Hummingbirds in Ohio (With Pictures)

Hummingbirds in Ohio (With Pictures)

Nestled in the heart of the American Midwest, Ohio may not immediately come to mind when thinking about hummingbirds. However, this unassuming state plays a significant role in the annual migrations of several hummingbird species. These remarkable birds, known for their iridescent plumage and rapid wingbeats, find temporary refuge in Ohio during their long journeys.

This article offers a closer look at the world of hummingbirds in Ohio, shedding light on their unique characteristics, behaviours, and their ecological importance within the state. Despite not being their primary habitat, Ohio’s varied landscapes and blooming flora provide crucial stopover points for these tiny travelers.

In addition to exploring the fascinating lives of hummingbirds, we’ll discover the essential role that gardens and feeders play in supporting these birds during their visits and learn how you can create a hummingbird-friendly habitat right in your own backyard. Join us on this informative journey as we uncover the wonders of Ohio’s hummingbird population and their temporary homes in the Buckeye State.

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 is the sole breeding hummingbird species found in the eastern United States including Ohio, extending its range from the Gulf of Mexico to southern Canada.

As its name suggests, males of this species are characterized by their dazzling ruby-red throats, while females exhibit a more modest green plumage. These diminutive birds are known for their agile flight and remarkable hovering capabilities, which allow them to feed on nectar from flowers.

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

Their vibrant appearance and delightful aerial acrobatics have made them a cherished symbol of summer in the eastern United States.

These dexterous avian architects craft the most delicate and precise cup-shaped nests one could imagine, often perched in the branches of trees or shrubs. Using spider silk and plant fibers, they create nests that appear as if spun by fairies. Their nests are typically adorned with lichen and moss, camouflaging them amidst the foliage. Ohio’s richly diverse landscapes, including woodlands, meadows, and urban gardens, serve as ideal locations for these charming nests.

Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds are nectar aficionados. Ohio’s abundant blooms become their gourmet buffets, and their astonishing aerial manoeuvres make them agile foragers. These charming birds are also known to supplement their diet with small insects, adding a protein-rich twist to their meals.

The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, while common in Ohio, still benefits from ongoing conservation efforts focused on preserving critical habitats and fostering an environment rich in nectar-producing flora.

Ohio’s birdwatching community and naturalists actively contribute to citizen science projects, helping monitor these delightful residents’ populations. Maintaining native plant species and minimizing pesticide use in gardens continue to play pivotal roles in the conservation of these iconic hummingbirds in Ohio.

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 is a migratory bird species widely distributed across North America. These enchanting hummingbirds can usually be found from the western United States to as far south as Mexico.

Their name derives from the subtle blackish-blue band under the male’s chin. Male Black-Chinned Hummingbirds sport iridescent green plumage on their backs and a striking purple throat patch, while females display a more subdued green and white coloration. These agile flyers prefer open woodlands and gardens during their breeding season.

Their migratory journey takes them to the southern United States and Mexico during the winter months. Ohio marks their northeastern limit, and is thus only found rarely.

Black-Chinned Hummingbird

These dainty architects construct their nests with finesse, using plant fibers, spider silk, and soft downy materials, blending seamlessly with the local flora. Ohio’s diverse environments, from woodlands to gardens, serve as temporary sanctuaries for their intricately designed, cup-shaped homes, often nestled within the sheltered branches of shrubs or trees.

When it comes to sustenance, Black-Chinned Hummingbirds are avid nectar seekers, fluttering gracefully among Ohio’s blooming flowers. Their slender bills are perfectly adapted for sipping nectar, and their keen eyesight helps them locate these floral treasures. Alongside nectar, they supplement their diet with small insects, adding a protein punch to their daily meals.

While not common residents of Ohio, the Black-Chinned Hummingbird benefits from the state’s ongoing efforts to protect vital habitats and maintain a diverse array of flowering plants.

Conservationists and bird enthusiasts collaborate to monitor and document their visits, contributing to our understanding of these migrants’ patterns and preferences. In Ohio, as in other parts of their range, the preservation of native flora and suitable nesting sites remains crucial to the conservation of this species.

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       

The Rufous Hummingbird is a dazzling, migratory bird known for its fiery plumage and swift flight. Its range extends throughout North America, with breeding grounds spanning from Alaska to the western United States.

During the breeding season, these small hummingbirds are often found in mountainous regions, favouring forests and meadows for nesting. Their brilliant orange-red plumage with a contrasting green back and iridescent throat patch, or gorget, make them easily identifiable. Rufous Hummingbirds are renowned for their remarkable migration journey, flying thousands of miles from their summer breeding grounds to winter in the southern United States and Mexico.

Their vibrant appearance and impressive migratory feats make them a cherished sight among bird enthusiasts. 

Rufous Hummingbird

These master builders craft their minuscule nests with meticulous care, fashioning them from plant fibers, downy feathers, and even spider silk. Ohio’s verdant forests and gardens become temporary homes for these tiny architects as they construct their delicate, cup-shaped nests nestled amongst the foliage. Their choice of nesting sites varies, but they often favour sheltered branches or shrubs, ensuring the utmost safety for their precious offspring.

Ohio’s bountiful blossoms become their dining tables, and their lightning-quick, acrobatic flights make them agile foragers. These vibrant hummingbirds also indulge in small insects, providing an essential source of protein during their stay in the Buckeye State.

In Ohio, conservation efforts for Rufous Hummingbirds primarily involve the preservation of their favoured habitats, such as woodlands and gardens rich in nectar-bearing flowers. Citizen scientists and local birdwatchers play a vital role in tracking and monitoring these migrants’ presence in the state.

While they are not considered common visitors to Ohio, their conservation status remains intertwined with broader efforts to protect critical habitats and support migratory bird populations throughout their range.

4. Calliope Hummingbird

  • Scientific name: Selasphorus calliope
  • Life span: 3-7 years
  • Size: 2.75-3.25 in
  • Weight: 2-4 g
  • Wingspan: 3.5-4.3 in
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Migratory and rare       

The Calliope Hummingbird is the smallest breeding bird in North America, known for its petite size and striking appearance. These tiny hummingbirds primarily inhabit the western mountainous regions of North America, from Alaska to the southern United States and are thus only a rare visitor to Ohio.

Male Calliope Hummingbirds feature an iridescent magenta throat patch, while females have a less vibrant green and white plumage. These birds embark on impressive migratory journeys, flying from their northern breeding grounds to winter in Mexico.

Due to their limited range and size, Calliope Hummingbirds are considered a rare and sought-after species among birdwatchers, making each sighting a memorable experience.

Calliope Hummingbird

These tiny birds construct their nests with astonishing precision, weaving together plant fibers and delicate materials to create cozy cup-shaped homes. Ohio’s mountainous regions and mixed forests provide the ideal backdrop for their nest-building endeavours, often perched on the branches of trees or shrubs.

Calliope Hummingbirds’ nests are a testament to their meticulous craftsmanship, reflecting their adaptability to a range of environments.

Calliope Hummingbirds are discerning nectar connoisseurs. Ohio’s diverse floral offerings become their vibrant dining establishments, where they sip nectar with dexterity and grace. Their small size allows them to access even the tiniest of blossoms, ensuring a plentiful food supply during their stay in the state.

In Ohio, the Calliope Hummingbird is a rare and sought-after visitor, and its presence is a testament to the state’s commitment to preserving natural habitats. Local birdwatchers and conservationists diligently document and report sightings, contributing valuable data to our understanding of these hummingbirds’ migration patterns.

Protecting their preferred habitats, including mixed forests and montane regions, remains vital to ensuring the Calliope Hummingbird’s continued presence in Ohio.

Where to look for Hummingbirds in Ohio

Finding hummingbirds in Ohio can be a rewarding and delightful experience for bird enthusiasts. These tiny, vibrant birds are most commonly spotted in the state during their migration, which typically occurs from late spring to early fall. To maximize your chances of encountering hummingbirds in Ohio, consider the following tips and explore some excellent locations:

  • Backyard Gardens: One of the easiest and most accessible places to spot hummingbirds in Ohio is your own backyard. Plant a variety of nectar-rich flowers like salvia, bee balm, trumpet vine, and coneflowers to attract them. Hang hummingbird feeders filled with a mixture of sugar water (4 parts water to 1 part sugar) to provide an additional food source.
  • Metro Parks and Nature Reserves: Ohio boasts an array of beautiful natural areas where hummingbirds thrive. Visit places like the Hocking Hills State Park, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and the Shawnee State Forest. These locations offer diverse habitats, including woodlands and meadows, which are attractive to these tiny birds during their migration.
  • Botanical Gardens: Botanical gardens such as the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Columbus or the Holden Arboretum in Kirtland are known for their meticulously curated gardens. These locations provide a concentrated source of nectar-rich flowers that hummingbirds adore.
  • Migration Hotspots: During migration, hummingbirds often stop at specific locations to rest and refuel. Join local birdwatching groups and forums to stay updated on recent sightings and migration hotspots. Magee Marsh Wildlife Area and Lake Erie’s shoreline are known to host migrating hummingbirds as they journey through Ohio.

When observing hummingbirds, it’s essential to maintain a respectful distance and use binoculars or a camera with a zoom lens to avoid disturbing them.


In the Buckeye State, hummingbirds bring a touch of magic to our gardens and natural landscapes. Their vibrant presence, agile flights, and delicate nests never fail to captivate. As we’ve explored their nesting behaviours, diets, and the efforts to protect them, it’s evident that Ohio’s diverse ecosystems provide vital havens for these remarkable birds.

Whether in your backyard, at a local nature reserve, or along a migratory pathway, Ohioans have the opportunity to witness the beauty of hummingbirds firsthand.

By continuing to preserve their habitats and appreciate their presence, we ensure that these enchanting creatures continue to grace our skies and gardens for generations to come.

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