More than 360 tiny, iridescent birds in the Trochilidae family of hummingbirds are endemic to the Americas. These microscopic flying diamonds can be found almost wherever in between, including the United States, and as far north as Alaska and as far south as the southern point of South America.
Although hummingbirds can be found all over the United States, in many places they are only visible during the breeding and migration seasons. But in some areas, hummingbirds can be seen all year long—even during the winter! Find out where in the United States you can still see hummingbirds in February by reading on.
The Pacific Coast States
The year-round resident species of California, Oregon, and Washington is the Anna’s hummingbird (Calypte anna). Furthermore, certain areas of Southern California are the breeding grounds for Allen’s hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin) and Costa’s hummingbird (Calypte costae).
In regions of the Southwestern United States, particularly in southeast Arizona and near the border between the United States and Mexico in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, hummingbirds are year-round visitors. In addition to permanent species like Costa’s and Anna’s hummingbirds, some returning migratory species may begin nesting as early as February.
In addition to inhabiting a large portion of the two previously mentioned locations, Anna’s hummingbirds also migrate to Nevada for the winter. The far western and southern regions of the state are most prone to see them.
The Gulf Coast
Selasphorus rufus, the rufous hummingbird, spends the winters in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, and Florida along the Gulf Coast. Furthermore, some ruby-throated hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris) spend the winter close to the Gulf Coast instead of migrating over the Gulf of Mexico as is customary.
Many more ruby-throated hummingbirds spend the winter in South Florida, in addition to those that are resident along the Gulf Coast as previously mentioned. Furthermore, in February, as they travel north for the spring, their cousins who did migrate even further south for the winter will begin to reappear in the state!
United States Caribbean Islands
Numerous year-round hummingbird species can be found in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These include the green-throated Carib (Eulampis holosericeus), Antillean mango (Anthracothorax dominicus), and Antillean crested hummingbird (Orthorhyncus cristatus). The green mango (Anthracothorax viridis) and the Puerto Rican emerald (Chlorostilbon maugaeus) are two more indigenous species found in Puerto Rico.
What About the Rest of the United States?
Even in the dead of winter, there’s a chance to see a hummingbird, even if they’re not common throughout the most of the remaining United States. Certain birds might have been lone individuals who chose not to migrate with the rest of their species, while others might have been vagrants that wandered outside the typical migration path. The timing, location, and likelihood of various hummingbird species’ migration throughout North America may also be impacted by climate change. A rise in artificial hummingbird feeders and decorative plantings may be contributing to the number of hummingbirds staying put over the winter, along with milder winters.
“Off-season” hummingbirds are discovered farther east and north than their usual ranges each year, maybe due to lingering strays, unintentional visitation, or larger changing patterns. Make sure to report any sightings of a rare winter hummingbird visiting if you are fortunate enough to see one in your area!
Although they can be observed all throughout the United States, in many places they are mostly visible during the breeding and migrating seasons. The United States’ Pacific Coast states, the Southwest, the Gulf Coast, South Florida, and the U.S. Caribbean (Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands) are the areas where hummingbird sightings are most likely to occur in February.
Winter hummingbirds, however, may also be seen in other locations since certain birds may not migrate or may venture outside of their typical range. There may possibly be a correlation between changing weather patterns and heightened human intervention through artificial feeders and decorative plants that attract winter hummingbirds nationwide.