Best time to travel to Virginia

Hummingbirds in Virginia

Ruby-throated and rufous hummingbirds can often be spotted in Virginia

Best time: mid-April–October

Ruby-throated hummingbird in Scottsville, Virginia

Tiny, brightly-colored hummingbirds are an absolute joy to observe. The bird family, native to South and North America, is comprised of 360 species, and a few of them can be found in Virginia. Ruby-throated hummingbirds and rufous hummingbirds are the most common in the state. Rivoli’s, black-chinned, calliope, Allen’s, and Anna’s hummingbirds have been spotted in Virginia from time to time. Since there are no resident hummingbird species in Virginia, they can only be seen during the warmer time of the year. Hummingbird season lasts approximately from mid-April to October.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds are quite easy to recognize. Males have a distinct ruby-red throat, emerald green feathers, a white collar, and a forked tail. Females have lighter feathers, grey or white with some streaks of green. Rufous hummingbirds look quite similar, especially the females, however, the rufous hummers have more green color on feathers on the back and top. Male rufous birds have orange-red throats and pointed tails.

Hummingbirds are most frequently spotted in Eastern Virginia, around Norfolk, Virginia Beach, as well as near the capital Richmond. They are also quite common in southwestern parts of the state, near Roanoke and Lynchburg.

When do hummingbirds return to Virginia

Mature male hummingbirds are usually the first to return to Virginia with the arrival of warm weather around mid-April. Females and younger birds arrive a few weeks later, in the first week of May. Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the only species that breed in Virginia. Females usually build their nests in the woods, on tops of deciduous trees, such as oaks, hornbeams, or poplars.

When do hummingbirds leave Virginia

Mature male hummingbirds are also the first to leave Virginia. They usually depart in early September heading to the tropical countries of Central America. Females and youngsters follow a couple of weeks later. Most birds leave the state by October.

Hummingbirds can be drawn to gardens with certain kinds of flowers and hummingbird feeders, filled with sugary water. Visiting up to 2000 flowers per day, these birds need a lot of nectar. They prefer tubular flowers of bright colors such as daylilies, petunias, or irises.

Practical info

When do hummingbirds return to Virginia?

Hummingbirds in Virginia begin to arrive with the onset of warm weather. Males come first, around mid-April, while females and younger birds follow a few weeks later, usually in the first week of May. Virginia's only native breeding hummingbird is the ruby-throated hummingbird, with females building nests in the deciduous woods atop trees like poplars, hornbeams, and oaks. Show more

When do hummingbirds leave Virginia?

Mature males are the first to depart Virginia in early September, with females and younger birds following a few weeks later. Most of these birds have left the state by October, and fly south to Central America for the winter months. Show more

What are some unique hummingbird species in Virginia?

Though ruby-throated and rufous hummingbirds are the most widespread species in Virginia, other species like black-chinned, Allen's, calliope, Rivoli's, and Anna's hummingbirds have been observed in Virginia on occasion. Show more

How can I attract hummingbirds to my garden in Virginia?

Hummingbirds can be attracted to gardens by planting tubular flowers in bright colors, including daylilies, petunias, and irises. Additionally, providing hummingbird feeders with sugar water can help to further entice them into your garden. Show more

Are there any specific locations in Virginia where hummingbirds are more commonly spotted?

Hummingbirds are most commonly spotted near Virginia's capital, Richmond, as well as in the eastern areas surrounding Norfolk and Virginia Beach. They are also commonly observed in the southwestern parts of Virginia, near Lynchburg and Roanoke. Show more

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