Hummingbirds are migrating. When will they return to Ohio? Use this interactive map to see

With spring on the way, hummingbirds aren't far behind. An interactive map can help you track their journey as they make their way north from their winter homes in Central America and Mexico.

For the past 10 years, Hummingbird Central has tracked hummingbirds' northward migration. Ken Freeman, a Hummingbird Central staff member, says the site relies on "citizen spotters" to report their first hummingbird sightings.

"Last year we received over 12,000 sighting reports from all over the United States and Canada," Freeman said in an email to the Democrat & Chronicle in Rochester, New York. "Watching hummingbirds is indeed a popular 'hobby' for many nature lovers."

So when will hummingbirds appear in Ohio?

Ruby-throated hummingbirds are a common sight in Ohio.
Ruby-throated hummingbirds are a common sight in Ohio.

When do hummingbirds return to Ohio?

Hummingbird Central relies on "citizen spotters" to track the birds' migration. The project starts in January and continues through May. Reports have already started rolling in from Texas, Florida, Louisiana and California, with the earliest sighting reported on Feb. 8 in Laguna Vista, Texas.

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In Ohio, residents can expect to spot the birds from early April, in the southern part of the state, through early May in the north, according to the 2023 spotters' map.

What species of hummingbirds will we see in Ohio?

There are two main species of hummingbirds in Ohio, according to Bird Advisors, but a total of seven are recognized in state bird records.

  • Ruby-throated hummingbirds are a common sight in summer. They are bright green on the back and crown, with a gray-white underside and the males have an iridescent red throat. Female Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are green on the back and white underneath with brownish crowns and sides.

  • Rufous hummingbirds are not very common in Ohio but a few each year do wander this far north in winter, Bird Advisors says. They are bright orange on the back and belly, a white patch below the throat, and an iridescent red throat in the males.  The females are greenish-brown on the back and rusty colored on the sides with a whitish belly.

  • Mexican violetears are extremely rare in Ohio. Some non-breeding Mexican Violetears may fly north into the United States, more commonly to Texas. Some have been spotted as far north as Michigan and Ohio but very rarely.

  • Black-chinned hummingbirds have only been seen in 2020, near Columbus.

  • Calliope hummingbirds have only been spotted here a few times around Columbus, 2017 being the last.

  • Allen’s hummingbirds have only been spotted in Ohio a few times in winter. They have not been recorded in the past 10 years.

  • Anna’s hummingbirds have been spotted only a few times in the state in winter but not since 2017.

How to attract hummingbirds? Plants and flowers to use

If you are interested in attracting more hummingbirds to your homes and gardens this spring, here are a few of Hummingbird Central's tips and tricks:

  • Shelter: Large trees, shrubs and gardens help to provide hummingbirds with not only food but also a sense of protection and a place for resting in between meals.

  • Food in nature: The hummingbird's diet includes nectar from flowers, red flowers being their favorite, and small insects.

  • Water: Hummingbirds enjoy shallow bird baths for both drinking and bathing. They tend to especially enjoy water with movement, like a small waterfall.

  • Plants and flowers: Some of hummingbirds' favorite flowers and plants that you can add to your garden include: Lantana, Zinnias, Pentas, Salvia, Batface Cuphea, Hot Lips, Fire Bush, Nasturtiums and Coreopsis.

  • Hummingbird feeders: Along with flowers and plants to provide shelter, hummingbird feeders are another great way to attract these little birds to your garden.

Madison Scott of the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle contributed to this report.

This article originally appeared on Record-Courier: When will hummingbirds return to Ohio? Use this map to follow migration