I live in Illinois (Zone 6) where I'm sure the hummingbirds still migrate south to overwinter since they stopped visiting my hummingbird feeder sometime late last fall.

Now that spring is here, the temperatures are rising, and it's seeming like there isn't any more chance of sleet/snow, I'm wondering when I should start putting my hummingbird feeder back outside with nectar for them when they return.

I know there's no point in putting it out right now, since the temperatures only just started to stay above freezing this week, but are there any signs I can look for to know when hummingbirds will be migrating north again and that it would be good to put the hummingbird feeder back?

  • This might be better suited to the Biology stack.
    – That Idiot
    Mar 10, 2015 at 19:23

3 Answers 3


Watch your earliest NATIVE blooming plants that are nectar sources for hummingbirds. When they start to bloom, hummers are following right behind...

In central Virginia you keep your eyes open for red buckeye blossoms.


If you are willing to commit to throwing away the sugar-water before it turns funky and cleaning the feeder, you can start as early as you like, and be there for them when they show up. But it probably won't be until the flowers start to bloom. If you require enough hummer traffic to move the sugar-solution through to remind you to clean it, wait for the flowers.


Use a migration map of real sightings:


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