Best time to travel to Idaho

Hummingbirds in Idaho

These fast and small jewels make for a first-rate backyard birdwatching

Best time: May–August

Hummingbirds in Idaho
Hummingbirds in Idaho
Hummingbirds in Idaho
Female black-chinned hummingbird

Watching a hummingbird is an unparalleled experience, as this unique bird is well-known for being the smallest one in the world and incredibly speedy. A hummer moves its wings at frequencies audible to humans as a hum; hence comes the name of this bird. Idaho presents excellent chances to glimpse a couple of these cute little fellows, as they come to breed there after wintering in Mexico and Central America.

When do hummingbirds return to Idaho

The first migrants might appear in Idaho as early as April, and the last ones leave in September. But the best time to see the greatest variety of hummers is during the season between May and August.

Types of hummingbirds in Idaho

Some scientists count up to eight hummingbird species in Idaho, but in fact, the state is mainly known for five most common types. Four of them—black-chinned, calliope, rufous, and broad-tailed hummingbirds—breed in Idaho. In contrast, the latter species, which is Anna's hummingbird, winters here. Black-chinned hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri) is widespread all over the state, while others prevail in certain areas.

Hummingbirds in the north of Idaho

If you visit northern Idaho, the most common species here feature calliope hummingbird (Stellula calliope) and rufous hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus). These types of hummers like to breed further from other hummingbirds, yet they do like to feed on sugary water from the feeders that locals set out in their backyards. But note that as long as you lure rufous hummers to your garden, they will aggressively force out other birds, even twice their size, for they keep feeding territories exclusively to themselves.

Hummingbirds in Boise and southern Idaho

The areas between central and southern Idaho are the breeding ground of the broad-tailed hummingbirds (Selasphorus platycercus). Unlike the other species, these hummers stay in Idaho for a short period from late May to early August. Check out Hummingbird Feeding Area (or Sanctuary) in Kimberly, some 40 miles (64 km) south of Twin Falls. Additionally, in winter, usually September through December, you can occasionally spot Anna's hummingbird (Calypte anna) in these territories. They especially like to spend winter near Boise.

How to attract hummingbirds

Generally, you can encounter a hummingbird in your backyard garden or anywhere across Idaho. You'll only need to plant hummers' favorite red flowers of tubular shapes. Or you can put out a feeder filled with sugary water. Just follow a simple recipe by mixing one part of sugar with four parts of water.

Practical info

What is the best time to see hummingbirds in Idaho?

Between May and August, there is a high diversity of hummingbirds in Idaho. These tiny birds migrate all the way from Central America and Mexico to breed in Idaho. It's an extraordinary sight that shouldn't be missed. Make the most of it since the hummers leave in September after spending months in Idaho. Show more

How many types of hummingbirds can be found in Idaho?

Idaho is home to eight known hummingbird species, with the black-chinned hummingbird, rufous hummingbird, calliope hummingbird, broad-tailed hummingbird, and Anna's hummingbird being the most common. Four of these species live and breed in Idaho, while Anna's hummingbird comes to winter here. Show more

Which species of hummingbirds are found in northern Idaho?

In northern Idaho, the calliope and rufous hummingbirds are the most common. Rufous hummingbirds are territorial and can be aggressive, frequently driving away other bird species from their feeding territories. In the backyard of many locals in these areas, you'll often find feeders of sugary water to attract them. Show more

Which species of hummingbirds are found in Boise and southern Idaho?

Broad-tailed hummingbirds are frequently found in central and southern Idaho, with the Hummingbird Feeding Area or Sanctuary in Kimberly being a popular site to spot them from late May to early August. During winter, Anna's hummingbird can often be found in the Boise area between September and December. Show more

How to attract hummingbirds to your garden or backyard?

Attracting hummingbirds to your garden or backyard requires planting red flowers of tubular shapes, their favorite, or a feeder filled with sugary water. Follow a simple recipe of one part sugar to four parts water to make sugary water. You'll provide a perfect spot for the hummingbirds to feed, rest, and prepare for long flights across Idaho. Show more

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Last updated: by Olha Savych