Hummingbird Migration in Arizona

When Do Hummingbirds Arrive in Arizona?

Arizona migrating hummingbirds begin arriving in February and continue north to their preferred nesting area, somewhere near their own birth.
The last of the spring migrating Arizona hummingbirds are gone by mid-June, however, many will stay in  Arizona for the rest of the summer.

Arizona has three year-round hummingbird residents:

  • Anna’s
  • Black-chinned
  • Costa’s

The most common hummingbirds seen in Arizona are the Anna’s, Broad-billed, and Black-chinned Hummingbirds.

Out of 10,000 hummingbird sightings in Arizona, 3,600 will be Anna’s, 1,600 will be Broad-billed, and Black-chinned will be 1,500 sightings.

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

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.

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 2,600 miles to reach Arizona.

Hummingbirds starting their journey from mid-Mexico need to fly about 1,100 miles to reach mid-Arizona.

What Hummingbirds Breed and Nest in Arizona?

There are 10 hummingbirds that breed and nest in Arizona:

The above hummingbirds are confirmed as breeding and nesting in Arizona by the United States Department of Agriculture in their publication “Maintaining and Improving Habitat for Hummingbirds in Arizona and New Mexico”.

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 to mate, build a nest, and raise a family.

Once the breeding grounds have been reached, the focus turns to finding a partner with which to mate.

Each species of male hummingbirds 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 Arizona, 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  Arizona?

Arizona hummingbird enthusiasts should put out hummingbird feeders in the middle of February to attract the earliest arriving migrating hummingbirds, however, many Arizona hummingbird enthusiasts leave their hummingbird feeders up all year for the 3 hummingbirds that live in Arizona year-round.

Anna’s, Black-chinned, and Costa’s hummingbirds live year-round in Arizona.
See my article: What Types of Hummingbirds are Found in Arizona.

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

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

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  Arizona?

Anna’s, Black-chinned, and Costa’s hummingbirds live in Arizona year-round.
Arizona’s migrating hummingbirds will start arriving in late February and will be gone by December.
Some of the hummingbirds that usually migrate may choose to over-winter in Arizona, but most will migrate south for the winter.

Anna’s, Black-chinned, Costa’s, and some normally migrating seasonal hummingbirds choosing to over-winter in Arizona, or being too old or injured to migrate, will be the only likely hummingbirds Arizonaian 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 seen in Arizona are the Anna’s, Broad-billed, and Black-chinned Hummingbirds.

Out of 10,000 hummingbird sightings in Arizona, 3,600 will be Anna’s, 1,600 will be Broad-billed, and Black-chinned will be 1,500 sightings.

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  Arizona?

Arizona’s migrating hummingbirds begin leaving the state in late September, migrating south to their over-wintering areas in Mexico and Central America.
Arizona Migrating hummingbirds will all be gone by mid to late November.
Anna’s, Black-chinned, and Costa’s hummingbirds live in Arizona year-round.

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 Arizonaians 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.

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 begin their southern fall migration as soon as they have completed raising their offspring to the ability to migrate themselves.

How Long Does It Take an Arizona Hummingbird to Migrate?

It takes an Arizona hummingbird about 37 hours of flying at its average migrating flight speed of 30mph to fly from the middle of Arizona to the middle of Mexico 1,100 miles away.
Hummingbirds migrating to Panama 2,600 miles away, will need to fly 87 hours.

Some fly at the relaxed distance as slow as 1 hour per day, 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 Arizona 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  Arizona?

The best time to take down hummingbird feeders for the winter in Arizona is mid-to-late November or when no hummingbirds have been seen at the feeders for a couple of weeks.
Many Arizonians leave feeders up all winter to feed resident hummingbirds and those too old or injured to migrate.

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

Some Arizona hummingbird admirers leave hummingbird feeders up all winter long to provide life-nourishing nectar to Arizona’s year-round residents, the Anna’s, Black-chinned, and Costa’s hummingbirds, as well as some seasonal hummingbirds that choose to stay in Arizona 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 mid-winter during episodes of below-freezing temperatures could be fatal to hummingbirds depending on these winter-time feeders.
See my article: 11 DIY Ways to Keep Hummingbird Nectar From Freezing

Where Do Arizona Hummingbirds Go in The Winter?

Arizona resident hummingbirds, the Anna’s, Black-chinned, and Costa’s hummingbirds, remain in Arizona over the winter.
Arizona 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 Arizona: (Pictures and Sounds)

Happy Hummingbird Watching!

Male Anna’s Hummingbird
Photo by: hummingbirdsbysurprise
Taken: Hassayampa River Preserve, Arizona

Note: The flashy and colorful iridescent magenta gorget and crown.

Male Anna’s Hummingbird
Photo by: hummingbirdsbysurprise
Taken: Hassayampa River Preserve, Arizona

Note: In certain lighting the gorget and crown can appear dark.

Elizabeth Donaldson

Hi Everyone! I have always been fascinated and amazed by the skill, strength, and beauty of hummingbirds. I hope this article answered your questions.

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