Michigan is home to over 450 bird species all year round. Whether you’re a birdwatcher or simply appreciate nature’s beauty, Michigan’s bird diversity and abundance does not disappoint. Each season brings a unique spectrum of species. Let’s take a closer look at the beautiful birds of the Great Lake State.
Watch for migratory bird species returning home, like the Baltimore Oriole, American Goldfinch, and woodpeckers. The Baltimore Oriole assembles its nest on thin branches, its home can last up to several years. The American Goldfinch dwells in the rich woodlands of the Midwest, unlike many of their spring companions, the Goldfinch enjoy feasting upon sunflower kernels and Nyjer seeds.
Michigan’s vast forests make for a prime bird watching during summer, a time when numerous species nurture their young. The Eastern Meadowlark and the Bluebird are very common among the many species spotted.
The Eastern Meadowlark can be found in meadows, seems intuitive right? The Eastern Meadowlark can sing up to 100 different patterns of songs.
The Bluebird, a common species in Michigan, constructs its circular nests within vacant tree hollows and often in birdhouses. Each year, adult Bluebirds revisit their birthplace for breeding. When it comes to food, the mealworm is their main diet.
Autumn is an incredible time in Michigan. The foliage and bird migration makes fall a close second to the best season in Michigan. One of the iconic fall birds of Michigan is the Red-Tailed Hawk. You can spot them in open fields or perched on treetops near rural highways. These fascinating birds capture squirrels as a team. Each bird assumes responsibility for a specific side of the tree, leaving no chance for any squirrel to get away.
The Dark-Eyed Junco, a sparrow, also loves autumn in Michigan and is a typical visitor at backyard feeders. They migrate en masse in the months leading up to the cold weather season.
Another bird species to observe in fall is Warblers. As they move through Michigan to wintering areas, they flit through trees hunting for insects. Warblers come in a wide array of colors and are quite energetic. Despite their small size, these little birds have impressive stamina. The Yellow Warbler is Michigan’s most frequently spotted bird.
Winter may seem bleak, but it is the optimal season for birdwatching in Michigan. Many bird species migrate during this season to warmer climates, but several winter-hardy birds remain for bird enthusiasts to observe. Michigan’s state bird, the American Robin, typically migrates south during the colder months but may stick around in Michigan if the food supply is adequate. The American Robin became Michigan’s official state bird in 1943. It has a varied palette and enjoys dining on seeds, fruits, and even small critters.
And no one can forget the Snowy Owl. These owls come to Michigan from the Arctic and sit perched on telephone poles or swoop over snow-covered fields. Male snowy owls have an average height of around 24 inches, while females stand at 27 inches. These creatures typically mate for life, like bald eagles, and their females lay a clutch of 2 to 11 eggs, taking only about one month to hatch.
Michigan’s avian life is captivating throughout the year. Watching birds offers an opportunity to unwind, connect with nature, and be present in the outdoors. Spotting birds requires patience and keen observation, but the rewards are worth it. So, grab your binoculars, bring a bird guidebook, and embark on a journey to explore the world of Michigan’s birds.