August is migration time for Ruby-throated hummingbirds. Exactly when in the month they depart depends on one’s location and when temperatures cool. Most have arrived in Central America by the second half of September.
Some well-intentioned hummingbird aficionados take their feeders down early for fear of detaining the birds later than they should remain north. August actually is an important month to continue offering sugar water. As the population moves south, they need to refuel along the way. Migrating hummingbirds from breeding grounds north of a location, will find a stocked feeder as they travel. The feeder provides an important opportunity for travelers to rest and recharge their energy. The triggers to move south are ingrained in the birds and they will not tarry just because a feeder is present. The migration occurs in an interesting sequence. Males leave first, females follow, and the last to head out are the yearlings. An adult Ruby-throated hummingbird has less mass than a nickel, yet they fly nonstop across the Gulf of Mexico. Such a phenomenal feat requires a healthy individual stocked up on nectar and insects! Ah, but then follows a winter spent in Mexico or Central America while Old Man Winter does his thing in the northeast.