Last Updated on April 26, 2022 by Cristina
Spotting hummingbirds during winter in the Pacific Northwest used to be rare, but not anymore. We have to thank hummingbird feeders for the most part, as they provide food when all the flower nectar disappears.
It’s important to know which and if some hummingbirds stay the winter in your area so you can help them survive. Contrary to popular belief, man-provided hummingbird food doesn’t prevent the hummingbird from migrating. Some simply decided that this is their habitat and never migrate to warmer states.
There are 4 common hummingbirds in the Northwest, but only one stays the winter. Read along to learn how to spot hummingbirds in winter in the Pacific Northwest.
When Do Hummingbirds Arrive In The Northwest
The first hummingbirds start arriving in the Pacific Northwest at the end of February. You can notice more considerable hummingbird presence during March, and some might even come as late as April and May. Washington gets the earliest hummingbirds, while Wyoming and Wisconsin might get their first visitors in May!
Hummingbirds prefer to nest in the mountain areas in the Pacific Northwest. The key to attracting some into the urban areas is to put out your feeders as early as February. Do hummingbirds in the Pacific Northwest migrate? Yes, most of them leave in the early fall and head to Central America.
Types Of Hummingbirds In The Pacific Northwest
There are 4 hummingbird species you can commonly find in the Pacific Northwest. The Broad-tailed and Broad-billed hummingbirds are occasional visitors, together with the Costa and Ruby-throated hummingbird.
Anna’s hummingbird is the dominating among the hummingbirds in winter in the Pacific Northwest. This hummingbird doesn’t migrate and spends the winter in the mountain regions, occasionally nesting in the urban areas because of constant food sources.
The adult male has iridescent green wings, a grey belly, and a pink head. The female has a beige and grey body with green feathers. They prefer to build nests at 4 to 25 feet and lay their eggs for 14 to 19 days. Since they don’t migrate, they can nest as early as February.
The highest concentration of Anna’s hummingbirds can be noticed in the Puget Trough ecoregion and the Olympic Mountains.
Black-chinned Hummingbird – Hummingbirds During Winter In The Pacific Northwest
The female Black-chinned hummingbird resembles Anna’s and the Ruby-throated hummingbird, while the male has a black head, grey body, and specific purple ‘necklace’. Their bills are slightly longer, they arrive in March and they nest in urban areas.
You can find a high concentration of Black-chinned hummingbirds in the Ponderosa pine zones and Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge. They prefer wetlands and meadows, but you can’t find these Hummingbirds during Winter in the Pacific Northwest. As early fall approaches, Black-chinned hummingbirds migrate to southern Mexico and near the Gulf Coast.
The Calliope hummingbird is the smallest, so it might be harder to spot. They arrive in the Pacific Northwest in late April and prefer to nest in fields, meadows, clearings, and forest edges.
The Calliope hummingbird is not among the Hummingbirds in the Pacific Northwest. Instead, they migrate to Mexico in early fall, flying over the Rocky Mountains.
The Rufous hummingbird is easiest to spot due to the specific rust-like color of the males. The females are more modest, with grey wings and green feathers.
You can find them in the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge, and they prefer to nest in forests. They build their nests at 30 feet height on pine, maple, and birch trees. The Rufous is not among the hummingbirds during winter in the Pacific Northwest; they leave with the first signs of fall and spend the winter in Central America.
What Hummingbird Overwinters In The Northwest
Although most of them migrate, you can still spot some hummingbirds during winter in the Pacific Northwest. But how do hummingbirds survive winter in Pacific Northwest? Anna’s hummingbird is the resident hummingbird and has adapted to survive the winters in the region. They don’t even migrate to other states within the US.
Anna’s hummingbird and the Ruby-throated hummingbird are the few adapted to survive winter temperatures. However, their territories don’t overlap, leaving enough food for both species.
Winter hummingbirds rely on human-provided feeders, late-blooming flowers, tree sap, and insects.
How To Help Hummingbirds That Don’t Migrate
If you’re residing in the Pacific Northwest, you might wonder how can I help my hummingbirds in the winter? While the birds are intelligent and able to source food on their own, providing some comfort is much welcomed.
Plant More Flowers And Shrubs
Hummingbirds during Winter in the Pacific Northwest need a place to feel safe and escape predators. Since most trees lose their foliage in the fall, the hummingbirds will benefit from evergreen shrubs and trees. They also need more native, nectar-rich flowers that bloom late into fall and winter.
Rotate The Feeders
Keep the hummingbird feeders from freezing by rotating them frequently. Keep one feeder ready inside; once the temperatures get significantly low, rotate them every few hours so the birds can access the nectar.
Provide Fresh Water – Hummingbirds During Winter In The Pacific Northwest
You need to provide water for the hummingbirds yearlong, but it’s crucial in the winter since most natural sources like springs and lakes might freeze. Same as with the feeders, keep the water fresh and defrost it often.
In Exceptional Cases, Warm The Feeders
Remember the old Christmas lights that get warm when they’ve been on for a while? You can use them for a good cause. If temperatures go below freezing, use them to keep the nectar from freezing by wrapping them around the feeder. Hummingbirds will be more than grateful!
Bottom Line: Are There Hummingbirds During Winter In The Pacific Northwest?
There’s one kind of hummingbird in the Pacific Northwest and that’s Anna’s hummingbird. Although 4 types of hummingbirds spend the summer season here, only Anna’s hummingbird resides yearlong.
If you’re looking for a way to help the overwintering hummingbirds, provide food, water, and shelter. They can nest as early as February and will benefit from bushes, shrubs, and nectar-rich flowers.
How do hummingbirds survive winter in the Pacific Northwest?
Anna's hummingbird is the only one who stays the winter in the Pacific Northwest. They find shelter in evergreen shrubs and feed on insects, late-blooming flowers, and nectar feeders.
How can I help my hummingbirds in the winter?
You can help the hummingbirds by keeping the feeders full and defrosted, providing protein feeders, planting some shrubs for shelter, and offering water baths.
Do hummingbirds in the Pacific Northwest migrate?
Yes, most hummingbirds in the Pacific Northwest migrate to Mexico and Central America. Anna's hummingbird is the only one who doesn't migrate.
Meri is a passionate wildlife enthusiast with a special interest in hummingbirds. She loves to observe and learn about the different species of hummingbirds from around the world. After graduating from college with a degree in biology, Meri decided to pursue her dream of writing about hummingbirds and the importance of their conservation. She has since published several articles on the subject in various magazines and online publications. Her articles focus on the importance of habitat preservation, how hummingbirds contribute to ecosystem balance, and the unique behaviors of various species. When she’s not writing, Meri enjoys bird watching and taking pictures of her feathered friends. She also volunteers at her local wildlife center, helping to protect and rehabilitate injured or orphaned hummingbirds. Meri’s passion for hummingbirds drives her to spread awareness and promote their conservation, so that future generations will be able to enjoy their beauty.