Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Where Are Our Summer Birds Spending Winter?

Baltimore Oriole populations winter from Florida, the Caribbean, and central Mexico south to northern South America (photos by Paul Konrad).
Wintering Barn Swallows inhabit a broad range from central Mexico through Central and South America. Where do your favorite birds spend the winter?

Memories about the birds that grace our yards and neighborhoods during spring and summer with their songs, nesting activities, and visits to our water features and feeding stations tend to surface at this time of the year. So where do our favorite backyard birds spend our winter months? Where do orioles, hummingbirds, robins, bluebirds, wrens, swallows, martins, and other birds migrate to for the winter? For any distribution or range map information about any North American species of birds, you can always count on All About Birds – provided online by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology – as a primary information source about birds.

Some birds spend more time in Latin America than in our neighborhoods, and that’s an exciting aspect of these birds’ natural histories, and it emphasizes the need for international conservation efforts from north to south. You can reference your favorite birds anytime at and for some species that winter in South America, you may wish to visit Cornell’s website Neotropical Birds at or

Even so, we’d like to share some winter range information about popular backyard birds as a quick reference for you here, including a link to the range maps for each species listed:

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds – southern Mexico to Costa Rica in Central America; see

Baltimore Orioles – central Mexico through Central America and northwest Columbia, northwest Venezuela, plus Florida and the Caribbean islands; see and

Bullock’s Orioles – central and southern Mexico to central Guatemala; see

American Robins – some southern locations in Canada through most of the continental United States, including Florida, southern California and Arizona, and the northern half of Mexico; see

Western Bluebirds – northern populations winter from California and the Great Basin through northern and central Mexico; see

Eastern Bluebirds – similar to their nesting range, although bluebirds nesting north of the Great Lakes winter farther south and some birds winter farther west than nesting populations; see

Mountain Bluebirds – from Oregon to western Kansas south to central Mexico; see

House Wrens – southern United States to southern Mexico; see

Barn Swallows – central Mexico through Central America and throughout most of South America; see

Purple Martins – across northern and central South America; see

Of course, there are plenty of other “favorite summer birds,” and you now know where to answer all your questions about the birds you see, including in your yard and everywhere you travel. We’re sure you’re looking forward to seeing your favorite neotropical migrants returning this spring!

Share your backyard birding experiences and photos at