When Do Hummingbirds Come Back to Illinois

Nov 22 , 2021 · 7 min read

Hummingbirds in Illinois are beautiful with unique characteristics. Not only do hummingbirds fly forward and backward, but they also fly upside down, making them unique and attractive bird species in North and Central America.

Hummingbirds beat their wings fast and make a humming noise. The humming sound is soothing for human beings. These birds are lightweight and the smallest birds that migrate from Central America to North American regions.

Thousands of tourists and bird-loving people visit Illinois every year to see hummingbirds. The question is: when do hummingbirds come back to Illinois? In today’s article, we will answer this question and give you other important information.

hummingbird and flower

Hummingbirds in Illinois

Hummingbirds are a unique bird species with beautiful wings that make the humming sound during their flight. These birds have flexible joints that allow them to rotate 180 degrees. These birds have special stationary hovering and backward flight abilities.

That’s why bird enthusiasts from different parts of the country visit Illinois to watch hummingbirds. Different hummingbird species migrate through Chicago every year, providing opportunities to locals and tourists to spot them in urban settings.

The most common hummingbird species that migrate to Chicago are ruby-throated hummingbirds. You can find these birds in parks, backyards, highways, and other places because these species are highly adaptable to urban settings and human environments.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds come back to Illinois in late spring. These birds first migrate to Central American countries and stay there for about three months. Then, these birds travel and arrive in Chicago during the late spring season.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds stay in Illinois throughout the summer and early fall. If you want to spot beautiful and colourful hummingbirds, we recommend visiting Chicago in the month of August because it is peak season. 

The warm and pleasant weather creates a vibrant atmosphere for bird-lovers to relish attractions in the Windy City and see beautiful hummingbirds.

Species of Hummingbirds in Illinois

August is the best month to visit Illinois or the capital city Chicago for more than one reason if you are a bird lover. What better way to kick off your trip than to celebrate the annual Hummingbird Fest. It is a bird festival in Chicago featuring various activities, including migration games and gardening tips to attract hummingbirds.

In addition, children can count sightings of the hummingbird to have a quality time full of amusement. Bird lovers come to Chicago to watch the beautiful and colorful hummingbirds, especially ruby-throated species.


During the summer and early fall, you can watch male hummingbirds displaying their attractive red throats. Because summer is the mating season in Illinois, it is a perfect time for bird enthusiasts to experience the unique characteristics of hummingbirds.

In addition to ruby-throated hummingbirds in Illinois, species, including Mexican violetear, Allen’s hummingbird, Anna’s hummingbird, rufous hummingbird, and broad-billed hummingbirds also migrate to Illinois. Let us discuss these species in detail.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the most common birds in Illinois during the summer season. These birds arrive in Chicago and other cities in April and May. The male species arrive 1-2 weeks before the females. Although these birds migrate back to Central America in Mid-October, some of them stay until December.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

The reason tourists and bird enthusiasts come to Illinois to see these hummingbirds is that they have a beautiful, bright-green back. The crown is also green, and the underside is grey-white. Male ruby-throated hummingbirds that come back to Illinois have an iridescent red throat. On the other hand, the females are green on the back with a whitish underside. Female ruby-throat hummingbirds have brownish crowns and sides. The length of ruby-throated hummingbirds in Illinois ranges between 2.8 and 3.5 inches. The weight is between 0.1 and 0.2 ounces.

Mexican Violetear

Although non-breeding Mexican Violetears commonly migrate to Texas, some even travelling to the northern regions, such as Michigan and Illinois. Bear in mind that these species rarely come to Illinois, unlike ruby-throated hummingbirds. However, if you do spot them in Chicago or other urban areas in Illinois, you will find them attractive because they are medium-sized hummingbirds with violet and green patches on their head and breasts.

Mexican Violetear

Although male and female species share a wide range of characteristics, the male ones are slightly brighter and larger. Mexican Violetear’s length ranges between 3.8 and 4.7 inches, and their weight is between 0.17 and 0.2 ounces.

Rufous Hummingbird

Unlike ruby-throated hummingbirds in Illinois that travel to Chicago during the spring and summer season, Rufous hummingbirds migrate to Illinois during the winter season. Chicago is the best place for tourists to spot and watch these bird species.

Rufous Hummingbird

Many locals keep feeders out in the winter to attract hummingbirds. Rufous hummingbirds have a unique appearance with a bright orange back and belly. There is a white patch below the throat in the female rufous and a red patch in the male species. The female rufous hummingbirds have a whitish belly and a green or brown back with rustiness on the sides. Moreover, rufous hummingbirds’ length ranges between 2.8 and 3.5 inches, and the weight is similar to ruby-throated hummingbirds, 0.1 to 0.2 ounces.

Allen’s Hummingbird

Allen’s hummingbirds share similarities with rufous hummingbirds. If you not are a bird expert, you may not differentiate between these two species. These birds often migrate to Oregon and California. However, they also come back to Illinois after 5-10 years. Both male and female Allen’s hummingbirds are beautiful and colourful.

Allen’s Hummingbird

The male ones have red-orange throats and orange eye patches, bellies, and tails. The female ones do not have bright-colour throats but have longer bills with greenish backs. The length of Allen’s hummingbird is 3.5 inches, making them larger than most species. The weight of Allen’s hummingbird is 0.1 ounces. Likewise, the wingspan is 4.3 inches.

Anna’s Hummingbird

Anna’s hummingbirds rarely come back to Illinois. However, you can spot them near Chicago during the winter season if you are lucky. These are tiny green and grey birds with the iridescent reddish-pink throat (males) and greyish-red spotting (females).

Anna’s Hummingbird

The best places to spot these birds in Chicago are backyards. However, you can also find them in parks with colourful flowers and nectar feeders. Unlike other hummingbirds, Anna’s hummingbirds commonly make nests in high trees. The length of Anna’s hummingbird is about 3.9 inches, and the weight is between 0.1 and 0.2 ounces. The wingspan is 4.7 inches, allowing them to have a unique flight, making them more attractive for tourists.

Broad-billed Hummingbird

Broad-billed birds are other hummingbirds in Illinois you can find near Chicago, Peoria, and Springfield. These are beautiful, eye-catching, colourful birds with a metallic green appearance and slightly bluish throats and breasts. The female species have a pale belly.

In addition, the male ones have red beaks with black tips. The male beaks are slightly wider than female ones, allowing you to spot and differentiate between them easily. Broad-billed hummingbirds have a length ranging between 3.1 and 3.9 inches and weight between 0.1 and 0.2 ounces.

Broad-billed Hummingbird

Compared to ruby-throat and other hummingbird species, broad-billed hummingbirds remain all year near the Southern border area of the United States. However, some of them travel to Arizona and New Mexico. Some even come back to Illinois.

You can find these bird species in parks, backyards, and nectar feeders. Moreover, these hummingbirds in Illinois make nests near streams. The nests are three feet above the ground, unlike Anna’s hummingbirds.

If you are a bird enthusiast or tourist who wants to spend some time in Chicago, you can use Trip Support to assist you with your booking. We offer quality services at the most affordable prices. Contact us today for more information.


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