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Hummingbirds In Ohio: 5 Cutest Hummer Species

hummingbird hovering

Anyone with a strong affinity for an extraordinary sighting of Ohio hummingbirds probably wonders when is the best time to do it in this state. Consider yourself lucky! You just landed on the right page, so please read on. Find out more about these bird species' field marks, behavior, habitat, and diet. 

You might as well enjoy this fascinating learning experience to know which types of hummingbirds in Ohio you will likely encounter in the area. At the same time, discover what native plants can help you attract hummingbirds in your backyard.

Different Species Of Ohio Hummingbirds

You will never run out of premier birding spots in Ohio due to the abundance of its natural resources and remarkable biodiversity. Many wild birds find a home in Central Ohio; you also get to witness hummingbird species during their spring movement.

Even the ruby-throated finds its way back to the region after traveling farther south, creating nests and raising its young in backyards in springtime.

Educating ourselves about the lives of these birds hopefully leads to an innate desire for the conservation and restoration of natural ecosystems. Hummers have the fascinating ability to keep evolving through time.

It can be challenging to identify hummingbirds for newbies as these birds are barely larger-sized than your thumb, almost similar-looking, and have rapid movements. Hummingbirds are beautiful, harmless, and conveniently close to humans.

It makes them very appealing to a growing population of wildlife enthusiasts. Each species displays an extensive range of behaviors, and what's even better, you get to experience a close encounter with them even from your backyard.

As new species continue to emerge, what will probably spark your interest in these hummers is how they work to maintain their ecosystem. Let's see the common Ohio backyard birds in the area and marvel at how they protect and survive in the unique habitats they enjoy living in today.

1. Rufous Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird

The rufous hummingbird is a rare visitor since it is more prevalent in the western part than in Ohio. Some even refer to it as the winter hatch-year migrant in South Carolina, but its existence is pretty rare in North Carolina.

Such is a familiar hummer in Ohio and is widespread throughout eastern North America.

A rufous or ruff-necked hummingbird is a diminutive creature with a long slender bill. You will recognize it with no trouble by the iridescence on its red throat and the bright orange shade on its back and belly.

Adult males can have an entirely scarlet back if not mixed with iridescent green. On the other hand, females and juvenile males are primarily radiant green with heavy streaks of rufous and black in their tails.

The bird's notorious aggression ensures a reliable nectar supply to sustain the necessary energy it requires for traveling long distances. These migratory birds nest farther north than any hummingbird, even setting the record for the longest flight from Alaska to Mexico. 

Such a hummingbird nests in coniferous forest habitats; it enjoys inhabiting parks, urban gardens, meadows, woodlands, mountains, and streamsides. A rufous hummingbird diet consists of many flowers and native plants like manzanitas and gooseberries.

2. Calliope Hummingbird

Calliope Hummingbird
Calliope Hummingbird

Aside from being a rare hummingbird, the Calliope is also the smallest of its kind in America's northern regions. Aside from its brilliant colors and timid personality, you'll have many other things to love about this bird. Its back and head are metallic green, with a short and dark bill.

Calliope males are smaller than females, with a metallic purple shade from their chin down to the throat, while the females have white chins and throats.

It migrates and visits leak-proof hummingbird feeders in Ohio during spring or fall, flying from central British Columbia through Arizona and New Mexico to its breeding ground. A red flower attracts the Calliope hummingbird, such as California fuchsia and western coral bean.

Besides the southwest and the Pacific coast, Calliope hummingbirds breed in high elevations in most parts of the west. This tiny creature moves to high mountain slopes in summer; features a unique courtship where females prefer male territories for abundant prime feeding plants.

You will likely encounter its males in open spaces, whereas females prefer nesting in the woods. It tends to breed in mixed brushland and forest with deciduous or coniferous trees. Otherwise, you can find these hummers in canyon bottoms, valley floors, and forest clearings.

Furthermore, a Calliope hummingbird generally feeds on sap and the insects it attracts. The bird also forages spiders from air or foliage and sugar water at backyard feeders.

3. Ruby Throated Hummingbird

Ruby Throated Hummingbird
Ruby Throated Hummingbird

Birdwatchers barely recognize sometimes that it's a ruby throated hummingbird or Archilochus colubris, whirring its way to a lichen patch on a branch near the water. It uses the patch as a nesting ground, attaching the bud scales and fibers to the lichen branch with spider silk.

You get to experience hand-feeding this bird in Lake Hope State Park, where its kind is abundant in the area. It is the only native hummingbird nesting across eastern North America, eye-catching with its brilliant plumes that sparkle like a gem.

Such a bird gets to visit as many as 2,000 red or yellow flowers in a day. Flower nectar attracts this hummer - the ruby-throated enjoys the sweet juice of a flower that lures a pollinating insect or bird.

It's hard to ignore its energetic presence in an area, buzzing its way to a food supply, like a nectar feeder.

These hummingbirds make a comeback to Ohio's northeastern part in late April. Mixed deciduous woodlands with clearings, where insects and wildflowers are abundant, comprise this hummer's preferred habitats.

You will likely chance upon this darling as it perches on exposed twigs between foraging sessions and guarding its territory. A ruby-throated hummingbird has scale-like feathers that look like a prism displaying its ruby red plumage. 

Its gorget would seem to shift from black to green to red when it turns its head. The legs are tiny, but such a hummer has sharp claws that come in handy in territorial fights. Even its female would safeguard the territory surrounding its nest.

Both sexes have iridescent green upper bodies; males have a white chest and a black face, and females are white underneath with buff sides.

4. Annas Hummingbird

Annas Hummingbird
Annas Hummingbird

The Annas hummingbird, the most vocal hummer species in the United States, is an accidental visitor to Ohio. Such a bird migrates south to Central America once the breeding season ends. 

This medium-sized hummer is among the species, including the Allens hummingbird, residing exclusively in the US or Canada, even through the winter. It has a long slender bill with metallic green upperparts; males have rose-red heads, and females are pale gray underneath.

Such a bird has no regular migrating pattern but moves high up the mountains in summer and fall.

Only a few species, such as Anna's hummingbird, can co-exist comfortably with humans. It benefits from the nectar of non-native sources, such as South American tree tobacco, aloe, and eucalyptus. In addition, this hummer also enjoys flowers, tree sap, and insects on tree bark.

Although there's a distinctive pattern among North American hummers, courtship displays and mating behaviors differ for every species. Like Allen's, Anna's hummingbird breeds earlier, so you might encounter this vagrant in Ohio during winter, but it does not breed in the region.

You will likely encounter them in backyards, exploiting a hummingbird feeder. Further, Anna's hummer is well-known for its rapid flight movement and preference for inhabiting dense coastal shrubs, city gardens, and woodlands.

5. Broad Tailed Hummingbird

Broad Tailed Hummingbird
Broad Tailed Hummingbird

The broad-tailed hummer, also well-known as the mountain hummingbird or the hummingbird of subalpine meadows, looks identical to the ruby-throated hummingbird. However, these two hummers do not have overlapping ranges despite the shared looks.

Ornithologists state that such species encounter hybridization in the wild, together with the Allen, Costa, and Anna hummingbirds.

It typically takes months to complete a broad-tailed hummer's annual molt, while some of its kind wait until they are in their breeding grounds. Such a hummer relies on flowering plants as its food source and enjoys sweet willow sap and flying insects.

The males have bluish-green upperparts, a long bill, green and buff flanks, and rose-red throat patches. The females and young males are plain-looking compared to white tips on outer tail feathers.

A broad-tailed male displays aggressiveness and is in charge of defending territories by showcasing aerial displays, like the circuit flight and shallow dive. It dwells in open woodlands and subalpine meadows rich in willow, pine, fir, or spruce.

The reason why such species strongly prefer high elevation is to conserve heat and prevent thermal inversion. It can be very territorial, with the males taking advantage of high perches for closer inspection of their territory. The males can also produce a loud trilling sound in flight.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the hummingbird Ohio migration happening this year?

The hummingbirds Ohio migration occurs in spring, with these birds arriving by late April or late May. Although typically, the male hummingbirds arrive first in early April, about two weeks earlier than the females.

However, hummingbird migration is more abundant between May and September. Any reported hummer visiting in late October is a rare occurrence in the state. You might even chance upon these birds fluttering their way to their wintering grounds in South America and Mexico.

What are the rare hummingbirds of Ohio?

The Buckeye State had a hummingbird sighting of the black-chinned hummingbird sometime in November 2020. While Rufous and Calliope are native species, only the ruby-throated hummer occurs in the state regularly. Even the Mexican violetear is a rare visitor to the state.

When should you stop feeding hummingbirds in Ohio?

The best time to start removing your feeders is by the end of every hummingbird Ohio migration. You can leave the feeders until mid-October. In this way, your feeding stations will still be accessible for ruby-throated hummingbirds after the resident birds have left.

What Northeast Ohio hummingbirds can you find in the region?

New birders often face challenges in knowing what species are in their area at a given time. Ruby-throated hummers return to Northeast Ohio after spending the winter in Central America. These birds are the only common hummingbird species in Ohio, specifically Cleveland.

Encountering any other species in the Eastern states is only a rare occurrence. Males begin claiming territories late in April, while female ruby-throated hummingbirds start nesting in early May.

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Hummingbirds have played a significant part in human culture for centuries. But gone are the days when only pictures of hummingbirds in Ohio fascinate birdwatchers. Now everyone can watch and observe these feathered friends up close.

The Midwest has an undeniable diverse ecosystem. Therefore, it comes as no surprise how you get to see hummingbirds and butterflies flitting among blooming trees day in and out.

Understanding these birds' physical characteristics, energy requirements, and behavior will allow you to make your garden a haven for these beautiful creatures. Once you do, see how your space would feel like a different place when you share it with birds.

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