5 Secret Hummingbird Travel Spots to Visit

To see hummingbirds galore, including gorgeous species that rarely visit the United States, plan to visit these hummingbird travel hotspots.

The West is best when it comes to hummingbirds. Variations in terrain and rainfall create diverse habitats that attract up to 17 species. At these must-visit parks, the odds are high you’ll see many types of hummingbirds, including a few rare ones. So plan your next vacation with hummingbird travel in mind!

Desert National Wildlife Refuge, Las Vegas, NV

While the Mojave Desert is certainly hot, it’s also an extraordinary spot for hummingbird travel. This 1.6-million-acre wildlife refuge, the largest outside of Alaska, attracts 320 species of birds, including a number of hummingbird species—more than any other birding destination in Nevada. Birders flock to the Corn Creek visitor center. The vegetation attracts many migrant and vagrant hummingbirds. Several trails begin here, some accessible to all, for the best hummingbird-watching.

Watch for: Costa’s hummingbirds, which thrive in arid climates, nest in the refuge during late winter and early spring. Black-chinned and Anna’s hummingbirds also flit among the sagebrush and wetland habitats at the refuge.

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Broad-tailed Hummingbird on Nest
Daniel A. Leifheit/Getty Images
A female broad-tailed hummingbird on her nest.

Bandelier National Monument, Los Alamos, NM

The Ancestral Pueblo people lived on the Pajarito Plateau in northern New Mexico until the mid-1500s, carving their homes into the volcanic tuff and farming atop the mesas in what is now Bandelier National Monument, a 33,000-acre park. It’s a favorite travel destination among birders aiming to see not only hummingbirds but a wide diversity of birds more typical of western mountains, canyons and grasslands.

Watch for: Broad-tailed and black-chinned hummingbirds raise families in Bandelier National Monument. Calliope and rufous hummingbirds flit among the monument’s cliffs, valleys and streams.

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Taken Off Road From Davis Mountains Sp To The Mcdonald Observatory.
Chase Fountain/TPWD

Davis Mountains State Park, Fort Davis, TX

Located in westernmost Texas, the Davis Mountains are hummingbird travel heaven from July to October. With high elevation (5,000 feet) and levels of precipitation, the range is one of the Southwest’s sky island environments, making it a mecca for birds and other wildlife. Most hummingbird species in the U.S. have been spotted here.

Watch for: Broad-tailed, black-chinned and rufous hummingbirds are common, but don’t be surprised if lucifer, ruby-throated or calliope hummers whiz by. Ornithologists Rufous hummingbird found the first-ever amethyst-throated hummingbird in the U.S. here. Nearby McDonald Observatory and the Nature Conservancy Davis Mountains Preserve maintain bird-viewing stations.

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violet crowned hummingbird
Wildpix 645/Shutterstock
Violet-crowned hummingbird

Ramsey Canyon Preserve, Hereford, AZ

The Huachuca Mountains, home to Ramsey Canyon Preserve, rise from the desert of southeastern Arizona and catch cooler air that creates both arid and subtropical microclimates in close proximity. As a result, the preserve is remarkably biodiverse, playing host to numerous hummingbird species.

Watch for: Ramsey Canyon attracts 15 species of hummingbirds, some of which only migrate this far north. It’s a known hot spot for violet-crowned and berylline hummingbirds. April through September is the best bird-watching time for hummingbird travel.

Learn more about Arizona hummingbirds (and the best places to see them).

Shutterstock 51325696
Lowe Llaguno/Shutterstock

Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego, CA

Cabrillo National Monument, a seaside preserve surrounded by urban sprawl, is an oasis for birds and other marine and terrestrial wildlife. The monument has both residential and migratory hummingbirds. Rangers offer guided tours and activities daily. Watch for hummingbirds along the 2 ½-mile Bayside Trail and elsewhere in the park.

Watch for: During mating season, male Anna’s hummingbirds perform aerial acrobatics to attract a mate. Numerous coastal species winter here or migrate through, including Allen’s, rufous, black-chinned and Costa’s hummingbirds. In April, watch Calliope hummingbirds gather around the blooming bottlebrush trees.

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Lisa Ballard
If it's outdoors, Lisa has likely covered it for her work. An Emmy-award-winning producer, she has a keen passion for wildlife, especially birds, and has videoed, photographed and written about them since 1991. A past-president of the Outdoor Writer's Association of America (OWAA), Lisa has also received numerous OWAA Excellence in Craft Awards. When she's not on assignment, she takes great pleasure in watching whatever comes to her feeders in Red Lodge, Montana, where she lives with her husband, Jack.