Connecticut Hummingbirds Migration: 6 Documented Treasures

Nine common questions about the migration of Connecticut hummingbirds are discussed in this article.

There Are Six Hummingbirds That Are Documented As Connecticut Humminbirds

There are six hummingbirds documented as Connecticut hummingbirds and one additional hummingbird identified as a Connecticut hummingbird but not documented as seen in Connecticut.

Connecticut hummingbirds are listed in the order of frequency seen:

Hummingbirds:Number seen:Documented:% seen:
Ruby-throated47,918Documented99.14%
Rufous345Documented0.17%
Calliope45Documented0.09%
Black-chinned26Documented0.05%
Broad-billed1Documented0.00%
Mexican Violetear1Documented0.00%
White-eared0Not Documented0.00%
Total seen:48,336
These are the Connecticut statistics at the end of 2023, as reported by eBird.org.
Click “Documented” link above to see current eBird sighting statistics for Connecticut.
Male Ruby throated 11 mz13hummingbirds
Male Ruby-throated
Photo by: mz13hummingbirds

When Do Connecticut Hummingbirds Arrive?

Most Connecticut hummingbirds arrive in May, but the earliest arrivals are seen in early April, and new arrivals continue through June.

Connecticut hummingbirds begin their spring migration north from as far away as Panama or as close as Mexico.
Some arrive in Connecticut as early as April, while other late migrators may arrive as late as June.  but by the end of June, all hummingbirds that are migrating further than Connecticut will be gone from Connecticut.

The first migrating hummingbirds will be males, followed by females about a week later. The males arrive first to stake out the territory that they will defend as they try to attract a female.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds are by far the most commonly seen Connecticut hummingbirds and will be the first migrating hummingbirds to be seen in Connecticut.

Watch for the male’s vividly colored gorget; a week or so later, the females will begin to appear at your feeders.
See my article: How to Identify a Hummingbird’s Gender in 4 Easy Steps

According to the Missouri Department Of Conservation, if Connecticut hummingbird enthusiasts start feeding them when they arrive there is less chance they will move on and will decide to spend the summer in Connecticut.

Connecticut hummingbirds starting their spring migration north from Panama City, Panama need to fly about 4,600 miles over land, or 2,295 miles if they fly across the Gulf of Mexico, to reach Hartford Connecticut.
Connecticut hummingbirds starting their journey north from Mexico, at the United States’ southernmost border at Brownsville Texas, need to fly 1,787 miles to reach Hartford Connecticut.

Are There Connecticut Hummingbirds That Live in the State Year-round?  

There are no hummingbird species that live in Connecticut year-round, however, even though rare, the Rufous hummingbird is seen and documented in Connecticut in the middle of winter.

Male Rufous 4 OR
Male Rufous Hummingbird
Photo by: Kevin Walsh

The general public is unaware of how cold-tolerant hummingbirds actually are.
Some banded hummingbirds have been observed at temperatures as low as -9 degrees Fahrenheit with a wind chill of -36 degrees Fahrenheit, according to eBird.org.

Which Connecticut Hummingbirds Breed and Nest in the State?

The Ruby-throated hummingbird is the only hummingbird that breeds and nests in Connecticut.

Ruby-throated – The Ruby-throated hummingbird has an extensive breeding area that covers the entire eastern half of the United States and extends into Canada as far west as Alberta.

Female Ruby 1 TN
Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Photo by: paulapaintsart
Ruby throated Breeding Map Picture
Connecticut Hummingbirds Breeding Map – Ruby-throated

The entire reason for northern migration, much like salmon swimming upstream to their place of birth to lay eggs, is for female hummingbirds to return to the area where they were born to build a nest, mate, and raise a family.

When a female hummingbird arrives at the breeding grounds, her attention shifts to building a nest and then looking for a mate.

Hummingbird females prefer to build their nests in deciduous trees, 10 to 20 feet above the ground.

It will take her between 5 and 7 days to construct the nest of materials such as plant down, moss, and fine plant fibers, decorated with lichens and held together by spider webs.
See my article: Hummingbird Parents: (Mating to Nesting)
See my article: Baby Hummingbirds: (Egg to Fledgling)

Humm parents Mate to Nest
Female Allen’s on Nest
Photo by: Aaron Gomperts

Each species of male hummingbird has its own unique mating dance ritual of courtship to attract a female. They do perfectly choreographed dives and dance maneuvers to attract a flirty female.
See my article: Hummingbird Dance: 5 Interpretive Explanations

During the mating ritual, there is no penetration since male hummingbirds lack external sexual organs.

The “Cloacal Kiss occurs when the cloacae, (pronounced “kloh-ay-see”), of both hummingbirds are brought together during the brief mating procedure, which lasts only three to five seconds.

After the Cloacal kiss, the female must begin building the nest immediately.

Each brood of hummingbirds typically produces two eggs, laid on consecutive days.

The majority of hummingbirds have two broods annually, although some may have more depending on the timing of their migration and the duration of the days they spend in their breeding areas.

Connecticut nesting hummingbirds usually have 2 broods per year but some may have time to work in a third brood.

When Should I Put Up My Feeders for Connecticut Hummingbirds?

Connecticut hummingbird enthusiasts should put out hummingbird feeders in late April to attract the very earliest arriving migrating hummingbirds.
The majority of Connecticut migrating hummingbirds will arrive in early May.

If migrating hummingbirds are fed when they start to arrive there is less chance of them moving on.

Hummingbird aficionados can reduce the likelihood that hummingbirds will leave the state and elect to spend the summer thereby providing food for them as soon as they arrive, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Approximately one week after the arrival of the male hummingbirds, the females will follow.

Other Connecticut hummingbirds will continue to arrive until about mid-June.
Hummingbirds seen in Connecticut after mid-June will be hummingbirds that will spend their entire summer in Connecticut.

Make sure to use high-quality nectar solutions in your hummingbird feeders; homemade nectar works best.
See my article: Forget Commercial Hummingbird Food, Try Making Homemade Nectar
See my article: The One Thing You Need to Eliminate From a Hummingbird’s Diet

How Long Do Connecticut Hummingbirds Stay in the State?

Connecticut hummingbirds stay in the state for at least five months.
They will start arriving as early as April and most will be gone in October.
Some Rufous are seen in Connecticut during winter, but most migrate south for the winter.
No hummingbird species live in Connecticut year-round.

The general public is unaware of how tolerant hummingbirds actually are.
Some banded hummingbirds have been observed at temperatures as low as -9 degrees Fahrenheit with a wind chill of -36 degrees Fahrenheit, according to eBird.org.

Some migrating seasonal hummingbirds choose to over-winter in Connecticut and those too old or injured to migrate will be the only likely hummingbirds Connecticut hummingbird enthusiasts will see during the winter.

The extremely cold-tolerant Rufous hummingbird is the most probable migratory hummingbird to decide to spend the winter in Connecticut.

In Pennsylvania, a state known for its cold harsh winters, the Valley Forge Audubon Society reports winter sightings of the Allen’s, Calliope, Rufous, and Black-chinned hummingbirds.

Because hummingbirds have such long memories, they will revisit the flowers and feeders they frequented during their spring migration and will remember them when they migrate back to the south in the fall.
See my article: Hummingbird Adaptation and Remarkable Ability to Locate Food

The most common Connecticut hummingbird seen during the hot summer months is the Ruby-throated hummingbird with Rufous hummingbirds being a distant second.

Finding strategies to provide your hummingbirds with cool nectar might be crucial when the summer heat becomes unpleasant and tough to handle.
See my article: How to Help Hummingbirds in Hot Weather

When Do Connecticut Hummingbirds Leave the State?

Connecticut hummingbirds begin leaving the state as early as August, and by mid-October, they have migrated to their over-wintering areas in Mexico and Central America.
No hummingbirds live in Connecticut year-round.

Most of Connecticut migrating hummingbirds are gone by early October but a few stragglers might stay until the end of the year.

A few older hummingbirds will be the first to start the fall migration, maybe as early as late July, depending on their strength and energy, with the youngest hummingbirds finishing the fall migration by mid-November.

An article from the University of Southern Mississippi states that the hummingbirds that are the oldest will begin their migration earlier than the others.

This elongated migration time frame ensures late straggling migrants have enough food available to fuel their bodies before making the long taxing migration south for the winter.

Some migrating hummingbirds Connecticut will possibly see during the winter are migrating hummingbirds that are too old or injured to migrate.

The circannual (annual internal clock) and circadian (day internal clock) rhythms cause hummingbird migration.

The inclination of a single hummingbird to migrate is triggered by a variety of circumstances, including variations in temperature, time of year, and weather; other causes include a loss in food supplies and a reduction in sunshine due to shortened days.

Similar to the spring migration, male hummingbirds start the fall migration to the south first. As soon as the female hummingbirds have finished rearing their young to the point that they can travel independently, they will set out on their southern fall migration.

When Should I Take Down My Feeders for Connecticut Hummingbirds?

The beginning of October, or after a few weeks without any hummingbird sightings, is the ideal time to remove Connecticut hummingbird feeders for the winter.
Feeders are left up all winter by some Connecticuter to feed the uncommon winter hummingbirds and those that are too old or wounded to migrate.

The dilemma hummingbird enthusiasts struggle with every year is whether to leave the hummingbird feeders up all year or take them down during the winter.

Annas in SNOW 2 Andrea Varju
Anna’s hummingbird
Photo by: Andrea Varju

The challenge then becomes preventing the nectar from hummingbirds from freezing.
See my article: 11 DIY Ways To Keep Hummingbird Nectar From Freezing

Investing in a hummingbird feeder warmer, like the Hummer Health feeder heater, is one approach to prevent hummingbird nectar from freezing.
Unfortunately, it is only compatible with a select few types of hummingbird feeders, like the Aspect’s HummZinger feeder.

Some Connecticut hummingbird admirers leave hummingbird feeders up all winter long to provide life-nourishing nectar to the Rufous hummingbird who sometimes over-winters in Connecticut.

Most Black-chinned, Broad-billed, Calliope, Mexican violetear, Ruby-throated, and White-eared hummingbirds will not spend the winter in Connecticut and will decide to migrate south to Mexico for the winter.

Keeping hummingbird feeders up during the winter is a noble gesture that helps other migrating species that are injured or too old to migrate by providing them with nectar.
See my article: 11 DIY Ways to Keep Hummingbird Nectar From Freezing
See my article: Should I Keep My Hummingbird Feeder Out During the Winter?

Hummingbird enthusiasts who leave hummingbird feeders up all winter provide much-welcome nutrition for late migrators and hummingbirds too old or injured to migrate.

The general public is unaware of how tolerant hummingbirds actually are.
Some banded hummingbirds have been observed at temperatures as low as -9 degrees Fahrenheit with a wind chill of -36 degrees Fahrenheit, according to eBird.org.
See my article:  3 Reasons Why Hummingbirds Are Banded

Hummingbirds that depend on these wintertime feeders may die if hummingbird feeders are taken down in the middle of winter during periods of below-freezing temperatures.
See my article: 11 DIY Ways to Keep Hummingbird Nectar From Freezing

How Long Does It Take a Connecticut Hummingbird to Migrate?

Connecticut hummingbirds require 59 hours of flying at its average flight speed of 30mph to fly from Hartford Connecticut to the most distant Mexican border 1,787 miles away.
Hummingbirds migrating to Panama 2,295 miles across the Gulf of Mexico or 4,600 over land, will need to fly 76 hours or 153 hours respectively.

Some fly at a relaxed distance as slow as 1 hour per day, and others fly up to 500 miles non-stop in about 20 hours as some do while migrating across the Gulf of Mexico.

Unlike other migrating birds, hummingbirds do not travel in flocks.
Individual hummingbirds travel according to their own internal clock.

This staggered migration pattern ensures resources are not consumed and depleted all at one time.

Hummingbirds regularly acquire between 25% and 50% of their body weight as migration draws nearby eating more nectar from feeders and blooming plants and by collecting more insects in midair for protein.

This rise in body fat provides the hummingbird with energy for its protracted migration flight.

Expect to see an increased volume of southern migrating hummingbird visitors to your feeders in Connecticut during this fall migration from late August through early September.

The hummingbirds that visited your feeders during the spring migration will remember exactly where your feeder is located and will most likely revisit that same feeder on their way to their over-wintering area in Mexico and Central America.
See my article: Hummingbird Adaptation and Remarkable Ability to Locate Food

Where Do Connecticut Hummingbirds Go in the Winter?

Connecticut Ruby-throated, Rufous, Calliope, Black-chinned, Broad-billed, Mexican Violetear, and White-eared hummingbirds travel south to over-winter in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama.

Ruby-throated – The Ruby-throated hummingbird overwinters primarily in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. Ruby-throated hummingbirds are seen in some years, during the winter months, in scattered areas throughout the USA including New Mexico, Texas, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

Ruby throated Overwintering Map Picture
Connecticut Hummingbirds – Ruby-throated Over-Wintering Area

Rufous – The Rufous hummingbird overwinters primarily in Mexico. Rufous hummingbirds are seen in some years, during the winter months, in scattered areas throughout the USA including New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.

Male Rufous 4 OR
Male Rufous Hummingbird
Photo by: Kevin Walsh
Rufous Overwintering Map Picture
Connecticut Hummingbirds – Rufous Over-Wintering Area

Calliope – The Calliope hummingbird overwinters primarily on the west coast of Mexico. Calliope hummingbirds are seen in some years, during winter months, in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York.

Calliope Male ID
Male Calliope Hummingbird
Photo by: sony_alpha_male
Male Calliope 1 Bob Free CA
Adult Male Calliope Hummingbird
Photo by: Bob Free
Calliope Overwintering Map Picture
Connecticut Hummingbirds – Calliope Over-Wintering Area

Black-chinned – The Black-chinned hummingbird overwinters primarily in Mexico. Black-chinned hummingbirds are seen in some years, during winter months, in scattered areas throughout the USA including Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, Arkansas, North Carolina, and as far north as Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Male Black chinned bird.whisperer UT
Male Black-Chinned Hummingbird
Photo by: bird.whisperer
Black chinned Overwintering Map Picture
Connecticut Hummingbirds – Black-chinned Over-Wintering Area

Broad-billed – The Broad-billed hummingbird overwinters primarily in Mexico. Broad-tailed hummingbirds are seen in some years, during the winter months, in scattered areas throughout the USA, including Texas, Arizona, Louisiana, Florida, and Utah.

Broad billed hummingbirdsbysuprise AZ
Male Broad-billed Hummingbird
Photo by: hummingbirdsbysuprise
Broad billed Breeding Map Picture
Connecticut Hummingbirds – Broad-billed Over-Wintering Area

Mexican Violetear – The Mexican Violetear hummingbird overwinters primarily in Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras. Mexican Violetear hummingbirds are seen in some years, during winter months, in scattered areas throughout the USA including Arizona, Texas, and Louisiana.

Mexican Violetear Overwintering Map Picture
Connecticut Hummingbirds – Mexican Violetear Over-Wintering Area

White-eared – The White-eared hummingbird overwinters primarily in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua.

Male White Eared Hummingbird Miller Canyon AZ
Male White-Eared Hummingbird
Photo by: jordanmartin_photography
White eared Overwintering Map Picture
Connecticut Hummingbirds – White-eared Over-Wintering Area

Every hummingbird has an exceptional memory. Throughout their spring migration, they can recall every flower or feeder they visited, and they will revisit those spots every year.

Hummingbirds have been seen to return to a feeder even after it has been removed for a few years.
See my article: Hummingbird Adaptation and Remarkable Ability to Locate Food

Check out my other posts on Hummingbird Questions

Happy Hummingbird Watching!

Elizabeth Donaldson

Hi Everyone! I have always loved our backyard and have been fascinated with all the wildlife living there. I am especially amazed by the skill, strength, and beauty of hummingbirds. I hope this article answered your questions.

Recent Posts