(Image courtesy: Getty Images)

JOPLIN, Mo. — With the official start to spring less than two weeks away (March 20th), there are many types of birds that will start making their way back into the Midwest for the spring and summer months. The hummingbird — specifically the Ruby-throated hummingbird — has officially started their migration north, and will soon return to the central U.S.

Thanks to birdwatchers across the country, and a website to connect them all, those looking forward to the return of the hummingbird can begin to plan for their arrival.

“I think it’s great for people that are really interested in bringing wildlife to their yards. They can have a better understanding of when these beautiful birds will start to make their way back to our area,” said Robert Balek, Horticulture Specialist from the University of Missouri Extension office.

On the website, Hummingbird Central, anyone who has spotted the season’s first hummingbirds can mark the location where the bird was spotted, and make notes about the sighting — including the specific type of hummingbird.

This makes it easy to track the bird’s spring migration back into the United States.

As of mid-March 2023, hummingbirds headed for Missouri and Kansas have been spotted as far north as the Louisiana/Arkansas state line. You can check out this interactive map, HERE.

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Balek said hummingbirds typically begin to make their way back into the Midwest around late-March. However, hummingbird spotters around Dallas, Texas and Shreveport, Louisiana report seeing the fast-flying birds return nearly two weeks earlier this year, compared to previous years.

A good way to determine when you should start putting out hummingbird feeders, is by checking with the interactive map on Hummingbird Central every few days, said Balek. As reports begin to show that the birds have made their way into central Oklahoma and Arkansas, Balek says it won’t be long before you’ll start to see them in your own backyard.

“Without these birds, you would not see the native plants. So hummingbirds are extremely important and exist to support other species as well. The birds help the plants reproduce and without the reproduction, the plants wouldn’t be there to support other species. They all seem to play a role in the grand scheme of things,” Balek said.

You can find the interactive map on the 2023 spring migration of hummingbirds, HERE.