Skip to content

How Long Does it Take For Hummingbirds to Come to Feeder?

How Long Does it Take For Hummingbirds to Come to Feeder

You should know this answer before adding a new birdfeeder to your yard because the location and type of feeder can greatly affect its success rate. The best way to tell is to keep an eye on your feeder during warm weather months. Hummingbird activity tends to peak in late morning through mid-afternoon.  So if you leave your feeder out all day, make sure to check it at least once during those times. If you don’t see any visitors within a couple of weeks, move the feeder somewhere else where more birds are already hanging around.

If you live near water, such as Lake Michigan, many different species of songbirds will visit hummingbird feeders, including cardinals, juncos (various sparrows), grosbeaks, titmice, chickadees, warblers, vireos and nuthatches.

You may also notice other backyard wildlife visiting your hummingbird feeder, especially early in the season. House finches, house wrens and even blue jays have been known to stop by while looking for extra seed. Even squirrels often use feeders left outdoors overnight. And sometimes raccoons get their share too! In addition to using feeders themselves, these animals may be attracted to leftover suet cakes stored inside them after feeding time ends.

In fact, some people put suet cakes in feeders year round, which means that raccoons can access them whenever they want. This could lead to problems with vermin control, so we recommend removing old food from feeders periodically.

Related: How to Attract Hummingbirds

Keep reading to find out why hummingbird feeders need special care and what factors influence hummingbird behavior.

Feeding Activity

Feeding Activity

So, How long does it take for hummingbirds to come to feeder? – the answer is at least two weeks before the hummingbirds are supposed to arrive, hang the feeder. If you’re curious about when hummingbirds will arrive in your area this year, look at previous years’ migration dates.

When most people think about hummingbird feeders, they’re thinking about small plastic cups filled with sugar water that sit outside on a pole. These types of feeders aren’t very attractive to hummingbirds since they offer no perch, which is essential to their eating habits. A typical hummingbird needs a tall object like a tree branch to hover over while it takes tiny sips of liquid directly from flowers’ nectar sacs. Because it has to stretch up to reach nectars high above ground level, only certain kinds of trees provide enough vertical space to allow proper hovering.

The kind of tree that’s right for your area depends upon its range of growth rings – the width of each ring equals one growing season. For example, southern red oak grows wider rings than northern white oak, whose rings are closer together. So if you live in an area where oaks grow, then choose a post made of southern red oak. Likewise, if you’re located north of Washington D.C., select a post made of northern white oak. Another factor affecting choice is whether your region gets lots of wind; posts supporting feeders tend to bend easily in strong gusty winds.

A good rule of thumb is to stick with either metal or wooden poles. Metal ones won’t rust, whereas wood attracts ants and insects that love to eat away at glue joints. Also, avoid installing feeders in areas prone to heavy snowfall. Snow compacted against the sides of a pole can cause it to snap off under pressure.
Now let’s talk about how long hummingbirds stay at feeders.

Hummingbird Feeder Care Tips

To understand how much time hummingbirds spend at feeders, you first have to consider how long they fly between flower sources. Most hummingbirds travel less than 1 mile in a single day, although black-chinned hummingbirds venture farther distances. They usually cover 2 or 3 miles during a full migration. During nonbreeding periods, however, distance covered varies widely depending upon local conditions. Some birds migrate thousands of miles every year, while others just hop across state lines.

One thing that doesn’t vary among hummingbirds is their flight speed. It stays constant regardless of age or size. Typical speeds are 22 mph for males and 20 mph for females.

But flying is not the only reason hummingbirds linger around feeders. Their primary goal is to drink nectar from flowers. To accomplish this task, hummingbirds must hover close to the source of nectar. As mentioned earlier, they do this by stretching upward toward plants that produce sweets.

When birds approach feeders, therefore, they do two things simultaneously: consume nectar and rest. While resting, hummingbirds frequently change positions to maintain contact with the feeder, particularly if temperatures exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

These observations suggest several ways to increase hummingbird visits to feeders. First, plant native flowering shrubs and grasses along edges of open fields, yards and gardens. Second, try planting fast-growing evergreens such as dwarf mountain cedar and hemlocks. Third, install feeders higher than 8 feet to give hummingbirds something to perch on.

Fourth, add artificial light fixtures to feeder bases. Finally, place feeders away from direct sunlight. Sunlight triggers production of a chemical called photoperiodic substance that makes hummingbirds aggressive. Photoperoid substances work better indoors, so feeders placed next to windows would help reduce aggression.

While keeping feeders clean isn’t terribly difficult, regular maintenance helps ensure maximum performance. Remove dead flies and bugs immediately using a spray bottle, and wipe down surfaces daily. Keep feeders free of dirt and debris by wiping them down with a damp cloth twice weekly. On colder winter nights, fill feeders with sand or gravel instead of ice cubes to insulate them from freezing air.

Replace lost or broken parts promptly. And remember, always replace loose screws and nuts with washers.

With a little forethought and planning, you can enjoy watching hummingbirds at your own feeders throughout the entire spring and summer seasons.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.