Sep 26, 2018 | Featured in: Watching Backyard Birds, October 2017

Ask Birdsquatch: Hummer Feeder Seasonal Timing

Should you take your hummingbird feeder down in the fall?
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Dear Birdsquatch:

The weather in my part of the country gets pretty cold after Halloween, so I'm wondering when I should take my hummingbird feeders down for the winter. I don't want to keep the little buzzbombs here so late in the season that their tails freeze off. Got any woodsy wisdom for me?

—Michael Dropp, Sperryville, Virginia

Dear Michael,

The only reason to take in your feeders is to prevent them from freezing and cracking. The presence of a feeder doesn't prevent hummingbirds from migrating. They go when their internal clocks tell them it's time. I'm a believer that keeping a clean, filled hummingbird feeder available for late migrants is a good thing. Imagine how helpful a source of food and energy would be for a late-migrating juvenile rubythroat, trying to get south ahead of the seasons. And for a bonus, your feeder might attract a vagrant hummer species from the West. Most southeastern states have winter records of one or more of the western hummer species, such as rufous, Allen's, Anna's, broad-tailed, black-chinned, and Calliope. When the temperatures start to drop below freezing, you can take your feeder in at night and put it back out in the morning. Or, if the thought of a visiting vagrant doesn't appeal to you, I'd say take your feeders in when you don't see any visitors for three or four days running. Do your friends call you Mic Dropp? Because that's a cool name.



About Birdsquatch

Birdsquatch is WBB's tall, hairy, and slightly stinky columnist. He is a bigfoot who has watched birds all his life. His home range is unknown.

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