A Quick Guide to Hummingbirds

Have you spotted hummingbirds in your garden yet?

Ruby-throated Hummingbird © Phil Sorrentino

Ruby-throated Hummingbird © Phil Sorrentino

These tiny, buzzing birds are a welcome sight in gardens across Massachusetts every spring, returning from their spring migration in late April and early May. With plenty of nectar-bearing flowers about now, they’re definitely back—and they are HUNGRY. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology says that hummingbirds have to consume their own weight in nectar and insects every day to survive!

Easy to Identify

The ruby-throated hummingbird is the only species of hummingbird that breeds in Massachusetts. The males are unmistakable with their bright red throats, while females and juveniles are just as stunning with their glossy, green plumage.

Learn More

Check out the Quick Guide below, read hummingbird faqs, and report a hummingbird sighting. Looking for a new feeder? We’ve got plenty of options for you in the Audubon Shop.

Hummingbird Quick Guide

9 thoughts on “A Quick Guide to Hummingbirds

  1. Elke Williams

    We have many hummingbirds in the State of Washington. We have 2 feeders on our deck. Sometimes there are up to 10 birds but one bird is chasing them away. It is like a war out there……but fun to watch!

    1. Lorna.

      Hello from Crookston, MN..I just read that if you have a bully hummingbird you put 2 or 3 spaced a little ways apart but not to much And that is supposedly going to stop the bully. Just a thought.

      Have an awesome weekend…God Bless

    1. Marie

      I saw a blue hummingbird in Hudson MA today. I thought my eyes were deceiving me. I am curious to know what kind it is.

  2. Holly Fletcher

    A male Hummingbird was here in Middleboro on April 21 this year. Know the females come soon. If they had babies last year, do the babies come back to the same area as the year before? Am I correct in thinking that the hummingbirds always come back to the same area as the year before?

    1. Hillary T.

      Adults are likely to have site fidelity, but the young may return to a spot nearby, but not to the natal spot (risks breeding with a parent!)

  3. Padraig Mehegan

    I’m not getting hummingbirds at multiple clean feeders with fresh mix. It’s been a cold spring here on the Mass. coast. Could it be nesting red tailed hawks 200 yards away with a squawking juvenile that’s discouraging them? I’m mystified!

    1. Hillary

      It’s definitely not the Red-tailed Hawks. Hummingbirds have a perimeter of safety, but it’s much smaller than 200 yards. This is the time of year when the females are caring for young, and are more interested in getting protein from insects than in sugar water, so this may be part of it. As you mention, it was very cold this spring so there may have been higher than normal mortality with hummingbirds.


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