If you’re looking for hummingbirds in Kansas you won’t be disappointed. Kansans can enjoy hummingbirds for about five to six months of the year. If you’re looking to put out a hummingbird feeder in the Sunflower State, you can do so anytime in the spring or summer. Knowing exactly when to put it up and take it down helps ensure that you are providing hummingbirds with the extra boost they need before or after they start migrating.
Types Found in Kansas
Nine species of hummingbirds can be found in Kansas. The most common are magnificent, ruby-throated, Rufous, Calliope, broad-tailed and black-chinned hummingbirds. Less common species include Anna’s, Costa’s, broad-billed and Allen’s hummingbirds. Hummingbirds are migratory and spend the winters in Mexico or South America. Learning to identify some of these species can be tricky since the black-chinned, Anna’s and Costa’s hummingbirds look very similar with only minor distinguishing features. Likewise, adult male Rufous hummingbirds are nearly indistinguishable from male Allen’s hummingbirds.
Arrival and leaving times can be difficult to pin down because of how hummingbirds migrate. They do not travel in flocks nor do all members of a species migrate at the same time. Instead, individual birds start flying north at random times. This ensures that should bad weather arise only a few individuals will be affected, and not the entire species. Once they leave their wintering spot they fly nonstop until they reach their destination, about 18 to 22 hours. The journey south is done the same way, except in reverse.
Hummingbirds begin their migration north around February or March. They reach Kansas sometime in April, although it could be May before you first see them. In 2011 ruby-throated hummingbirds were spotted in Kansas the last week in April. This is later than 2010, when they were first spotted in Kansas on April 4, although most locations reported seeing them around April 12. Southern and eastern areas of the state are likely to see hummingbirds earlier than northern and western areas.
Hummingbirds can begin migrating as early as mid-July. Most wait until August and will be gone by the end of September. A few may remain until mid-October. These birds may be young birds that haven’t built up enough fat to make the trip yet or could be too old or ill to make the journey. If you have a hummingbird feeder, keeping it out will help these stranglers store up the energy to make the trip. You won’t delay their migration by leaving a feeder out, as some people mistakenly believe.