From the Field

Connecting YOU with Wildlife – Pennsylvania Game Commission

Hummingbird Visitors this Winter?

Rufous Hummingbird by Sandy Lockerman

Rufous Hummingbird.

As colder weather arrives in Pennsylvania, energetic little visitors from the west may be arriving in our state. Several species of hummingbirds that normally spend the winter in the southern United States and Central America are now being recorded in the eastern United States, as stray individuals are migrating in a different direction than expected. Scientists are studying these birds by capturing and banding them when possible, in order to better understand what may be driving this notable behavior pattern. 

Colorful hummingbirds, such as Rufous Hummingbird, Allen’s Hummingbird, Black-Chinned Hummingbird and Calliope Hummingbird are showing up in people’s backyards and taking advantage of sugar water feeders left hanging, long after our native-nesting Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have departed. These diminutive birds are adapted to handle cold weather, and supplement their diet with small insects and spiders that they find on plants. 

An excellent summary of the “Wintering Western Hummingbird” phenomenon in Pennsylvania may be found on the eBird citizen science page for our state.

If you or someone you know has a hummingbird show up in their yard this fall or winter, you are encouraged to contact one of the five certified hummingbird researchers who are based in Pennsylvania:

 Scott Weidensaul, scottweidensaul@verizon.net.

Sandy Lockerman, sandylockerman@yahoo.com.

Bob Mulvihill, robert.mulvihill@gmail.com.

Wayne Laubscher, wnlaubscher@comcast.net.

David Hauber, haubers3@penn.com.

Male Rufous1

Male Rufous

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