Incredible Bird Migration is Set to Fly Over Illinois This Weekend


As spring comes across the Great Plains and the Midwest, a remarkable annual phenomenon takes flight, the spring migration of birds. This weekend, Illinois finds itself at the heart of this as millions of birds journey through its skies en route to their breeding grounds further north.

According to the latest updates from Birdcast, a collaborative effort between Colorado State University and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the skies over Illinois were alive with the movement of more than 24.5 million birds on Sunday night, with a significant portion—7.2 million—passing through the state on their way to nesting sites in Wisconsin and Canada.

Bird Map Day 1 5 6
The anticipation doesn’t end there. With alerts issued for heightened migration on Monday and Tuesday nights, the spectacle promises to continue. Monday night alone is projected to witness the flight of an astounding 400 million birds across the eastern United States, followed closely by another 400 million on Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.

However, nature’s plans are not without their uncertainties. The looming threat of rain in Illinois poses a potential complication, as it may ground the birds or restrict their overnight travel. Despite this, the migration surge has already surpassed historical averages, with an estimated 320 million birds traversing the state since the season began.

Bird Map Day 2 5 7Among the primary travelers are various species of warblers, such as the Yellow Warbler, the Nashville Warbler, the Black-and-white Warbler, and the Black-Throated Green Warbler. Additionally, the graceful flight of Baltimore Orioles is increasingly being observed by bird enthusiasts across Illinois.

Understanding the rhythms of migration sheds light on the best practices for coexisting with our feathered visitors. As the birds typically commence their journey shortly after sunset, residents are urged to minimize unnecessary exterior lighting between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Bright lights can disorient the birds, leading to collisions with buildings. Similarly, keeping cats indoors during peak migration periods helps safeguard ground-resting birds from potential predation.

This article by Trinity Sparke was first published by One Green Planet on 10 May 2024. Image Credit :William T Smith/Shutterstock.

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