When Do Hummingbirds Leave Illinois? Here's What Chicago-Area Experts Say

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When will hummingbirds leave Illinois to migrate South for the colder months?

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

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

Bright-colored feeders are typically used to attract the small birds, experts said. To create the nectar, use one part sugar to four parts water and change three to four times a week in warmer weather.

Hummingbirds are typically 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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