In the past 10-15 years, hummingbird feeding has become increasingly more popular and therefore many more people have placed hummingbird feeders in their yard and are maintaining them. The increased number of feeders means that people “forget” and leave their feeders up past Labor Day. Many people believe that to be the traditional date for taking down hummingbird feeders, but there is no such thing. Let me explain.
It is impossible to provide an exact date by which time hummingbird feeders should be taken down. It is believed that migrating hummingbirds may be helped by feeders that are left up until at least two weeks have passed since seeing your last hummingbird. Contrary to what many people believe, hummingbirds will migrate even if your hummingbird feeders are not taken down. Males generally migrate several weeks ahead of immature hummingbirds, which are also known as new hatchlings, and females. When migration occurs is determined by a change in the length of the day or photoperiod.
We all know the power and reach of the Internet and it has certainly made a difference in this matter. Due to the Internet, people have become more aware of the existence of winter hummingbirds. The Internet has also made it much easier for people to learn of the opinions of hummingbird experts and then to contact them via e-mail.
The increase in warm weather during the past several years may explain why vagrant hummingbirds have wandered further than normal. Habitat destruction may also offer an explanation why more hummingbirds have been forced to wander. The traditional wintering grounds of the hummingbird, in the tropics, may have been destroyed thus forcing them to wander.