Hummingbirds now migrating back to the Midwest

JOPLIN, Mo. (KSNF) — Now that spring has officially sprung, there are many types of birds that will start making their way back into the Midwest in the weeks and months to come. The hummingbird — specifically the ruby-throated hummingbird — has officially started their migration north, and will soon return to the central U.S.

Thanks to birdwatchers across the country, and a website to connect them all, those looking forward to the return of the hummingbird can begin to plan for their arrival.

“I think it’s great for people that are really interested in bringing wildlife to their yards. They can have a better understanding of when these beautiful birds will start to make their way back to our area,” said Horticulture Specialist, Robert Balek.

On the website Hummingbird Central, anyone who has spotted the season’s first hummingbirds can mark the location where the bird was spotted, and make notes about the sighting — including the specific type of hummingbird.

This makes it easy to track the bird’s spring migration back into the United States.

2024 Hummingbird Spring Migration Map

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Balek said hummingbirds typically begin to make their way back into the Midwest around late-March. However, hummingbird spotters in Arkansas report seeing the fast-flying birds return two and even three weeks earlier than in previous years.

On March 13, one spotter in Hindsville, near Fayetteville, submitted their observation: “Ruby-Throated Hummingbird sighted… early arrival date.

Also on March 13, one observer near Little Rock submitted this report on Hummingbird Central: “Ruby-Throated Hummingbird sighted… I had my feeders out two weeks before they were due here, just in case. One arrived today, just now at 4:04 p.m. CDT!

Just a few days later on March 17, a ruby-throated hummingbird was spotted near Jonesboro.

As reports begin to show that the birds have made their way into central Arkansas, Balek says it won’t be long before you’ll start to see them in your own backyard. A good way to determine when you should start putting out hummingbird feeders, is by checking with the interactive map on Hummingbird Central every few days.

“Without these birds, you would not see the native plants. So hummingbirds are extremely important and exist to support other species as well. The birds help the plants reproduce and without the reproduction, the plants wouldn’t be there to support other species. They all seem to play a role in the grand scheme of things,” Balek said.

You can find the interactive map on the 2024 spring migration of hummingbirds, HERE.

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