautiful birds is one of the signs of spring and the delight of the season. This spring highlight is a top attraction of the ‘show-me state.’
Ruby-throated hummingbirds arrive in Missouri in mid-April. Some will continue north, but many will stay to nest and breed in the state before they begin their southward migration to their wintering grounds between mid-August and the end of October.
What Hummingbirds are Seen in Missouri?
The Ruby-throated hummingbird is the primary species seen in Missouri. These birds breed and nest in this part of the US and are the only summer-resident hummingbird here.
However, you may sometimes see other hummingbird visitors in the state. Rufous hummingbirds are sometimes seen passing through on their migration from late summer to early winter.
Another hummingbird occasionally seen in Missouri is Anna’s hummingbird. Other hummingbirds are rarely sighted in the state, but you are far less likely to find them as regular visitors to your garden.
When Do Hummingbirds Arrive in Missouri?
Ruby-throated hummingbirds typically begin to arrive in Missouri around mid-April. The precise timing of the migration depends on a range of factors such as food availability and weather conditions. But the arrival will vary only a little between years.
The male hummingbirds will arrive first. They will be followed a couple of weeks later by the females of the species. They will often have found suitable nesting sites by June, and the females will build nests and lay eggs.
Preparing for the Arrival of Hummingbirds in Missouri
As spring arrives, you can begin watching for the arrival of your feathered friends. But before they show up, it is a great idea to think about how you can prepare your garden to welcome them.
Of course, you should first and foremost make sure you remove all dangers for migrating hummingbirds. Make sure there is no netting or other material for them to get tangled in. You should also make sure you always garden organically and avoid harmful chemicals that could harm wildlife in your area.
Track Hummingbirds As They Arrive in Missouri
Understanding precisely when hummingbirds will return to Missouri from their wintering grounds in Central America will help you make sure you are ready for them.
You can use a database of bird sightings called e-Bird to track hummingbirds en route to your area. People use the e-Bird database to record their birdwatching observations.
How to Attract Hummingbirds to a Missouri Garden
If you love seeing Ruby-throated hummingbirds in the summer, make it more likely that they will frequent your garden. Making your garden hummingbird-friendly is the best way to aid these birds. It will also improve your chances of getting close to these amazing creatures.
Of course, many people will begin by providing a hummingbird feeder. This can be a great idea. However, it is important to remember that creating a varied planting scheme filled with native Missouri plants should be the first step.
Creating a meal for hummingbirds is just one step. You also need to create an environment in which they will be happy.
Hummingbirds need nectar and insects for food. The plants you choose should provide them with both. Remember, where you live will dictate the best plants for your wildlife-friendly garden.
Some excellent Missouri native plants for a hummingbird-friendly garden include:
- Agastache species
- Cardinal flower
- Fire pink
- Native honeysuckles
- Red buckeye
- Royal catchfly
- Trumpet creeper
- Wild bergamot
There are also plenty of other native plants to choose from.
Remember, it is important to have varied planting to create biodiversity. This will create a thriving ecosystem and habitat that hummingbirds and other wildlife will love. As well as thinking about which particular species to choose, you should consider how to combine them in beneficial ways.
Missouri lies at the intersection between the timberlands to the east and the prairie plains. To the north of the Missouri River lie the rolling hills of the Great Plains. To its south, oak-hickory woodlands prevail.
One great idea is to create a small area of native prairie plantings or restore some native forests where tree cover was the norm. These small acts of rewilding can be a great way to aid birds and other creatures sharing your space.
Creating sheltered micro-climates in the Ozark mountains and exposed locations allows these birds safe haven. You might plant a shelterbelt or windbreak hedgerow in a windy spot. Down in the Bootheel region, warmer, wetter conditions might allow you to explore options like ponds or native rain gardens. These are just a few examples.
When Should I Put Out Hummingbird Feeders in Missouri?
Once you have a garden fit for your hummingbird visitors, you should also put out feeders to ensure that they have absolutely everything they need.
In Missouri, you should usually place out feeders at the beginning of April. This should ensure that they will be ready when the earliest of the spring migrants arrive.
When Do Hummingbirds Leave Missouri?
Male Ruby-throated hummingbirds will typically leave first, around the middle of August. But some females may remain if you have feeders and appropriate planting to provide hummingbirds with food. If you are lucky, you may enjoy these birds in your garden until around the end of October.
Each hummingbird will arrive and leave on its own schedule. These birds will not migrate in groups, all at once. Their time of departure can vary depending on a range of factors. However, after the end of October, typically, all the birds that can migrate will have done so.
You may be sad to see your hummingbirds leave. Don’t worry. They should be back again next year in spring. The same birds will tend to return to the same sites over several years.
When Should I Take Down Hummingbird Feeders in Missouri?
Some people worry that birds won’t leave for their annual winter migration if they leave up their feeders for too long. But hummingbirds will leave even when there are abundant food sources.
Experts agree that it is best to leave up hummingbird feeders until you have not seen any hummingbirds visit them for a couple of weeks.
In Missouri, this typically means that you can remove your feeders by around the middle of November.
However, some individuals will be too sick or too old to migrate south to Central America each year. If you see them in your garden, you can pay a kindness to any birds that remain by leaving feeders in place over the winter.
Hummingbirds are amazing creatures. So make sure you can admire and aid them by understanding their movements.
Prepare your Missouri property for them and other wildlife that shares your space, and they should come back to your garden over many years and delight you when they arrive each spring.