Is there anything more delightful than spotting a hummingbird buzzing about, gathering nectar? It’s no wonder that many people consider it a good omen to see a hummingbird. These tiny, colorful birds bring joy to New York’s bird watchers and gardeners every year!
When can people in New York expect to see hummingbirds arrive in the state, and when do they leave for the season?
New York boasts a long hummingbird season. Hummingbirds should arrive by early to mid-May, although you may be lucky and see one in late April. After a season of mating, laying eggs, and raising their young, hummingbirds depart New York near the end of September and early October.
If you want to increase your chances of seeing hummingbirds in New York, you need to know when they will arrive and how to make your garden welcoming to these beautiful creatures.
What Kinds of Hummingbirds Come to New York?
New York is the seasonal home to several different varieties of hummingbirds. That means that New York’s hummingbird watchers can enjoy all sorts of colors and patterns if they know what to look for!
Some varieties are much more common than others. For example, beautiful Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the most plentiful hummingbird in New York. Males boast a ruby-colored throat, a white collar, a forked tail, and a gorgeous green back. Meanwhile, females have shimmering green backs and tail feathers with white, black, and greyish-green bands.
Rufous hummingbirds are a little less common than Ruby-throated hummingbirds, but they are not rare in New York’s gardens or at hummingbird feeders statewide. Males have a glossy, orange-red throat, and females have speckled, white-ish throats, backs and crowns in green, and brown tail feathers with white tips.
Less common than the other two are Calliope hummingbirds and Anna’s hummingbirds. Calliope hummingbirds are North America’s smallest breeding bird, whereas Anna’s hummingbirds are among the largest varieties in the country. Anna’s hummingbirds are also one of the only hummingbirds that vocalize, as most species are silent.
When Can You Expect to See Hummingbirds Arrive in New York?
Ruby-throated hummingbirds, the most common hummingbird in New York, usually arrive in early to mid-May. They arrive for the season, settling into the region for the spring and summer. As the weather warms, you may see them gathering nectar from wildflowers, or you can attract them to your garden or window with hummingbird feeders.
Do Male or Female Hummingbirds Arrive First?
Interestingly, hummingbirds do not all arrive at the same time. Male hummingbirds typically arrive first. You will likely start seeing males about two weeks before you see any females. Only adults will come; they will mate and hatch eggs while they are here in New York.
Are Hummingbird Migration Patterns the Same Year After Year?
It would be wonderful to have the predictability of the same pattern every year, but there are generally small changes to the migration patterns of these tiny birds. Weather conditions are one of the most common causes of hummingbirds arriving a little earlier or later than usual. Hummingbirds feed on small insects, so any environmental event that affects insects could also affect their migration behavior.
However, you can generally expect to see them arrive in early May.
Preparing for the Arrival of Hummingbirds in New York
It’s hard to imagine seeing a hummingbird and not getting a smile on your face! Because they are so small, it can be easy to miss them altogether, which is why seeing one feels like such a joyous thing.
People who love seeing hummingbirds can increase their chances of spotting these tiny creatures by making their yards, gardens, and flowerbeds desirable to the hummingbirds arriving in New York every May.
Start by planting plants attractive to hummingbirds. Hummingbirds are pollinators, so they are drawn to pollinator-friendly plants. Don’t forget to prioritize native plants over invasive or imported ones, and choose plants appropriate for any wildlife or pets that share your space.
Ideally, these plants will be growing and blooming by the time the hummingbirds arrive in early May.
Nectar-producing plants will provide a meal for hummingbirds and attract insects. A hummingbird’s diet consists primarily of nectar and insects. Attract the bugs to attract the hummingbirds!
What Plants Should You Grow?
New York-native grasses, such as little bluestem, indiangrass, and switchgrass, are excellent for your hummingbird-friendly landscaping!
Nectar-producing perennial plants include bee balms, daylilies, lupines, and columbines. Annuals include impatiens, petunias, and cleomes. You can also plant biennials, including hollyhocks and foxgloves.
Avoid using chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and weedkillers in your garden. These chemicals can harm the delicate hummingbirds you are trying to attract.
Can You Attract Hummingbirds with Feeders?
A healthy garden full of native, nectar-producing plants is the best way to bring resident hummingbirds to your landscaping. However, there are circumstances when a hummingbird feeder can supplement the needs of hummingbirds during their mating and reproduction season.
For example, if a late-season storm has hindered the growth of native plants in the area, there may be a reduction in the natural resources that hummingbirds expect when they arrive. Providing a hummingbird feeder can help the birds survive until the foliage recovers.
Hobbyists may also enjoy placing a feeder outside of an apartment window, especially if they are near an existing garden that entices hummingbirds to the area. It is important to recognize that these feeders will not provide hummingbirds with the full range of nutrients they need.
When Should You Put Out Your Hummingbird Feeders in New York?
Hummingbird feeders can be put out in late April. These feeders will supplement the diets of early arrivals or hummingbirds on their way further north.
It’s also the best time to put out other items that will assist hummingbirds in their migration, such as water sources and potted flowers.
When Do Hummingbirds Leave New York?
Males will leave first, followed by females and juveniles about two weeks later. The birds’ departure will take place between late September and early October, providing New York’s hummingbird watchers with a long season to enjoy these beautiful birds.
When Should You Put Away Your Hummingbird Feeders?
The occasional straggler could stick around as late as mid-October, so avoid putting away your hummingbird feeders until you are confident that they have all migrated for the winter.
In unusually warm seasons, or to help hummingbirds migrate from further north, you can leave your hummingbird feeder up until late November or even early December. You may not see any activity at your feeder in these late fall months, but keeping it up past the migration season can help any hummingbirds running behind.
Differences in Hummingbird Patterns Throughout New York
New York is a large state, so you can expect to see some differences depending on where you live in the state. Even though there are no huge differences between when hummingbirds arrive in Western, Southern, and Upstate New York, you can expect to see the birds earlier in the Southern and Western parts of the state. Upstate is not far behind!