Ninety-nine percent of the hummingbirds in Houston appear only in the spring and fall while on their migratory paths to the north or south.
For several years I have recorded the dates of the appearance of hummingbirds at my feeders in the Heights.
These dates are based on the habitats I have created. It is generally believed that hummingbirds will return year after year to particular gardens. Thus, each year one should expect an increasing number of hummers. Persuading your neighbors to put up feeders also increases the odds that migrating hummers will stop at your garden.
Generally, one can expect hummingbirds to come through Houston on their spring migration around the first week of April. In my experience they do not stay long on this northerly migration.
Hummers return to Houston on their southern migration sometime in August or September. To be safe, have your fall feeders out by the first of August. In the fall they usually stay for well over a month. Past observations follow:
Fall 2013: I saw my first hummer of the fall at 1:47 pm on August 11, 2013.
Spring 2013: I saw my first hummer at 6:32 pm on April 10, 2013. The temperature was about 57 degrees!
Fall 2012: The hummers were a little late this fall, but they finally arrived in the Heights at 6:24 pm on August 22, 2012. I am hopeful that they will be here for a good while. Stayed tuned.
Spring 2012: I had my feeders up early this year, but I did not see any hummers. Spring is always a short season, but this year I received very few emails from Houstonians saying they had hummers. Maybe last year's drought had something to do with it. I do have to confess that I was out of town during the last third of March, so it is possible that they visited during that time but I was not here to observe them.
Fall 2011: The hummers were late this fall. We have been in the midst of drought and 100 degree temperatures. Finally, at 7:28 am on August 18, I saw my first hummer in the back yard. And, immediately thereafter, another hummer fighting for a turn at the feeder. Welcome back hummers!
Spring 2011: I put my feeders out on March 18th this year. I saw my first hummer on March 19th at 6:21 pm. It was high above the house and headed west. This is very early, but I have received emails from around the area that others are spotting hummers also. So far (as of 3/23/11) I have not seen hummers at the feeders. I will update for this.
Fall 2010: I put my feeders out toward the end of July, but I did not see my first hummer of the fall until 8:10 a.m. on August 5, 2010. I did get reports that others in Houston saw them about a week earlier.
Spring 2010: I put my feeders out early this spring, but to no avail. No hummers were observed in my yard. Almost all the emails I had this spring were from people wondering where the hummers were. So, if you didn't see any this spring, you were not alone. I figure our crazy winter affected the spring blooms (and eliminated many nectar plants) so that the hummers just sailed on by. I am still confident that we will have a great fall come August. Hang in there.
Fall, 2009: I saw my first hummer of the fall at my front yard feeder at 9:08 a.m. on August 4, 2009. Let's hope they are here for a long time this fall.
Spring, 2009: The hummers were really late this spring. I almost had thought they skipped us. I kept a close watch for them but didn't see any until 9:25 a.m. on Sunday, April 19, 2009.
Fall, 2008: I saw the first hummer of the fall at my front yard feeder on July 27, 2008, at 12:31 p.m. today, while I was sitting on the front porch reading. They are early. Several readers around the area reported having them in their yards for a week or so already.
Spring 2008: First hummer observed at 7:45 a.m. on March 22, 2008. We had just returned from Sarah's walk, and I was changing out the sugar syrup in the feeders (the feeders have been up for a couple of weeks now), when I caught a glimpse of what seemed to be a hummer in flight. I sharpened my gaze, and spotted the jewel in a tree branch. I welcomed her back to the garden.
Unfortunately, I only saw one more hummer at my feeders this spring. That was on March 25, 2008. Although I had kept close watch over the intervening weekend, I did not see any hummers. And I kept me feeders up late into May, with no more visitors. Other readers of this website also reported a very short supply (or no supply) of hummers this spring. Just remember, the hummers are not here long on their spring migration, even in good years.
Fall, 2007: First hummer observed at 4:22 pm on August 5, 2007. My feeders have been up for a month, because friends have email me they had seen hummers.
Spring 2007: First hummer observed at 7:05 p.m. on March 22, 2007. I've had my feeders up for some time, and had been keeping a close watch for the last week. Glad they are finally here!
Spring 2006: First hummer observed at 2:56 p.m. on March 23, 2006. I just happened to be home on a quick errand during the afternoon. After the first observation, I saw numerous hummers come to the feeders after I got back from work that same day.
Fall, 2006: First hummer observed at 7:48 am on August 15, 2006.
Spring 2005: No hummers observed during the Spring migration. And I really looked.
Fall 2005: First hummer observed at 8:49 am on August 16, 2005.
Spring 2004: First hummer observed at 7:54 am on March 21, 2004. Last hummer of the spring seen on March 31. It was a very short spring season, and there were relatively few hummers at my feeders.
Fall 2004: First hummer observed at 6:58 am on August 13, 2004.
Spring 2003: First hummer observed at 5:20 pm on March 29, 2003. Hummers were seldom seen this spring. Last hummer seen May 11, 2003.
Fall, 2003: First hummer observed at 9:59 am on August 9, 2003. Last hummer seen October 10, 2003.
Spring 2002: First hummer observed at 8:25 am on April 1, 2002. Last one of the spring seen April 8th. Seemed like a short migration.
Fall, 2002: First hummer observed at 6:40 pm on August 5, 2002. Last hummer seen on November 3, 2002. Long season.
Spring 2001: First hummer observed at 12:38 pm on April 1, 2001. Saw hummers on and off through May 15, 2001.
Fall 2001: First hummer observed at 7:42 pm on August 12, 2001. Last hummers observed October 13, 2001
Spring 2000: We really didn't have a winter. First hummer observed at 8:11 am March 21, 2000.
Fall 2000: First hummer observed at 6:34 am on August 3, 2000. Last hummer observed October 18, 2000.
Spring 1999: Unusually warm winter. First hummer observed at 6:10 pm March 15, 1999. Last hummer observed March 21, 1999.
Fall 1999: First hummer observed at 6:47 pm on August 11, 1999; Last hummer observed on October 17, 1999.
Spring 1998: First hummer observed at 3:15 pm on April 3, 1998
Fall 1998: First hummer observed at 5:57 pm on August 6, 1998. Last hummers observed October 9, 1998.
Spring 1997: No hummers observed. Maybe the cool spring explains this.
Fall 1997: First hummer observed at 7:03 am on August 5, 1997. Last hummers of the fall observed October 11, 1997.
Spring 1996: April 3, 1996 until April 10, 1996
Fall 1996: August 8, 1996 until November 3, 1996!
Spring 1995: First spring at new home. No hummers observed.
Fall 1995: August 22, 1995 until September 30, 1995.
Spring 1994: Moved from old house into temporary housing. No hummers observed.
Fall 1994: September 5, 1994 until October 20, 1994.
Spring 1993: No record of hummers.
Fall 1993: August 27,1993 until November 23, 1993(!)
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