When Do Hummingbirds Leave Colorado?
As the summer season comes to an end, many bird enthusiasts in Colorado start wondering when the charming hummingbirds will depart from the region. These tiny birds are known for their vibrant colors, rapid wingbeats, and ability to hover in mid-air. They are a delight to watch as they dart around, feeding on nectar from flowers. However, like many migratory birds, hummingbirds do not stay in one place all year. So, when do hummingbirds leave Colorado?
Hummingbird Migration Patterns
Hummingbirds are neotropical migrants, meaning they spend their summers breeding in North America and migrate to Central or South America for the winter. In Colorado, the two most commonly seen hummingbird species are the Broad-tailed Hummingbird and the Rufous Hummingbird. Both of these species breed in the state but leave when the weather starts to turn colder.
The Departure Time
Hummingbirds start their migration southward from Colorado in late summer or early fall. The exact timing can vary depending on several factors including weather conditions, food availability, and hormonal changes. Typically, the departure begins around mid to late August and continues through September. By early October, most hummingbirds have already left Colorado for their wintering grounds.
Reasons for Migration
There are a few reasons why hummingbirds undertake this incredible migration journey. Firstly, they follow the availability of food. As the temperatures drop in Colorado, the nectar-producing flowers start to wither away, reducing the hummingbirds’ food sources. By migrating to warmer regions, they can find a consistent supply of nectar throughout the winter. Another reason for migration is to avoid the harsh winter conditions, such as freezing temperatures and lack of food, which could be fatal for these small birds.
FAQs about Hummingbird Migration in Colorado:
1. How can I tell when hummingbirds are about to leave?
Hummingbirds often show signs of restlessness before migration. They may start feeding more frequently and intensely, bulking up for the long journey ahead.
2. Will hummingbirds return to the same spot next year?
Hummingbirds have an excellent memory and can remember the locations of reliable food sources. Therefore, there is a good chance they will return to the same area next year.
3. How far do hummingbirds travel during migration?
Hummingbirds can travel incredible distances during migration. Some species may fly over 2,000 miles from Colorado to their wintering grounds in Central or South America.
4. Can I keep my hummingbird feeders up after they leave?
It is recommended to keep your feeders up for a couple of weeks after the hummingbirds leave, as there may be stragglers passing through. However, once it gets too cold, you can remove the feeders for the winter.
5. Should I change the nectar in my feeders as migration approaches?
It is best to keep fresh nectar in your feeders throughout the migration period. As the birds bulk up for the journey, they will rely heavily on the energy provided by the nectar.
6. Do hummingbirds migrate during the day or night?
Hummingbirds migrate during the day, taking advantage of the favorable daylight conditions for navigation and foraging.
7. Can I help hummingbirds during migration?
Absolutely! You can plant native flowers that bloom late in the season to provide a natural food source. Additionally, keeping clean and filled feeders can offer a valuable energy boost for these tiny travelers.
In conclusion, hummingbirds start leaving Colorado in late summer or early fall to migrate to their wintering grounds in Central or South America. By mid-October, most hummingbirds have already departed. Understanding their migration patterns and providing food sources can ensure a successful journey for these remarkable creatures. So, enjoy the hummingbirds while they are here, and marvel at their return next year.