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Best time to travel to Maryland


Ruby-throated hummingbirds nest and breed in Maryland every summer

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Hummingbirds are the tiniest migrating birds in America. In the Eastern United States, ruby-throated hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris) are the most common species. It's the only kind that breeds and nests in the state, so the birds can often be spotted here from late April up to the end of September. Rufous hummingbirds (Selasphorus rufus) are the second most common species in Maryland, which can be seen in the spring and fall.

Ruby-throated males are easily recognizable by their red throats, white collars, emerald green feathers, and forked tails. Females don't have a red throat, their feathers are grey with green streaks. As ruby-throated hummingbirds prefer to nest in the woods, they can be spotted near forest edges and streams. They also visit gardens and meadows to collect nectar. Hummingbirds often have been spotted at Patuxent Research Refuge near Laurel.

Rufous hummingbirds could be occasionally spotted in the gardens and backyards. Males boast beautiful orange-red throats, while females look more modest with green feathers and white-tipped tails.

When do hummingbirds return to Maryland

Male hummingbirds are usually the first to arrive in Maryland in mid- or late April, dominating feeding grounds before the arrival of females, which get to the state in the first or second week of May. They shortly start their breeding rituals. Male hummingbirds perform an impressive dance with sharp dives and loops to attract the opposite sex.

When do hummingbirds leave Maryland

In September, hummingbirds start their amazing 1000-mile (1600-km) migration south. These birds usually spend their winter in Florida, Mexico, or other countries in Central America. The juveniles are generally the last to leave Maryland since they require more time to mature and accumulate fat for the challenging trip.

Attracting hummingbirds

Hummingbirds are attracted to bright flowers of tubular forms. Trumpet creeper, morning glory, petunia, or lupine are some of their favorite plants. Also, keep in mind that pesticide use can negatively impact tiny birds. Another sure way to lure hummingbirds into your garden is to put out a feeder with nectar. To prepare the sugary solution, mix ¼ cup of sugar with a cup of hot water. Make sure to clean the feeder and change the solution twice a week.

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Last updated: by Olga Valchyshen