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Why do Hummingbirds Stop Coming to Feeders?

why do hummingbirds stop coming to feeders

Hummingbirds are enchanting tiny birds with long beaks and tiny agile wings. They are the smallest kind of migrating bird, which mostly measures three to five inches. Their smallest species can measure 2 inches with a weight of .07 ounces, so small that it’s called bee hummingbird.

These birds came from the family of Trochilidae and are known to have more than 300 species.

These feathered friends can be seen all over the US sprinting around flowers and nectar feeders. They rarely stop flying.

Understanding Hummingbirds

Let’s take a look at Hummingbirds’ entertaining facts:

  • They have a biblical metaphor. Native American tribes look at these birds as a gift from the Almighty God. They are characterized as a spirit that helps people when they are in need, or when people are sick. They are also portrayed as fire-bringer in the mythological aspect.
  • Most Native Americans look at these birds positively, associating them with playfulness and one with the ability to proliferate joy.
  • These birds are also known for their flying techniques. They are like flying acrobats as they can fly forward, even backward, and even upside down! You can’t help but smile when watching them do their stunts in the air.
  • They spend almost all their time flying because they would rather fly than stand on their legs. Their legs are weak and small and they almost cannot walk at all.
  • Unlike other bird species, you won’t see them flying in flocks to migrate, they are usually loners. One can travel alone for about 500 miles. When you see a flock, they are called a tune, or a glittering, or a hover, or a bouquet.
  • They are the one and only bird species that can fly backward.
  • They cannot hop nor walk. They perch sideways using their very small legs.
  • Usually, they’re only as heavy as a nickel.
  • These backyard visitors are jealous types. The males usually have a very striking and vibrant color that gleams under the sunlight, while females settle for generally greyish-brown in color, and if there are any colorful areas, it will not be so much. This is because, in the nesting prime, females need to be less noticeable while males attract females with their outstanding colors.
  • Hummingbirds do not have a sense of smell. They have a good sight for colors though.
  • Although they are very small, in a day, they can consume nectar twice their weight.
  • They use their tongue to drink the nectar coming from the feeders, and they can move their tongue so quickly.
  • Not just their tongue but their wings are so quick too, that they can do 50 flaps per second.
  • You’ll be delighted to see how they magically form a figure 8 when they hover.
  • They have fast metabolism because they are very small, and this can cause them to fall into a state of lethargy called torpor. They do this to conserve energy.
  • They are the type of birds that are enjoying birdbaths.
  • Birds naturally sing. For hummingbirds, only some species sing. Others are making aggressive noise as they fight for food.
  • They got their name “hummingbird” from the humming sound that their wings produce as they flap fast.

Why are they Suddenly Not Coming Back to the Feeders?

understanding hummingbirds

When you start noticing that your backyard visitors are becoming lesser and the garden or backyard becomes less lively, do not be sad, and do not panic. There are several reasons why hummingbirds may be gone missing. Here are a few:

Protecting their Territory

Do not underestimate their size because despite their tiny size, they are known to be spirited and ones who would fight for and protect their territory. They are fearless and even attack bigger birds, and even animals, although very rare, to protect their domain.


They usually stop coming back to feeders in the summer months because this is the time when they are busy with nesting. Females are staying in the nests to take care of the eggs while males are leaving as a sacrificial act. They don’t want to consume the food available so they go elsewhere. They do this for the young ones and the females.


Hummingbirds are traveling birds and depending on their species, the migrating pattern may vary. Usually, or for most species, the migrating pattern is from North to South for the Winter. There are a few who choose to stay though.

In Spring, some of the hummingbird species transfer to North America.

Their migration pattern is a bit complex as it depends on the type. The ruby-throated hummingbird relocates from Canada to Florida and can even go as far as South America on the lookout for a flower that they like.

Food Zone

It’s also possible that they have found they might have found another garden that can provide them with more food or even their favorite food which is flowers. Flowers are their favorite food since it contains nectar.

You may also need to check if their feeders are still clean as dirty ones can turn them off.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know and understand hummingbirds better, and learned about possible reasons as to why they stop coming to feeders, you’ll be able to appreciate them better and enjoy their company.

In case you notice that the ones coming to feeders are becoming lesser and lesser, check and see if the same thing is happening to others, check local news and reports. You can join forums of bird watchers too.

Keep in mind that the population of hummingbirds may vary every year due to several factors like weather, nest size, source of food, and whatnot.
Most bird watchers are especially attracted to hummingbirds and have special attention to them. Hummingbirds are small but terrible. Beautiful and amazing with how they move.

Inquiries about the declining number of hummingbirds coming back to feeders are uprising but do not worry too much, hummingbirds waver especially during the summer, and again, other factors could make them stop coming back to feeders. If they do, you can read and research how you can make them come back.

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