Bird Migration

Millions of migrating birds to cross Chicago area tonight, experts say

NBC Universal, Inc.

The annual bird migration to their spring breeding grounds continues Sunday, with millions of birds expected to cross over Illinois and the Chicago area.

According to the latest figures from Birdcast, 11.5 million birds crossed over the state of Illinois Saturday night and into Sunday morning, with a total of 22.6 million birds estimated to have flown in the skies over the state during the overnight hours.

Officials with Birdcast say that millions of birds are also expected to cross the state Sunday night, with “high levels” of bird activity expected in coming days.

As a result, residents are being urged to take a series of steps to protect the birds as their spring migration begins to slow.

Even though many species have made it to Canada and Wisconsin, several warbler species are still in flight, including the Nashville Warbler, the Canada Warbler and Wilson’s Warbler.

Eastern Kingbirds, Indigo Buntings and Blackpoll Warblers are also in flight over the state, according to the website.

Overall, more than 274 million birds are expected to be in flight over the United States, with the highest concentrations in Iowa and Illinois, officials said.

Weather conditions should be ideal for flight, with cool conditions and helping winds pushing the birds along, according to the NBC 5 Storm Team.

Residents are asked to take steps to protect migrating birds, including turning off all unnecessary exterior lights, and blocking windows with blinds and curtains to keep birds from being disoriented by lights during the overnight hours.

Residents are also asked to leave cats indoors, as the animals can prey on exhausted birds in the overnight hours.

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