Hummingbird Migration in Texas

When Do Hummingbirds Arrive in Texas?

Texas’ earliest migrating hummingbirds begin arriving as early as the end of February. Many continue north to their preferred nesting area, somewhere near their own birth.
The last of the spring migrating hummingbirds are gone by mid-June but many will stay in Texas all summer.

Texas has five year-round residents; the Allen’s, Berylline, Broad-tailed, Buff-bellied and Calliope hummingbirds.
Even though the Calliope is seen year-round, they are rarely seen in June.

Allen’s Hummingbirds:

Male Allens 2 inthewildwithrick CA
Male Allen’s Hummingbird
Photo by: IntheWildwithRick

Berylline Hummingbird:

Broad-Tailed Hummingbird:

Broad tailed bird.whisperer UT
Male Broad-Tailed Hummingbird
Photo by: bird.whisperer

Buff-Bellied Hummingbird:

Calliope Hummingbird:

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 Female ID
Female Calliope Hummingbird
Photo by: sony_alpha_male
Female Calliope 1 Anthony Lujan
Female Calliope Hummingbird 
Photo by: Anthony Lujan

What Are The Most Common Hummingbirds Seen In Texas?

The most common hummingbirds seen in Texas are the Ruby-throated, Black-chinned, and Buff-bellied hummingbirds.
On average, out of 10,000 hummingbird sightings in Texas, 4,015 (40%) will be Ruby-throated, 3,368 (33%) will be Black-chinned and 1,381 (13%) will be Buff-bellied hummingbird sightings.

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds:

Male Ruby throat 1 OHIO
Male Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
Photo by: Rekha Pawar
Female Ruby throat 3
Female Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
Photo by: Dgen.photos

Black-chinned Hummingbirds:

Male Black Chinned ID
Male Black-Chinned Hummingbird
Photo by: sony_alpha_male
Female Black chinned AZ 1
Adult Female Black-Chinned Hummingbird
Photo by: hummingbirdsbysuprise

Buff-bellied Hummingbird:

Beginning their northern journey from as far away as Panama, or as close as Mexico, migrating hummingbirds arrive in Texas in late February, some late migrators may arrive as late as mid-May, but by the end of June, all hummingbirds that are migrating further than Texas are gone from Texas.

The first migrating hummingbirds will be males followed by the 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.

Black-chinned hummingbirds will probably be the first migrating hummingbirds to arrive in Texas.

Keep your eye out for the brightly colored gorget of the male, the females will start showing up at your feeders about a week later.
See my article: How to Identify a Hummingbird’s Gender in 4 Easy Steps

Hummingbirds starting their spring migration from Panama need to fly about 1,962 miles to reach Dallas – Fort Worth if they fly across the Gulf of Mexico, and 3,030 miles if they fly only over land mass.

Hummingbirds starting their journey from mid-Mexico need to fly about 951 miles to reach Dallas- Fort Worth Texas.

What Hummingbirds Breed and Nest in Texas?

The Black-chinned, Broad-billed, Broad-tailed, Lucifer, Mexican Violetear, Rivoli’s, and Ruby-throated hummingbirds all breed and nest in Texas.

See Black-chinned breeding map.
See Broad-billed breeding map.
See Broad-tailed breeding map.
See Lucifer breeding map.
See Mexican Violetear breeding map.
See Rivoli’s breeding map.
See Ruby-throated breeding map.

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

Once the female hummingbird reaches the breeding grounds the focus turns to building a nest and then finding a partner with which to mate.

Female hummingbirds prefer building nests 10 to 20 feet off the ground in deciduous trees.

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)

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

There is no penetration during the mating ritual as male hummingbirds do not have any external sexual organs.

The hummingbird mating process only lasts for approximately 3-5 seconds while the cloacae (kloh-ay-see) of both hummingbirds are pressed together in what is called the “Cloacal Kiss” (kloh-a-coal kiss).

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

Female hummingbirds prefer building nests 10 to 20 feet off the ground in deciduous trees.

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)

Hummingbirds usually lay 2 eggs per brood, one each on consecutive days.

Most hummingbirds have 2 broods per year, but depending on migration timing and day-length time in their nesting destinations, some hummingbirds can have more than 2 broods per year.

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

When Should I Put Out Hummingbird Feeders in Texas?

Texas hummingbird enthusiasts should put out hummingbird feeders in the middle of February to attract the earliest arriving migrating hummingbirds.
Many Texans leave hummingbird feeders up all year for the year-round hummingbirds, and those to old or injured to migrate that over-winter in Texas.

Male hummingbirds will be the first to arrive followed by female hummingbirds about a week later.

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

Be sure to fill your hummingbird feeders with good quality nectar solutions, making your own feeder nectar is 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 Hummingbirds Stay in  Texas?

Texas migrating hummingbirds start arriving in late February and most will be gone by October.
Allen’s, Berylline, Broad-tailed, Buff-bellied, and Calliope hummingbirds live in Texas year-round, but Calliopes are rarely seen in June.
The Ruby-throated over-winter in Texas but are absent in June and July.

Hummingbirds are much more cold-tolerant than most people believe.
According to eBird.org, some banded hummingbirds have been documented in temperatures of -9 degrees Fahrenheit with a wind chill of -36 degrees Fahrenheit.

Some normally migrating seasonal hummingbirds, choosing to over-winter in Texas, or too old or injured to migrate, will also be likely hummingbirds Texans hummingbird enthusiasts will see during the winter.

Hummingbirds have exceptional memories and will remember every flower or feeder they visited on the spring migration and will return to those nectar sources on their return to southern migration in the fall.
See my article: Hummingbird Adaptation and Remarkable Ability to Locate Food

The most common hummingbirds Texans will see during the hot summer months will be the Black-chinned hummingbird with the Buff-bellied hummingbird being a close second.

When the obstacles of the summer heat are difficult to manage and unbearable, finding ways to keep your hummingbirds happy and hydrated with cool nectar can be critical.
See my article: How to Help Hummingbirds in Hot Weather

When Do Hummingbirds Leave  Texas?

Texas migrating hummingbirds begin leaving the state in late October, migrating to their over-wintering areas in Mexico and Central America, but a few stragglers might stay all winter.
Allen’s, Berylline, Broad-tailed, Buff-bellied, and Calliope hummingbirds live in Texas year-round.

The older hummingbirds will be the first to start the fall migration in late September with the youngest hummingbirds finishing the fall migration by mid-November.

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

Hummingbird migration is triggered by the circadian (internal daily clock) and the circannual (yearly internal clock) rhythm.
Keeping hummingbird feeders up during fall migration will not dissuade them from migrating.

Changes in the weather, temperature, time of the season, the decline in the food supply, and decreased amount of sunlight because of shortening days are all factors that trigger an individual hummingbird’s instinct to migrate.

As with spring migration, male hummingbirds are the first to begin the southern migration in the fall.

The female migrating hummingbirds will be next and will begin their southern fall migration as soon as they have completed raising their offspring to the ability to migrate themselves.

The youngsters will be the last to migrate.

How Long Does It Take a Texas  Hummingbird to Migrate?

It takes a Texas hummingbird about 32 hours of flying at its average migrating flight speed of 30mph to fly from the middle of Texas to the middle of Mexico 951 miles away.
Hummingbirds migrating to Panama 3,030 miles away over land or 1,962 miles across the Gulf, will need to fly 65 or 101 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.

Hummingbirds do not migrate in flocks as do other migrating birds.
Hummingbirds migrate individually on their own personal time clock.

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

As migration approaches, hummingbirds routinely gain 25% to 50% of their body weight by consuming increased quantities of nectar from feeders and flowering plants as well as catching an increased quantity of bugs mid-air for protein.

This increase in body fat helps fuel the hummingbird on its long migration journey.

Expect to see an increased volume of southern migrating hummingbird visitors to your feeders in Texas during this fall migration from September through November.

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

When To Take Down Hummingbird Feeders in Texas?

The best time to take down hummingbird feeders for the winter in Texas is mid-November or the absence of hummingbirds for a couple of weeks.
Many Texans leave feeders up all winter to feed year-round residents, migrating hummingbirds that choose to stay the winter, and those too old or injured 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.

Some Texas hummingbird admirers leave hummingbird feeders up all winter long to provide life-nourishing nectar to Texas residents, Allen’s, Berylline, Broad-tailed, and Buff-bellied hummingbirds, as well as some seasonal hummingbirds that choose to stay in Texas for the winter.

Most migrating hummingbirds will not spend the winter in Texas and will decide to migrate south to Mexico or Central America for the winter.

The selfless act of keeping hummingbird feeders up all winter also provides nectar to other migrating species unable to migrate because of injury or old age.
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 that leave hummingbird feeders up all winter provide much-welcomed nutrition for year-round, migrating, and hummingbirds too old or injured to migrate.

Hummingbirds are much more tolerant of cold temperatures than most people realize.

According to eBird.org, some banded hummingbirds have been documented in temperatures of -9 degrees Fahrenheit with a wind chill of -36 degrees Fahrenheit.
See my article:  3 Reasons Why Hummingbirds Are Banded

Taking hummingbird feeders down during rare Texas episodes of below-freezing temperatures could be fatal to hummingbirds depending on these winter-time feeders.

Where Do Texas Hummingbirds Go in The Winter?

Texas resident hummingbirds, Allen’s, Berylline, Broad-tailed, and Buff-bellied hummingbirds, remain in Texas over the winter.
Texas migrating hummingbirds travel south to over-winter in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama.

All hummingbirds have excellent memories and can remember every flower or feeder they visited during spring migration and will return to those locations along their migration pathway year after year.

Some hummingbirds have been documented returning to a feeder for a couple of years after it was removed.
See my article: Hummingbird Adaptation and Remarkable Ability to Locate Food

See my article: Hummingbirds Found in  Texas: (Pictures and Sounds)

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.

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