Hummingbirds in Indiana (With Pictures)

Hummingbirds in Indiana (With Pictures)

Hummingbirds, those tiny, vibrant jewels of the sky, are a captivating sight in Indiana’s diverse landscapes. As spring unfurls its colors across the Hoosier state, these miniature aviators embark on their remarkable journey north, bringing with them a sense of wonder and enchantment. Indiana, with its rich floral diversity and welcoming habitats, plays host to several species of hummingbirds, most notably the Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

These birds, often no larger than a person’s thumb, exhibit astonishing aerial feats, hovering and darting with unparalleled agility. Their iridescent plumage glimmers in the sunlight, adding a splash of brilliance to gardens and wild spaces alike. This article delves into the fascinating world of Indiana’s hummingbirds, exploring their unique behaviors, preferred habitats, and the vital role they play in the ecosystem as pollinators.

As we journey through the lives of these extraordinary birds, we also uncover the challenges they face and the conservation efforts vital for their continued presence in Indiana’s vibrant natural tapestry.

1. Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

  • Scientific name: Archilochus colubris
  • Life span: 3-5 years
  • Size: 3-3.75 in
  • Weight: 2-6 g
  • Wingspan: 3.1-4.3 in
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Breeding and common

The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, a dazzling spectacle of nature, graces the eastern half of North America, from Canada down to Mexico. During the breeding season, it is commonly found in Indiana, favoring woodland edges, gardens, and meadows.

The male flaunts a brilliant ruby-red throat, contrasting sharply with its emerald green back and white underparts. The female, though lacking the ruby throat, shares the same iridescent green back, making them both a delightful sight in any backyard or garden.

A Ruby-Throated Hummingbird drinking nectar in flight

The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird brings a touch of magic to Indiana with its nesting rituals. These diminutive birds construct their nests with an artisan’s precision, often choosing sheltered branches in deciduous or pine trees.

The female meticulously builds the walnut-sized nest using plant down, spider silk, and lichen, creating a soft yet durable cradle for her eggs. This nest, blending seamlessly into the surrounding foliage, is a marvel of natural engineering, offering a cozy haven for her precious brood.

In the verdant landscapes of Indiana, the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird embarks on a ceaseless quest for nectar. They flit from flower to flower, their wings a blur of motion, savouring the sweet nectar that fuels their high-energy lifestyle.

These birds are particularly fond of tubular flowers, where their long beaks and tongues can easily access the nectar. In addition to floral nectar, they also consume small insects and spiders, adding essential proteins to their diet.

The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird’s conservation story in Indiana is one of relative success. Despite challenges like habitat loss and climate change, their populations remain stable, thanks in part to widespread public interest and conservation efforts.

Gardeners and nature enthusiasts often plant nectar-rich flowers and maintain hummingbird feeders, creating a network of support. Conservation initiatives also focus on preserving natural habitats and educating the public about the importance of these vibrant birds.

2. Black-Chinned Hummingbird

  • Scientific name: Archilochus alexandri
  • Life span: 3-6 years
  • Size: 3-4 in
  • Weight: 2.5-4.5 g
  • Wingspan: 4.3-5.1 in
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Migratory and rare       

The Black-Chinned Hummingbird, an elusive gem, primarily dwells in the western United States and Mexico, occasionally venturing eastward. Indiana sightings of this species are rare and always thrilling.

The male’s defining feature is its black throat with a lower border of iridescent purple, set against a backdrop of dull green upperparts and flanks. The female, more subdued in color, shares the green back but has a white underbelly, creating a graceful contrast.

A Black-Chinned Hummingbird in flight

In the rare instances that Black-Chinned Hummingbirds find themselves in Indiana, they only come to visit and are not breeding in the state. The female chooses a sheltered location in a tree or shrub, carefully crafting a tiny, cup-shaped nest from plant fibers, spider silk, and bits of bark.

This nest, often camouflaged with bits of lichen and leaves, provides a secure and nurturing environment for her eggs, showcasing her resourcefulness and adaptability even in unfamiliar territory.

While visiting Indiana, the diet of the Black-Chinned Hummingbird mainly comprises nectar from both wildflowers and feeders. They exhibit a preference for red or purple flowers, hovering in mid-air as they extract nectar with their long tongues.

These birds also hunt for small insects in mid-flight, adding essential protein to their sugary diet. Their foraging activities are a captivating dance of precision and grace, a testament to their adaptability.

Black-Chinned Hummingbirds are rare in Indiana, and thus, local conservation efforts indirectly impact them. Conservation measures in their primary western habitats, such as protecting feeding and breeding grounds, are crucial.

Additionally, public education about the importance of hummingbirds and the maintenance of feeders and flower gardens across their migratory paths help support their populations. The occasional sighting of a Black-Chinned Hummingbird in Indiana is a reminder of the wonders of migration and the importance of conservation across state lines.

3. Rufous Hummingbird

  • Scientific name: Selasphorus rufus
  • Life span: 3-5 years
  • Size: 2.75-3.75 in
  • Weight: 2.5-4.5 g
  • Wingspan: 3.5-4.3 in
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Migratory and rare

Venturing into the world of the Rufous Hummingbird is like stepping into a realm of ceaseless energy. This bird’s range spans from Alaska to Mexico, a testament to its hardy nature. The Rufous is a standout with its striking orange-brown plumage that covers most of its body, complemented by a white breast.

The male’s throat glimmers with an intense shade of orange-red, adding to its fiery appearance. Despite being a rare visitor to Indiana, spotting one is a memorable event for any birdwatcher. 

Close up photo of a Rufous Hummingbird sitting on a stick

The Rufous Hummingbird, an occasional visitor to Indiana, is known for its adventurous nesting habits. When they do nest, the female selects a site in a shrub or tree, often near a water source.

She skillfully constructs a compact, cup-shaped nest using plant materials, spider webs, and moss. This cozy nest not only provides warmth and security for her eggs but also showcases her remarkable ability to adapt to various environments, even far from her usual western range.

The diet of a Rufous Hummingbird, while in Indiana, primarily consists of nectar from flowers and feeders. They are especially drawn to brightly colored blooms, darting between flowers with acrobatic agility.

These birds also supplement their diet with small insects and spiders, providing them with the necessary protein and nutrients for their energetic lifestyle. Their foraging behavior is a delightful display, adding a dynamic element to the gardens and natural spaces they visit.

Rufous Hummingbirds, though rare in Indiana, benefit indirectly from broader hummingbird conservation efforts. Initiatives include habitat preservation, especially in their primary western range, and public education about the importance of hummingbirds.

As migratory birds, they also benefit from international conservation agreements and efforts to protect migratory routes. The presence of Rufous Hummingbirds in Indiana, even as rare guests, highlights the interconnectedness of ecosystems and the need for comprehensive conservation strategies.

4. Anna’s Hummingbird

  • Scientific name: Calypte anna
  • Life span: 4-6 years
  • Size: 3.9-4.3 in
  • Weight: 2-6 g
  • Wingspan: 4.7-5.9 in
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Migratory and rare       

Anna’s Hummingbird, with its year-round presence along the Pacific Coast and occasional visits to the eastern states, is a true wanderer. In Indiana, sightings of this bird are rare and cause for excitement. The male is easily recognized by its iridescent emerald green back and a dazzling rose-pink throat and head, giving it a regal appearance.

The female, though less colorful with a green back and grayish underparts, carries a subtle charm with her delicate features and sparkling green crown.

An Anna’s Hummingbird sitting on a leaf

Anna’s Hummingbird, an infrequent visitor to Indiana, displays remarkable nesting habits. The female, should she choose to nest during her rare visits, selects a protected spot in a tree or shrub.

She constructs a tiny, cup-like nest using plant down and spider silk, artfully decorating it with bits of lichen for camouflage. This nest is a testament to her ingenuity, providing a warm and secure place for her eggs in a landscape far from her usual range.

The diet of Anna’s Hummingbird in Indiana primarily consists of nectar from flowers and feeders. They are particularly attracted to flowers with high nectar output, moving swiftly and elegantly from bloom to bloom.

In addition to nectar, these birds also consume small insects and spiders, ensuring a balanced diet. Their foraging behavior is not just a quest for sustenance but a ballet of agility and precision, adding vibrancy to the environments they visit.

As Anna’s Hummingbirds are rare in Indiana, conservation efforts are more focused on their primary range along the Pacific Coast. However, initiatives such as habitat preservation, especially in urban and suburban areas where they are more likely to visit, indirectly benefit these birds.

Public interest in hummingbirds and the maintenance of bird-friendly gardens and feeders also play a role in supporting their occasional visits. The appearance of Anna’s Hummingbird in Indiana is a delightful rarity, underscoring the importance of conservation efforts across different regions.

Where to look for Hummingbirds in Indiana

Finding hummingbirds in Indiana, a state graced with rich natural habitats, can be a delightful experience for bird enthusiasts. These tiny, energetic birds, particularly the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, are Indiana’s summer guests, frequenting areas rich in nectar-filled flowers and feeders.

  • The Indiana Dunes State Park, with its diverse ecosystems of dunes, woods, and wetlands, offers a perfect backdrop for hummingbird watching. The variety of wildflowers here is a significant draw for these nectar-seeking birds.
  • The Bloomington area, especially around the Indiana University campus and the city’s numerous public gardens, provides an urban oasis for hummingbirds. With a mix of natural and landscaped areas, it’s a hotspot for sightings.
  • The Fort Harrison State Park in Indianapolis is another excellent location. Its mix of mature woods and open areas make it an ideal habitat for hummingbirds.
  • Prophetstown State Park, known for its prairies and open spaces, attracts hummingbirds that thrive in the sunlit expanses rich with wildflowers.

To find hummingbirds, visiting these areas in the early morning or late afternoon, when they are most active, is key. Setting up a hummingbird feeder or planting a garden with tubular flowers like salvia, petunias, and bee balm can also attract them.

With patience and a little effort, these locations in Indiana can provide a rewarding opportunity to observe the charming antics of hummingbirds.


The allure of hummingbirds in Indiana is a testament to the state’s rich natural beauty and biodiversity. From the sandy shores of Indiana Dunes to the flowering gardens of Bloomington, these vibrant birds enhance the summer landscape with their dynamic presence.

Their remarkable resilience and adaptability remind us of nature’s wonders and the importance of conserving their habitats. Whether a seasoned birder or a casual observer, the sight of a hummingbird in Indiana is a delightful, unforgettable experience.

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