Best time to travel to North Carolina

Hummingbirds in North Carolina 2024

Watch hummingbirds escape the cold in this beautiful state

Best time: mid-March–early Fall

A ruby-throated hummingbird in Charlotte, NC
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Hummingbirds fly to North Carolina as soon as warm weather hits the state. Let’s see when to arrive in NC to spot some amazing hummers.

Hummingbird season in North Carolina

Hummingbirds start migrating to North Carolina around mid-March to early April, but you may spot the first pioneers as early as February. Most hummingbirds start their departure season in mid-September. They usually head south to Mexico and Central America during the wintertime because they don’t like the cold. However, the ruby-throated and rufous kinds can be seen around the state all year round (even though they're pretty rare).

Hummingbird species in North Carolina

As for hummingbird species in North Carolina, there aren’t really any kinds that are truly native to the region. For the most part, hummers living in the state are seasonal. These include ruby-throated, black-chinned, buff-bellied, broad-tailed, and calliope hummingbirds. Other kinds, like Allen’s and broad-billed, are rare in North Carolina, and you can only see them if you get lucky. To attract hummingbirds during their breeding season, simply put up feeders with special nectar. You can buy it in a special store or make your own—it’s super easy to prepare, but be sure to follow the recipe as it should be healthy for the birds.

Practical info

When can hummingbirds be seen in North Carolina?

Hummingbirds in North Carolina begin their migration around mid-March to early April and typically stay until mid-September. Some may arrive in February, but it's best to visit between mid-March and early fall if you want to see them. Show more

What are some good locations to view hummingbirds in North Carolina?

A number of gardens and parks in North Carolina are good places to observe hummingbirds. Places like Hanging Rock State Park or Beech Mountain are particularly good for bird-watching. It's also helpful to plant native flowering plants around your home and consider placing a nectar feeder to make your backyard inviting to hummingbirds. Show more

Which species of hummingbirds are commonly found in North Carolina?

While no hummingbird species is truly native to North Carolina, ruby-throated, black-chinned, buff-bellied, broad-tailed, and calliope hummingbirds can be found in the state during the summer. Allen's and broad-billed hummingbirds are more rarely seen in North Carolina during migration periods. Show more

What are effective methods for attracting hummingbirds during the breeding season?

To attract hummingbirds in North Carolina during breeding season, try planting flowering shrubs such as bee balm, columbine, cardinal flower, and coral honeysuckle. You can also introduce a hummingbird feeder with a four-to-one water to sugar solution to encourage hummingbirds to visit your feeder and supplement their diet. Show more

Do hummingbirds live in North Carolina year-round?

Most of the hummingbirds seen in North Carolina are migratory birds, typically arriving around mid-March and leaving around early fall. However, ruby-throated hummingbirds are present year-round in North Carolina, and a rufous hummingbird may occasionally be seen in the state. Show more

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