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Hummingbirds

Ruby-throated hummingbirds are common in eastern Kansas

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Hummingbirds are the smallest migrating birds in North America and some of the most interesting flying creatures to observe. A few of over 300 hummingbird species could be spotted in Kansas during the warmer time of the year from April, well into September. The most common species is the ruby-throated hummingbird. The second place is occupied by rufous hummingbirds, migrating through the state in the spring and fall. Broad-tailed hummingbirds are also seen occasionally. Rarely seen hummingbird species include calliope, Anna's, Costa's, and broad-billed.

Hummingbirds in Kansas

Ruby-throated hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris) usually nest in pine, hardwood, or mixed woods. It's especially abundant in the eastern and southeastern parts of Kansas, in the Kansas City area, near Wichita, as well as along the border with Oklahoma and Missouri. Male birds can be recognized due to their ruby throats, emerald feathers, and a white collar. Females have white feathers with some streaks of pale green.

When hummingbirds return to Kansas

Ruby-throated hummingbirds usually spend their winter in tropical countries of Central America. They start to arrive in Kansas in early April when the warm weather finally sets in. Males are usually the first to arrive, while females get to their breeding grounds a few weeks later. Breeding and nesting season for hummingbirds occurs during June and July, which is the best time to spot them.

When hummingbirds leave Kansas

Male hummingbirds start their migration south right after breeding and nesting. Female hummingbirds leave for the tropics during late August and September, followed by young birds that usually leave by mid-October. The tiny hummingbirds cover about 20 miles (32 km) in one day.

The best way to attract hummingbirds to your garden is to purchase a hummingbird feeder and fill it with sugary water. Tiny birds are also drawn to tubular flowers, such as hostas, hibiscus, or morning glory. A hummingbird visits from 1,000 to 2,000 flowers per day.

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