(Photo by Chad Merda)
Signs of spring have been creeping in around us for weeks, and after charting the progress of ruby-throated hummingbird migration, we're excited to have our first reported sighting in Will County.
The map from Journey North — a project run by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum — has the lone sighting being recorded on April 10 in Plainfield. There also have been sightings in Bartlett in DuPage County, as well as far north as Milwaukee. The bottom line is that if you haven't seen one yet locally, get ready.
In looking at trends over the past few years, they appear to be a little bit ahead of schedule. Last year, the first ruby-throated hummingbird sighting in Illinois came in the middle of April, with the first Will County sighting recorded two weeks later.
When they do land in our area in good numbers, one of the most popular spots for viewing these tiny birds is Plum Creek Nature Center in Crete Township, where they can put on quite a show at the feeders.
Bob Bryerton, a program coordinator at Plum Creek, said he put up the hummingbird feeders around the nature center earlier this week in anticipation of their arrival.
"It should be any day now," he said.
Ruby-throated hummingbirds will migrate all the way up into Canada, so even if you spot one locally, that doesn't mean that particular bird is going to be sticking around. Instead, it may be just making a pit stop.
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You can get involved
Becoming a citizen scientist and helping the folks at Journey North map the hummingbirds' progress is easy.
Just sign up for an account, and you're all set. It only takes a minute to share your sighting. The data, which is submitted by more than 60,000 registered users in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, is used to better understand migratory species.
While you wait for their arrival ...
Go ahead and enjoy these hummingbirds putting on a show at Plum Creek Nature Center.
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