Best time to travel to South Carolina

Hummingbirds in South Carolina

About half a dozen hummingbirds species visit South Carolina

Best time: April–October

Ruby-throated hummingbird

Hummingbirds are the smallest migrating birds in America. They are also fascinating to observe in your garden. Every spring, thousands of hummingbirds migrate from their wintering sites in Florida, Mexico, Florida, or other countries into Central America and pass through Southern Carolina. In the fall, they make an impressive journey back, covering over 1000 miles (1600 km).

Seven species of hummingbirds have been spotted in Southern Carolina. However, only two species are observed on a regular basis. Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the most common as they breed and nest in the state, spending the whole summer season here. Rufous hummingbirds nest on the West Coast but are sometimes spotted in South Carolina during migrations.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris) got their name because males boast a beautiful ruby-red throat, creating a contrast with a white collar and emerald-green back. Females are paler with white and grey-green feathers. These birds have been spotted frequently along South Carolina's Atlantic Coast, in Myrtle Beach and Charleson. In the central part of the state, they have been commonly seen in the area of Lake Murray, near Columbia.

Rufous hummingbirds (Selasphorus rufus) sometimes visit South Carolina in the winter and can be spotted in gardens near feeders. Males boast bright orange throats and darker orange backs, while females have green backs and white-tipped tails.

When hummingbirds arrive in South Carolina

Ruby-throated hummingbirds arrive in South Carolina from late March to early April for the breeding season. People usually put out their hummingbird feeders in the gardens around March 11. After some breeding rituals, tiny birds usually build their nests on deciduous trees near a river or a stream. Females lay 1-3 eggs.

When hummingbirds leave South Carolina

Hummingbirds start their journey back to their wintering grounds in September. Males are the first ones to head south. Females follow after a few weeks, usually in October. Juvenile birds are the last to leave because they need to accumulate body mass for the long journey.

Attracting hummingbirds

Putting out a hummingbird feeder is the best way to attract tiny creatures to your yard. Fill the feeder with nectar mixing 1/4 cup of sugar with 1 cup of water, and don't forget to clean it every few days. Planting tubular flowers is another good idea. Honeysuckle trumpets, creeping trumpets, and petunias are some of the best plants to sustain hummingbirds, which visit about 1000 flowers every day to collect nectar.

Practical info

What is the best time to observe hummingbirds in South Carolina?

South Carolina's prime time for hummingbird observation is from April until October. Late summer is the season's peak, with the arrival of Ruby-throated hummingbirds to nest on trees near rivers or streams. The males usually come between late March and early April, before breeding and breeding. The birds start to leave in late September - with males leaving first to prepare for migratory travel. Show more

What species of hummingbirds can be spotted in South Carolina?

Reports show that Southern Carolina has seven recognised hummingbird species, but only the ruby-throated hummingbird and rufous hummingbird are commonly seen. Out of the two, the Ruby-throated hummingbird is more common and breeds in the state. They spend the summer season in the area, building their nests in deciduous trees. The rufous hummingbird comes from the West coast but has been seen in South Carolina during migration. Show more

Where in South Carolina are hummingbirds commonly found?

South Carolina's Atlantic Coast is the primary hummingbird location, with Charleson and Myrtle Beach being the most sighted areas for Ruby-throated hummingbirds. Central areas close to Lake Murray, in Columbia, are also frequented. Besides feeding off nectar, hummingbirds have been sighted in gardens in search of insects. Planting flowers such as honeysuckle trumpets and creeping trumpets is an excellent way to attract hummingbirds. Show more

When do hummingbirds start to migrate back to their wintering grounds?

Hummingbirds depart for their wintering grounds starting in September, with the male leaving before the females. The female birds embark on their journey a few weeks later, usually in October. Juvenile hummingbirds are the last to depart because they need to build their mass for the upcoming travel. Migration typically covers over 1600 km, and this journey is a regular part of their life cycle. Show more

How can you attract hummingbirds to your yard in South Carolina?

Hummingbird feeders can readily attract hummingbirds to any South Carolina backyard. Provide nectar by mixing sugar (1/4 cup) and water (1 cup), with regular cleaning of the hummingbird feeder recommended. Tubular flowers such as honeysuckle trumpets, creeping trumpets, and petunias work well on attracting hummingbirds. Attracting hummingbirds is crucial, prompting the tiny creatures to visit up to 1000 flowers to collect nectar every day. Show more

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Last updated: by Olga Valchyshen