Discover When Hummingbirds Will Return to Virginia

Ruby-throated hummingbird at backyard feeder
© Robert Winkler/iStock via Getty Images

Written by Nina Phillips

Published: March 25, 2024

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Nothing feels quite like spring like seeing a brightly-colored hummingbird flying by. These tiny birds zip around, moving from flower to flower. They brighten up any garden they enter. But when should you start to expect hummingbirds to return to Virginia?

To find the answer to that question, as well as where the hummingbirds travel from, the species you’ll find in the state, and their favorite foods, you’ll have to keep reading.

Where Do Hummingbirds Come From?

Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird At Feeder

Hummingbirds travel from both South America and Canada to the US.

©Hooplion/iStock via Getty Images

Hummingbirds travel incredibly long distances. Hummingbirds come from a few different places when they return to Virginia. Depending on the species, they can come from South America, Mexico, Florida, or even Canada.

Some of the hummingbirds don’t even end their travels in Virginia. They’re just passing through onto their next destination.

Using Energy

Close-up of trumpet vine (Latin: Campsis radicans) with details of flowers and foliage. This climbing plant is also called trumpet climber ou Virginian trumpet flower.

Trumpet vines are a favorite of several hummingbird species.

©martin.dlugo/Shutterstock.com

During these migrations, hummingbirds use a lot of energy. You can do your part to help by making sure they have easy access to the foods they love.

Hummingbird feeders are an excellent way to entice hummingbirds to your yard. All you need is the feeder itself and some sugar and water.

However, there is also a natural option. You can plant flowers in your yard that hummingbirds love. Long, tubular flowers are usually the favorites, such as trumpet vines, bee balm, and cardinal flowers.

Each species likes slightly different flowers. To draw them all into your yard, you could plant a variety, or pick the flowers that your favorite species enjoys and watch them come in during the spring and summer months.

If there are no hummingbird feeders or their favorite flowers around, don’t worry too much. While they do enjoy nectar, these small birds will also eat small insects and spiders.

Species of Hummingbirds Returning to Virginia

Calliope hummingbird in flight

Calliope hummingbirds, pictured above, are one of the species you can find in Virginia.

©iStock.com/McBenjamen

There are no hummingbird species that reside permanently in Virginia. This means that all the hummingbirds leave Virginia later in the year and don’t return until the middle of April.

Ruby-Throated (Archilochus colubris) and rufous hummingbirds (Selasphorus rufus) are the two most common species you’ll see in the state. However, several species stop during their travels.

The two species look rather similar, but there are some slight variations. Ruby-Throated hummingbirds are more gray in their flanks, for one. Additionally, their throat colors are a little different. As their name suggests, ruby-throated hummingbirds have more of a brilliant red throat. Meanwhile, rufous hummingbirds have a slightly more orange throat.

Some of the other hummingbirds you’ll see include:

  • Anna’s hummingbird (Calypte anna)
  • Allen’s hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin)
  • Rivoli’s hummingbird (Eugenes fulgens)
  • Black-Chinned hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri)
  • Calliope hummingbird (Selasphorus calliope)

When Will Hummingbirds Return to Virginia

A beautiful, sun-drenched spring summer meadow. Natural colorful panoramic landscape with many wild flowers of daisies against blue sky. A frame with soft selective focus.

Hummingbirds return to Virginia during the spring season.

©LedyX/Shutterstock.com

Hummingbirds start to return to Virginia in the middle of April. Male hummingbirds return first. A few weeks later, around May, females and younger hummingbirds join in on the migration.

When hummingbirds arrive in Virginia, they are most commonly found in places such as Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Richmond, Roanoke, and Lynchburg.

Only one species of hummingbird breeds in Virginia. This is the ruby-throated hummingbird. If you look, you can find the females making nests around the state. They prefer nesting in trees such as oaks, hornbeams, and poplars.


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About the Author

Nina is a writer at A-Z Animals, FIDIS Travel, and Giant Freakin Robot. Her focus is on wildlife, national parks, and the environment. She has been writing about animals for over three years. Nina holds a Bachelor's in Conservation Biology, which she uses when talking about animals and their natural habitats. In her free time, Nina also enjoys working on writing her novels and short stories. As a resident of Colorado, Nina enjoys getting out in nature, traveling, and watching snow hit the mountains from her enclosed porch.

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