It’s that time of year again when hummingbirds begin their migration south for the winter. Here are a few tips on when to expect them to leave Kansas.
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Whether you’re an avid birdwatcher or just enjoy the occasional backyard sighting, seeing a hummingbird is always a treat. These tiny, vibrant creatures are fun to watch as they flit from flower to flower in search of nectar. If you live in Kansas, you’re lucky enough to have these flying jewels in your state from early spring through late fall. Here’s what you need to know about when hummingbirds leave Kansas.
As spring arrives and temperatures start to rise, hummingbirds begin their northern migration back to their breeding grounds. In Kansas, this typically happens in late April or early May. However, it’s not uncommon for some birds to linger into early summer if the weather is still cold or if there is an abundance of food available.
As the weather gets warmer and flowers start to bloom, hummingbirds will head north in search of mates and places to build nests. Once they find a suitable mate and nesting site, they will stay put for the rest of the summer as they raise their young. In late summer or early fall, as food sources begin to dwindle and temperatures start to cool, adult hummingbirds will begin their migration back south for the winter months.
Juvenile birds usually don’t migrate until their second year of life. This gives them time to grow and learn how to find food and survive on their own before making the long journey south for the winter.
While most hummingbirds migrate solo, it’s not uncommon for some birds to join up with small groups or even form large flocks during their journey. This provides them with safety in numbers and makes it easier to find food along the way.
Depending on where they are migrating from and to, hummingbirds can travel hundreds or even thousands of miles during their journey. For example, ruby-throated hummingbirds that breed in eastern North America have been known to travel more than 2,000 miles during their annual migration!
The Arrival of Hummingbirds in Kansas
In Kansas, hummingbirds begin to arrive in early to mid-April. The first migrants are typically young birds that were born the previous summer. These early arrivals are followed by adult birds that wintered further south. By early May, most hummingbirds in Kansas have arrived at their summer homes.
The Departure of Hummingbirds from Kansas
In Kansas, the departure of hummingbirds usually occurs in late September or early October. The birds typically head south to their wintering grounds in Mexico and Central America. Some hummingbirds may stay in Kansas until November if the weather is mild, but most will have left the state by then.
The Return of Hummingbirds to Kansas
In Kansas, hummingbirds begin to head south in late August, with most leaving by early to mid-September. However, a few hardy individuals may linger into October, especially if they find a good food source. To prepare for their long journey south, hummingbirds consume enormous quantities of sugar-rich nectar and double their body weight. Although they eat insects for protein, the mainstay of their diet is nectar from flowers.
In conclusion, the best time to see hummingbirds in Kansas is in the spring and early summer. The best time to see them migrating through the state is in late August and early September.