Where Do Hummingbirds Go Every Winter?

We have the answer.

If dogs are a man's best friend, then hummingbirds are a man's best backyard companion.

So when winter rolls around, where do these splendid creatures journey? These daintiest birds have a long road (ahem, flight path) ahead of them when the temperatures begin to drop and winter approaches. Every winter, North American hummingbirds head South. They may be tiny, but their trip is anything but small.

Hummingbird on Flowers
NNehring / Getty Images

Why Do Hummingbirds Migrate?

"Hummingbirds are migratory birds that spend the winter in a different location than where they breed," writes Debbie Wolfe for Reader's Digest. "The most common hummingbird in eastern North America, the ruby-throated hummingbird, claims a breeding range from the Gulf Coast north well into Canada, and then fly to the region from southern Mexico through Panama for the winter."

This journey explains why you often don't see hummingbirds in your neck of the woods post-fall, but it's not entirely out of the question to spot some hummingbirds in the Southern U.S. in the winter. As Wolfe notes, some birds in milder climates on the Southeast and West Coast stay put and choose not to migrate farther South.

Hummingbirds That Don't Migrate

According to the American Bird Conservancy, Anna's Hummingbird is the main exception to a hummingbird's migration tendencies. The movement pattern of Anna's Hummingbirds is mainly dependent on food supplies. But, when adding exotic flowering trees along the West Coast of California, this hummingbird's popularity increased.

Fly on, friends. Our gardens are here for you if you need a pit stop.

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