Hummingbirds are an incredible sight at the bird feeder. They can hover and fly in any direction, even backward or upside down! No other bird exhibits the same mastery of flight.
Hummingbirds put all that skill to good use, making an extraordinary annual migration of thousands of miles to take advantage of the optimum bloom times of their favorite flowers. But in Nevada, some of the hummingbirds are a little closer to home. Some species will make a much shorter migration or even take up residence in Nevada year-round!
If you’re in Nevada, when should you get ready for the hummingbirds to arrive? Which hummingbirds might already be close? Let’s discover more about these gems of the avian world!
When Will the Hummingbirds Arrive in Nevada?
The summer hummingbird migration arrives in Nevada starting in mid-March. But, Nevada residents are lucky enough to have not just one but two species of hummingbirds as year-round neighbors!
Anna’s hummingbird and Costa’s hummingbird are both species you might see in Nevada at any time of year.
Do the Hummingbirds Arrive in Nevada All at Once or Gradually?
Hummingbirds migrate individually rather than in flocks. They set out on their own schedule, determined by the lengthening days, to seek nectar-producing flowers beginning to bloom.
Male hummingbirds will set out first, about a week before the females. They’ll seek out good food sources and establish territories that they will defend from other males. Later, the female hummingbirds will join them to mate and build nests.
Do the Hummingbirds Arrive in Different Parts of Nevada at Different Times?
Rufous hummingbirds are just passing through Nevada on their way north rather than stopping to nest. You’ll see them making their journey from March through May.
Black-chinned hummingbirds nest in the lowland areas of Nevada from April to August. Then, later in the season, they move up to slightly higher elevations.
Calliope hummingbirds like high elevations, and will nest in the mountain meadows and forests from May through July. Then they’ll migrate south and east for the winter.
Anna’s hummingbirds, Nevada’s year-round residents, like to move down to the foothills for nesting from December to June.
Costa’s hummingbirds are short-distance migrants. If they aren’t already staying in Nevada year-round, they’ll migrate north in February and March to nest, seeking desert flowers in bloom. Otherwise, they only move around if they don’t like the temperature or can’t find the resources they need. They don’t go further south than northern Mexico in the winter.
When Should I Put Out Hummingbird Feeders in Nevada?
You should put out your feeders in Nevada at the beginning of March, or 1-2 weeks before you expect the first hummingbirds to arrive. Having your feeders out early ensures that you’ll be ready for the first migrants.
Hummingbirds have an amazing memory for individual flowers, feeders, and even the humans that keep those feeders stocked! They will return to the same places year after year, looking for food.
But if they arrive before your feeders are out, they may be forced to move on because they can’t go for very long without eating. Sometimes hummingbirds have to eat as often as every five minutes to keep their incredible metabolisms going.
When Should I Take Hummingbird Feeders Down in Nevada?
You can take down your hummingbird feeders in Nevada at the start of October or two weeks after you see the last hummingbird at your feeders.
You don’t have to worry that leaving your feeders up will prevent hummingbirds from migrating when it’s time. Each hummingbird leaves on its own schedule, determined by the length of the days, and it will linger at feeders to fuel up before setting out on its challenging journey.
Nevada is lucky enough to have two year-round hummingbird residents: Anna’s hummingbird and Costa’s hummingbird. You might want to consider leaving your feeders up through the winter to help feed these full-time hummingbird neighbors!
Which Nevada Flowers Attract Hummingbirds?
When hummingbirds migrate, they’re looking for their favorite flowers coming into bloom. You can help them and other native pollinators by planting native Nevada shrubs and flowers.
Non-native plants, like African Foxtail Grass, are causing problems for hummingbirds by out-competing the native plants they rely on for nectar. You can help combat this trend by choosing native Nevada plants for your garden.
Native plants have lots of benefits. They will be hardy enough for Nevada’s climate while also providing the nectar and shelter hummingbirds seek.
Here are some outstanding native Nevada plants for your garden that hummingbirds will love:
- Thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus)
- Desert Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja angustifolia)
- Fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium)
- Desert Larkspur (Delphinium scaposum)
- Kingcup Cactus (Echinocereus triglochidiatus)
- Desert Snowberry (Symphoricarpos longiflorus)
- Wallflower (Erysimum capitatum)
- Sticky Geranium (Geranium viscosissimum)
- Western Blue Flag (Iris missouriensis)
- Western Stoneweed (Lithospermum ruderale)
It’s Time for Hummingbirds!
Mark your calendar and get your feeders ready to welcome migrating hummingbirds to Nevada in mid-March. Then, say farewell to the migrating hummingbirds in mid-September while resident Anna’s and Costa’s hummingbirds keep you company throughout the winter. What wonderful friends to have all year!