If you think you've been seeing significantly more birds in Illinois in recent days, you're not alone. The annual spring migration of birds is happening all over the United States, and Illinois is right in the middle of their flight path. The influx of birds has been so significant that the state has issued an alert related to the migration.

According to Birdcast, a website dedicated to showing bird migration in real time, approximately 50.2 million birds were in flight over Illinois Sunday night into Monday. Where are the birds headed? Millions are bound for northern regions, such as Wisconsin in Canada, to begin their spring breeding.

The trend is expected to continue throughout the week with Illinois officials issuing alerts for "high levels" of birds taking flight across the Midwestern region, per NBC 5 Chicago.

When the spring migration season concludes, roughly 500 million birds will have crossed over Illinois en route to Wisconsin and into Canada, per Birdcast. That's a figure almost too high to fathom, even when you consider the ubiquity of birds you see (and probably don't even take note of) on a daily basis.

Illinois is bracing for high migration traffic this week in particular, with skies being cluttered Wednesday-night-into-Thursday in particular. Traffic on Tuesday (May 14th) should be comparatively minimal due to showers and thunderstorms being forecasted during migration hours.

Photo Credit: myshkovsky
Photo Credit: myshkovsky
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Showers and thunderstorms are not ideal conditions for birds to travel. Furthermore, thousands of birds die every year when they strike buildings and/or powerlines mid-flight. Illinois businesses in densely populated regions can help their high-flying friends by turning off all non-essential lights between 11pm and 6am. Bright lights can disorient birds, resulting in fatal collisions.

Among the birds in the Illinois skies this week are Baltimore Orioles (not the baseball team), Magnolia Warblers, and American Redstarts, according to the birding website EBird.

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You can track all the various types of birds flying over Illinois via the website Birdcast, and even read about hummingbirds taking flight in Wisconsin here!

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