New Jersey is a densely populated state. But even in heavily built-up urban areas, there are a surprising number of bird-watching opportunities. Hummingbirds, for example, are one species commonly seen, whether you live in the city or somewhere much more rural.
Ruby-throated and Rufous hummingbirds tend to arrive in New Jersey between mid-April and early May. Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the only hummingbirds that breed and nest in the state. They will begin to depart in September, and most will have left the state by the end of October.
Read on to learn more about when hummingbirds arrive in New Jersey, how to prepare for their arrival and welcome them to your garden, and when they depart for their wintering grounds to the south.
What Hummingbirds are Seen in New Jersey?
Ruby-throated and Rufous hummingbirds are most commonly seen in New Jersey.
Rare sightings of other types of hummingbirds, including the Black-chinned, Calliope, Anna’s hummingbird, and Allen’s hummingbird have also been made. And there has also been one sighting of a Green violetear in the state.
But you are far less likely to see these other hummingbirds in this region.
When Do Hummingbirds Arrive in New Jersey
Ruby-throated hummingbirds typically arrive in New Jersey in the middle or towards the end of April and early May during the spring migration.
Some of these birds will only pass through on their way further north. Others, however, will breed and nest in New Jersey over the summer months.
Though some Rufous hummingbirds may also turn up from around the middle of April onwards, these usually arrive during the first week or so of May.
Male hummingbirds arrive first to scope out and claim their territory. The females will then tend to arrive a week or so later.
Hummingbird migration timings can vary somewhat depending on the weather and conditions in a given year. However, timings rarely vary by more than a week or so.
When determining when you should expect migrating hummingbirds to arrive, remember that the further north you live, the later they will tend to come.
So those in southern portions of the state will tend to see hummingbirds just a little bit sooner in spring than those who live further to the north.
Preparing for the Hummingbird Migration in New Jersey
If you live in New Jersey, you can prepare for the hummingbird migration of spring and ensure that the birds remain happily and healthily in the state over the summer months by readying your garden for their arrival.
Making sure you have a meal for hummingbirds to enjoy on your property can help you protect this bird species. And creating a wildlife-friendly space will mean that delicate hummingbirds have all they need to recover from the long migration north. It will enable them to breed and nest in the state. It will also fortify them to make the long return journey to their wintering grounds in Mexico and parts of Central America.
How to Attract Hummingbirds to a New Jersey Garden
Hummingbirds will tend to return to nesting sites close to where they were born. They can return to the same area over several years.
There are two ways to attract hummingbirds to your garden: the first and most important is to create native planting schemes which provide these birds with what they need – nectar and insects to eat.
Secondly, you can provide hummingbirds with a feeder to give them a much-needed boost during the periods they spend in the area.
Hummingbirds in New Jersey will appreciate it if you always garden organically and add water sources to your garden. But adding plenty of native plants to attract insect prey and provide pollen is the most important thing.
The following is a list of native plants you can use in your garden setup.
- Canada lily.
- Cardinal flower.
- Coral honeysuckle.
- Eastern Columbine.
- Great Blue Lobelia.
- Red elderberry.
- Trumpet creeper.
And a whole host of other useful native plants throughout your garden.
Try adding native tree species like oak, maple, beech, birch, hornbeam, poplar, or pine trees, for example, for nesting sites too.
When Should I Put Out Hummingbird Feeders in New Jersey?
It is best to focus on providing natural sources of food first. But once you have done so, you should place a hummingbird feeder, or even several hummingbird feeders, for those birds that visit your New Jersey garden.
A hummingbird feeder should typically be placed a couple of weeks before you expect the first hummingbirds to arrive, ensuring that food is available even for the first hummingbird arrivals.
In New Jersey, that typically means placing out your feeders sometime in early April or by the middle of the month at the very latest.
When Do Hummingbirds Leave New Jersey?
Male hummingbirds will typically be the first to leave, just as they were the first to arrive. They will tend to depart New Jersey in September. The females and young will stay a little longer, but they will typically exit the state a week or two later.
Some hummingbirds may stay a little longer, but most will have left the state by the middle to end of October.
However, it is not unusual for some hummingbirds to be too infirm or old to make the southwards migration. And these individuals may well linger here over the winter months.
The kind thing is to continue providing for those who did not migrate with native plants and feeders throughout the year if you spot lingerers in your area.
When Should I Take Down Hummingbird Feeders in New Jersey?
Typically, experts advise that hummingbird feeders should be left in place for a couple of weeks after you last see them used. Or a couple of weeks after the level of the mixture in them stops going down.
In New Jersey, this will often be around the end of October or the very beginning of November. But as mentioned above, you may still occasionally encounter hummingbirds in New Jersey outside the critical migration and summer nesting period.
If there are hummingbirds in your garden at any time of year, you should make sure you provide a meal for them whenever they are around.
Taking care of hummingbirds while they are in New Jersey is not only the kind thing to do. Helping hummingbirds, other pollinators, and other beneficial wildlife will also help you enjoy the natural world and can even help you control pest species and manage your garden in an eco-friendly and sustainable way.
Understanding when hummingbirds arrive in and leave your state and preparing for their arrival each year is just the first step to doing all you can for these amazing creatures.