When Do Hummingbirds Leave Indiana? Hummingbird Migration Pattern Overview

Ruby-throated Hummingbird flying near salvia
Hummingbirds arrive in Indiana in early spring and leave in late fall. The Ruby-throated is the only nesting bird, but several other varieties visit the Hoosier state for the season. Indiana commonly sees the Rufous, Ruby-throated, and Black-chinned hummingbird during the year.

Indiana hosts the Ruby-throated Hummingbird year-round. Other hummingbirds migrate through Indiana twice per year on their way north or south. These tiny birds arrive in early spring and leave Indiana in late fall.

This article outlines when to put up and take down feeders in Indiana. Learn more about hummingbird migration patterns and characteristics of the common hummingbirds in the state.

When Do Hummingbirds Arrive In Indiana?

Hummingbirds arrive in early spring, usually by the end of March. Some hummingbirds pass through Indiana on their spring migration north to Canada. Other hummingbirds, like the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, arrive for breeding grounds.

Since they migrate from Mexico or Central America, hummingbirds arrive in the southern part of the state first. From there, they head north or east. Hummingbirds arrive in central Indiana by mid-April and continue to northern Indiana by early May.

How Long Do Hummingbirds Stay In Indiana?

Hummingbirds stay in Indiana through the spring and summer. The heat and humidity of high summer are harder on hummingbirds, so they may appear at feeders less frequently.

Make sure to have sources of water and a few shade plants that hummingbirds can rest in. As the weather cools off in early fall, hummingbirds come back in force! They need to feed as much as possible to prepare for the fall migration.

When Do Hummingbirds Leave Indiana?

Hummingbirds start to leave Indiana by the end of September. These tiny birds fly hundreds or thousands of miles south for the winter and need time to travel. They leave the northern part of the state first, by mid or late October.

By the end of October, hummingbirds are gone in central Indiana. In southern Indiana, hummingbirds stay until early November. A few stragglers may stay behind for the winter if they are injured or too old to migrate.

Black-chinned Hummingbird feeding on pink flower
Black-chinned Hummingbird

Do Hummingbirds Stay In Indiana In The Winter?

Indiana has one year-round resident, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Winter sightings are rare, however. Indiana winters can be harsh, especially in the north.

Hummingbirds aren’t equipped to survive prolonged periods of below-freezing temperatures or snow. So, most head to the Gulf Coast or Panama for the winter.

How Do I Know When It is Time To Take My Hummingbird Feeder Down?

Take hummingbird feeders down two weeks after seeing the last hummingbird. Hummingbirds leave northern Indiana first, making their way down the state.

In southern Indiana, leave feeders up until mid-November to help any late hummingbirds as they fly through. Pay special attention to your feeders in late summer as hummingbirds start feeding more often.

Hummingbirds can take months to complete their fall migration, with some flying up to 5,000 miles from North America to Central America. They need constant food sources like sugar water to supply them with enough energy to keep migrating.

What Do Hummingbirds Eat When They’re Away From Their Feeder?

In addition to hummingbird nectar, hummingbirds eat small insects and nectar from flowers. Attracting hummingbirds is easy—set up a few feeders and plant some native plants.

Hummingbirds are drawn to bright-colored, tubular flowers. In Indiana, consider vinca vine, bee balm, and fuchsia.

Hummingbirds will feed not just on the flower nectar but also on the insects drawn to the flowers! Check out this resource from Perdue University for more about how to attract hummingbirds in Indiana.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird flying and  feeding on pink Bee Balm
Ruby-throated Hummingbird feeding on Bee Balm

Where Do Hummingbirds Go When They Leave Indiana?

Spring migration brings hummingbirds to many parts of the US and Canada. Some, like Allen’s Hummingbird, typically migrate to the western US and Alaska. Others like Costa’s Hummingbird spend spring and summer in the southwestern US.

During fall migration, hummingbirds fly south. Some species of hummingbirds over-winter on the Gulf of Mexico or in the southwestern US. Others fly further south to Panama or Central America.

Species of Hummingbirds In Indiana

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Indiana’s year-round resident, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird or Archilochus colubris, is the most common hummingbird in the eastern 2/3 of the US. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are indeed the most common hummingbird in Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

Some stay in the US all year, overwintering in Alabama, Florida, or Mississippi along the Gulf Coast. Other Ruby-throated migrate between the US and Panama. Research shows that younger birds may overwinter in the US instead of flying across the Gulf.

Male Ruby-throated are known for their iridescent red throat and vibrant green backs. They often visit backyards to feed from nectar feeders and breed throughout the Hoosier state.

Other Species Of Hummingbirds In Indiana

Black-chinned Hummingbird

The Black-chinned Hummingbird is more commonly found in the western US, in states like Texas and Arizona. Some Black-chinned have been reported as far east as Illinois and Kentucky.

Male hummingbirds of this species are known for their black throat with a purple patch underneath. They prefer deserts, canyons, and mountain terrain.

Rufous Hummingbird

The Rufous Hummingbird passes through Indiana between November and January. This species of hummingbird has orange feathers. These tiny birds are highly aggressive and will chase big birds and rodents away from nests and feeders!

Rufous have one of the longest migration routes of all hummingbirds. Their range extends from southern Alaska, in British Columbia, down into Oregon and the Pacific Coast to Mexico.

Mexican Violetear Hummingbird flying near flower
Mexican Violetear Hummingbird

Accidental Species of Hummingbird in Indiana

Anna’s Hummingbirds

Anna’s Hummingbirds range up and down the Pacific Coast. They are the only species that doesn’t migrate. Anna’s have been reported once in Indiana in 2020

Calliope Hummingbird

The Calliope Hummingbird is known for its bright pink throat. It was spotted in 2014 in Vanderburgh County in southern Indiana.

Mexican-violetear Hummingbird

The Mexican-violetear Hummingbird is extremely rare to find in Indiana. It was spotted once in 2011, but reports since then are limited.

Sarah Pearce

Sarah enjoys feeding hummingbirds in the warmer months, and a range of finches, woodpeckers, and cardinals in the cooler months. She enjoys researching and learning more about birds, gardening, and preserving food. She is learning how to maximize her small city backyard and is amazed at all the possibilities. She lives in southwestern Indiana with her family.

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