How to Attract Hummingbirds Into Your Yard During Their Migration Through Illinois

Here's when the hummingbirds will leave Illinois to migrate South for the colder months

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As hummingbirds travel through Illinois on their way down South for the winter, Chicago-area residents will have a chance to see the birds over the next several weeks.

But how should you attract hummingbirds into your yard?

According to the Chicago Botanic Garden, brightly-colored feeders are traditionally used to attract the small birds. To create the nectar, use one part sugar to four parts water and change three to four times a week in warmer weather.

The garden said to boil the sugar-water mixture for a few minutes, then let it cool before filling the feeder. Typically, feeders will only need a few inches of the mixture to give to the birds.

Hummingbird feeders that are left out out through the end of the month won't delay the migration, the garden noted, as the birds know when it's time to leave the area.

For those with a garden, experts said hummingbirds tend to be drawn to red flowers, but one of their favorite plants is the blue-flowered salvia.

Hummingbirds tend to be out of the Chicago area by about the second week in October, according to the garden.

Hummingbirds are usually in Illinois from May to October, according to the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County. During the winter season, the birds fly to Central America and Mexico.

Chicagoans could also see more waves of monarch butterflies flutter through the city over the next few weeks, as many migrate south for the winter.

One wave of monarch butterflies has been in Chicago for about the past couple weeks, with another likely on the way down from Wisconsin that should be in the city "soon," according to Doug Taron, chief curator for the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

"Different waves may last only for a couple of days, but the whole migration phenomenon starts at the end of August, peaks right about now and will be tailing off through the end of September," Taron said.

All the monarchs are on their way down to Mexico, many traveling to the mountains about 100 miles west of Mexico City, he said. In the springtime, the butterflies head back over to southern Texas to lay eggs, whose offspring make their way back to Illinois for the cycle to begin again.

As waves of monarch butterflies migrate south for the colder months, Chicagoans could see more groups flutter through the city over the next few weeks.
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