Possible Explanations for the Decline in Hummingbirds

Many hummingbird enthusiasts have taken note of the apparent decline in the hummingbird population, but haven’t been able to explain the reasons for this. This post will offer some possible explanations for this.
The National Audubon Society has noted that the overall hummingbird population has been in a state of decline since 1996. According to the National Audubon Society, there are many possible reasons for this including the following: habitat loss, pesticides, changes in weather conditions and, in the Mexican wintering range, a susceptibility to natural disasters, diseases and changes in land use.
Another possible explanation is the wildfires that have been occurring in many areas of the country. The decreased air quality and the damage to the vegetation in the area have probably forced the birds to leave the area. This sad but it is reality. When it comes to selecting a food source, what is most important is the quantity and quality of the nectar which is available. If the quality of the nectar available in the area is no longer good then the hummingbirds will go wherever the nectar quality satisfies the hummingbird’s high standard. One can only hope that the damage to the environment because of the wildfires is only temporary and that in time the number of hummingbirds found in these areas will gradually begin to once again increase.
In southeast Texas, which is located 90-100 miles from Houston, I have noticed a decrease in the number of hummingbirds ever since this area experienced Hurricane Rita in 2005. This may have been caused changes in our local weather patterns or by damages to the hummingbird’s habitat. Also, many people in this area may have stopped putting out hummingbird feeders or they may have decreased the number of feeders which they put out. Hummingbirds are creatures of habit and have excellent memories, so they may not be visiting this area in the same volume as before the hurricane because they know the nectar supply is less plentiful.          
There is no way to be certain as to the exact causes why the hummingbird population seems to be in a state of decline. Many people, including myself, certainly do miss the hummingbirds and would love to once again see their population increase.

7 replies on “Possible Explanations for the Decline in Hummingbirds”

Year 2020 is the first year in my CT home that I have seen the least number of hummingbirds. My feeders are kept clean and my gardens and other habitat features have made it a regular home in the spring and summer months for these wonderful birds. I am very saddened by this and cannot understand what has happened.

In 2020 and for the last 15 year’s hummingbirds consumed about a quart a day of my sugar water in late spring into summer. This year 2021 they consume less than a quarter a week. Did covid reduce the population? Way less hummers in northwest Pa!

I live in Western Montana in a meadow with many conifers scattered about. This yeat I have seen very few rufous hummingbirds. They usually arrive the first of June a couple of weeks after the calliope hummers arrive. This year I have seen only two. Is it due to the abnormally cold weather in the Gulf last winter? I hope they come back next year.

Thanks for your comment. Migration can be a stop-and-go journey with wind and weather in control. I too hope the rufous hummingbirds come back to your home.

I live in south central Arkansas. I used to see dozens of hummers at my feeders. This summer, just a few. I keep the feeders clean, with fresh syrup every couple of days. I have lots of flowers. The decline of the hummers is a mystery.

Thanks for the comment! We’ve had several reports of declines this year. Hopefully it is temporary.

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