I love hummingbirds, and I want to see and photograph them. I’m in Texas, slightly north of Austin. What time of year is best to see them, and what’s my best bet for getting a good look? I figure I’ll just find patches of hummingbird-favored flowers at local parks and hang around with a tripod. What time of day is best?
if you don’t mind a road trip, it might be fun to drive to Tuscon in the spring to check out all the hummingbird hotspots. you could stop by the Ft. Davis area in West Texas on the way back.
hummingbirds should be in AZ and TX from spring through fall, but the best time of year should be during the spring and fall migrations. i’ve seen them at all times of the day, but i think you’ll see a lot more activity when the plants they feed on perk up, such as when desert plants perk up after some light rains.
I am not really a birder, so I am not the best person to ask, but I have seen many hummingbirds at hummingbird feeders in people’s gardens in Southern California. Probably only the most common species though.
Eyes. The best way to see hummingbirds is with your eyes.
Ok joking aside, seems like Central/South America has a greater biodiversity of Trochilids, so a trip there may be in favour. If you prefer to stay put, I hear putting those nectar feeders can increase chances of hummingbird visitors. This is coming from someone who knows very little about their behaviour.
Texas has amazing hummingbird diversity! You can use ebird to find out where and when you can see particular species. Go to https://ebird.org/canada/explore and you can type in a particular hummingbird species in the “Explore Species” tab and then see a map. Zoom in to your area and it will show you where and when the species has been seen. Alternatively, if you are not sure which species to look for, type your region into “Explore Regions” and then zoom in to find birding hotspots near you, where you will also be able to see which species are there and their relative abundances.
For hummingbirds, once you find a good hotspot to visit, your best bet is to find a hummingbird feeder and setup maybe 15 meters away to wait for them to come. Or, get to learn the sounds they make to be better able to spot them on trails.
I can’t speak for Texas, but in California I have often seen large numbers of them in natural areas with a big bloom of flowers, as well as in gardens what have bushes that bloom for extended periods of time, especially bushed that have either tube-shaped flowers or flowers with lots of nectar.
they are kind of everywhere in the San Francisco Bay Area, but they are almost all Anna’s Hummingbirds here, maybe a few Black Chinned and Allen’s, too.
This is the Bay Area record for Hummingbird sittings:
These seem to be hummingbird hotspots in Texas on iNaturalist:
(Austin looks promising!)
here is a map showing density of hummingbird observations in the US:
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