Top 10 Travel Hotspots to See Hummingbirds
Pack your bags—and don’t forget your binoculars! If it’s hummingbirds you’re after, you’ll want to head to these must-see hot spots.
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Tohono Chul Park, Tucson, Arizona
Residing within the Sonoran Desert, this park provides easy walking trails and gardens to view some of the 140 bird species that visit the 49-acre site. A hummingbird garden attracts Costa’s and Anna’s hummingbirds year-round to sip nectar from salvia, desert willow and other plants. The Wildlife Garden features saguaro cacti where Gila woodpeckers build nests.
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The Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, Arizona
There’s a Desert Wilflower Loop Trail where you can view exhibits on wildflowers while watching hummingbirds. Greater roadrunners nest in candelabra cacti in the Ottosen Entry Garden. Bird lovers will especially enjoy the guided bird walks, which are held nearly every Monday at the 140-acre site.
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Yosemite National Park, California
In the Sierra Nevada Mountains, calliope hummingbirds nest in the pine trees and sip nectar from the Indian paintbrush, columbine and larkspur that thrive in Yosemite’s meadows and forests. This park also provides a year-round home for Steller’s jays, which live nearly exclusively in mountain pine forests. One unusual bird here is the gray-crowned rosy-ﬁnch that forages in the snow-laden mountains.
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Bandelier National Monument, Los Alamos, New Mexico
Known by hummingbird enthusiasts as a nesting sanctuary for broad-tailed and black-chinned hummers, this diverse region of the Pajarito Plateau is also the seasonal home of the calliope and rufous. They love Bandelier’s streams, valleys and cliffs, and its proximity to Mexico makes it a thriving migration destination.
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Rio Grande Valley, Texas
Along with the other southern border states, Texas’ Rio Grande Valley is at the center of the annual hummingbird migration and an awesome spot to see buff-bellied and ruby-throated hummingbirds. Persistent birdwatchers might even catch a glimpse or two of a tropical species that may have wandered north of their native habitat. Stop at the visitor center at Estero Llano Grande State Park, one of the newest bird hot spots in South Texas, for a tram or walking tour of the park’s 230 acres.
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Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
The 300 bird species that have been sighted just south of Yellowstone are as extreme as the landscape here. You can spot both the smallest bird in North America, the calliope hummingbird, and the largest waterfowl, the trumpeter swan, in this park. Other notable species that have been spotted here include three-toed woodpecker, great gray owl, osprey and Brewer’s sparrow.
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Lake Hope State Park, McArthur, Ohio
Nothing will get you closer to these magical creatures than hand-feeding them. It’s easy! All you need to bring is a steady hand and some patience. The helpful park officials on site provide the expert knowledge and specially designed hand-held feeders filled with sugar water to help attract the park’s plentiful ruby-throated hummingbird population during summer.
Elijah Gildea/Birds & Blooms
University of California, Santa Cruz, Arboretum and Botanic Garden
Hummingbirds can’t resist the plentiful supply of nectar at the university’s Arboretum. You’ll likely see Anna’s and Allen’s hummingbirds here. There’s a paved 1/2-mile-long Hummingbird Trail, and on the annual Hummingbird Day celebration each spring, hummingbird lovers of all ages can see and learn about these amazing birds and the gardens that host them.
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Paton Center for Hummingbirds, Patagonia, Arizona
See a dozen hummingbird species, including Anna’s, broad-billed and violet-crowned hummingbirds, and more than 200 total bird species, at this Arizona hotspot, a lovely 1.4-acre property that was formerly a private residence.
Sharon Draker/Birds & Blooms
The stars are all here: rufous, broad-tailed, calliope, black-chinned and Anna’s (a year-round resident). The number and variety of birds in Sedona reach their peak in August. Several hot spots in the area offer up-close, personal views of these birds in large numbers, including the shaded hummingbird patio at Red Rock State Park.