In this article, we’ll look at some of the more well-known and recognizable wild birds found in Michigan. Certain of these species are migratory and spend only part of the year in Michigan, while others are year-round residents. We’re going to learn a little about each of the 25 backyard birds in Michigan in this article.
I’ll teach you a crash course in the 10 distinct types of bird feeders you may use to draw them to your yard, as well as suggest a few birdwatching locales in Michigan after that.
How many different species of wild birds are in Michigan?
It’s impossible to calculate the exact number of bird species that may be found across North America, the United States, or even in Michigan. Nonetheless, Michigan has at least 450 species of birds, according to Wikipedia. According to one source, North America is home to 2,059 species; according to another, 914. So I’m not sure how much I can rely on these figures when it comes to calculating the number of species, but they do provide an estimate.
We’re going to examine just a few of Michigan’s most well-known species for the sake of this article.
25 COMMON BACKYARD BIRDS IN MICHIGAN
We’ll take a look at 25 species of Michigan birds, some of which are year-round residents and some aren’t. Although they aren’t all of the state’s species, they are some of the most well-known and identifiable Michigan yard birds. Let’s have a look right now, without any further delay!
Scientific name: Cardinalis cardinalis
Length: 8.3-9.1 in
Weight: 1.5-1.7 oz
Wingspan: 9.8-12.2 in
In North America, the Northern Cardinal is one of the most well-known and widespread backyard birds. Females have duller colors and are more pale brown with some reddish coloring, whereas males have brilliant red feathers and a black mask. The “mohawks” and reddish orange beaks of both sexes are immediately identifiable.
Year-round, Southern Pilgrims may be found across Michigan’s southern peninsula, as well as in the upper peninsula’s southern regions.
Most seed feeders will be visited by the Cardinals, who will offer them a combination of black sunflower seeds.
2. TUFTED TITMOUSE
Scientific name: Baeolophus bicolor
Length: 5.5-6.3 in
Weight: 0.6-0.9 oz
Wingspan: 7.9-10.2 in
In their range, these tiny birds are common at feeders and in backyards. Like Cardinals, they have a tiny Mohawk that distinguishes them from other birds. The top of titmice is silver-gray, while the bottom is lighter in color with a black patch over their beaks.
Throughout Michigan’s lower peninsula, the Tufted Titmouse may be found all year, although it is seldom or not seen in the upper peninsula.
Most seed feeders will be visited by titmice, who will provide them with mixed seed blends and black sunflower seeds.
3. BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE
Scientific name: Poecile atricapillus
Length: 4.7-5.9 in
Weight: 0.3-0.5 oz
Wingspan: 6.3-8.3 in
Because of their black “black cap” and black bib, chickadees are small little birds that are quite easy to identify. Their underbodies are puffy and whitish, with solid white cheeks and blackish gray wings and backs.
Throughout the whole state of Michigan, Black-capped Chickadees may be found, not to be confused with Carolina Chickadees. They’re often seen dashing back and forth from a feeder to cover and cover again for more, which is why they’re so popular at bird feeders. When I first put a new feeder in my yard, Chickadees are always among the first birds I see.
Most seed feeders will be visited by chickadees, who will provide them with a choice of seed blends and black sunflower seeds.
4. BLUE JAY
Scientific name: Cyanocitta cristata
Length: 9.8-11.8 in
Weight: 2.5-3.5 oz
Wingspan: 13.4-16.9 in
In North America and the United States, another well-known bird species is the robin. The Blue Jay is one of the birds. They have mostly blue feathers on top and white feathers on the bottom of their large blue crest. They have a necklace-like black ring around their necks. White, blue, and black banding runs along their wings.
Another year-round inhabitant of Michigan’s upper and lower regions is the Blue Jays. In backyards and feeders, they’re common.
Platform feeders, peanut feeders, and feeders with big perches are popular among Blue Jays. Black sunflower seeds, mixed seeds, and peanuts are a good way to start.
5. EASTERN BLUEBIRD
Scientific name: Sialia sialis
Length: 6.3-8.3 in
Weight: 1.0-1.1 oz
Wingspan: 9.8-12.6 in
Bluebirds have a rusty reddish-orange underside with a blue top. In the United States, they are perhaps the most coveted occupants of birdhouses. The bluebird house business is thriving as a result of this. Backyards, but not feeders, are rife with them. I was able to attract a mating pair with this birdhouse, which I put up on Amazon.
The Southern Michigan Eastern Bluebirds spend the year around, although their breeding range is limited to the northern reaches of the southern peninsula and the whole north peninsula. To learn more about Michigan bluebirds, visit the Michigan Bluebird Society.
Seed-eating bluebirds are uncommon, but if you put mealworms on a tray feeder or in a dish, they may be tempted to visit.
6. WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH
Scientific name: Sitta carolinensis
Length: 5.1-5.5 in
Weight: 0.6-1.1 oz
Wingspan: 7.9-10.6 in
White-breasted Nuthatches, which feed on insects in most backyards, are a common sight. They are named after the fact that they use their sharp beaks to hatch nuts and seeds placed beneath tree bark. They seem to be able to climb trees more effectively than other kinds of birds, in addition to walking vertically. They feature white on either side of their heads and bellies, and have a thick black stripe on top. Gray and black are the dominant colors of their wings.
Year-round, throughout Michigan, you may see White-breasted Nuthatches.
Most seed feeders are visited by nuthatches, who offer black sunflower seeds, peanuts, or suet to the birds.
7. AMERICAN ROBIN
Scientific name: Turdus migratorius
Length: 7.9-11.0 in
Weight: 2.7-3.0 oz
Wingspan: 12.2-15.8 in
Robins are often seen hopping around the grass, hunting for worms and other invertebrates. They are particularly common in backyards. They do not usually eat seeds, despite visiting bird feeders on occasion. They’re readily identifiable because of their vivid red bellies and yellow beaks.
In the lower peninsula, Robins may be found year-round, but in Michigan’s upper peninsula, they only have a breeding range.
Attract American Robins to your feeders with meal worms, local fruit-bearing plants, or a bird bath. They are not particularly fond of bird feeders.
8. MOURNING DOVE
Scientific name: Zenaida macroura
Length: 9.1-13.4 in
Weight: 3.0-6.0 oz
Wingspan: 17.7 in
Doves are a common sight in backyards and will frequently perch perched on telephone lines or in clusters in trees. They are roughly the size of a robin. They’re frequently seen walking around on the ground, but I’ve occasionally seen them on my tray feeder. The majority of mourning doves have a pale peachy color below and gray markings on top.
With the exception of the northern tip of Michigan’s upper peninsula, where they are only present during breeding season, Mourning Doves can be found all year throughout most of the state.
Doves prefer to search the earth for fallen seeds rather than visit seed feeders. Gently drop some seeds on the ground or try a ground feeder with a mixed seed blend.
9. EUROPEAN STARLING
Scientific name: Sturnus vulgaris
Length: 7.9-9.1 in
Weight: 2.1-3.4 oz
Wingspan: 12.2-15.8 in
In the 1890s, 100 starlings were released in New York and have since spread across the United States. They’ll overtake feeders, destroying other birds’ nests and killing their young. They’ll even destroy other birds’ nests if they see them doing it. They have yellow beaks and feet and are generally dark with white specks on their backs and wings. Starlings may appear purple and green iridescent in nature, and when seen from the right angle, they can be quite stunning.
Despite the fact that starlings can be found across the country all year, Michigan is no exception.
Almost anything will be eaten by European Starlings. We recommend that you do not try to attract them, since they are an invasive species and will appear anyway.
10. AMERICAN GOLDFINCH
Scientific name: Spinus tristis
Length: 4.3-5.1 in
Weight: 0.4-0.7 oz
Wingspan: 7.5-8.7 in
When the goldfinches’ bright yellow feathers are in the spring and summer, seeing them at feeders is one of my favorite birds to watch. They have black-tipped wings and a black head during this time, and they are mostly yellow or “gold.” These brilliant hues will be gone in the winter, and they’ll turn brownish or olive instead. The black on their wings and finch-like beaks will always identify them no matter what time of year it is.
With the exception of the tips of both peninsulas, where they have breeding-only ranges, goldfinches can be found throughout the year in the majority of both upper and lower peninsulas in Michigan.
11. HOUSE FINCH
Scientific name: Haemorhous mexicanus
Length: 5.1-5.5 in
Weight: 0.6-0.9 oz
Wingspan: 7.9-9.8 in
In Michigan, the House Finch is another ubiquitous backyard bird. While they are invasive in Michigan, and unlike House Sparrows, they do not cause the havoc that House Sparrows do. They may appear in huge flocks and mingle around your feeders if you attract them, which is rather simple. Mature males are streaked brown, while mature females are completely brown (female on the left above). The head and chest of mature males are red.
Only in the lower peninsula of Michigan do House Finches thrive.
House Finches eat thistle seed, much like other finches. These birds are more common at seed feeders than Goldfinches, so try some black sunflower seeds to entice them.
12. HOUSE SPARROW
Scientific name: Passer domesticus
Length: 5.9-6.7 in
Weight: 0.9-1.1 oz
Wingspan: 7.5-9.8 in
House Sparrows are the only other kind of wild bird in the United States, and they are often treated as pests. Apart from legally trapping and humanely killing starlings, They were first seen in New York in the 1800s, and since then, they have spread like wildfire across the United States. Their wings and buffy chest are streaked with black and brown, and they are mostly brown in color. Birds, particularly around nests, are aggressive towards them.
While not as prevalent in the upper peninsula, House Sparrows can be found across Michigan.
House Sparrows, like European Starlings, are invasive and endanger native species. Almost anything will satisfy them.
13. RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD
Scientific name: Agelaius phoeniceus
Length: 6.7-9.1 in
Weight: 1.1-2.7 oz
Wingspan: 12.2-15.8 in
Male Red-winged Blackbirds are among the most numerous birds in North America, with their crimson wings distinguishing them. Females, on the other hand, are brown with yellow highlights and look significantly different from males. Males will have up to 15 different females that they are mating with, making them a polygynous species.
In the spring and summer, look for Red-winged Blackbirds in Michigan since they have a breeding range solely there.
Most kinds of feeders attract Red-winged Blackbirds, who will consume seed as well as suet.
14. AMERICAN CROW
Crows are a solid black color with a large body. Like their relative the Raven, they are also recognized for their exceptional cognitive problem solvers. Crows will roost in big clusters at the top of the tree, giving them a birds-eye view of everything going on beneath them. The roost will alert everyone if an owl or hawk appears, letting everyone know that there is a danger nearby.
Every day of the year, crows may be seen all over Michigan.
Crows are too big to visit bird feeders, so they eat a variety of foods.
15. SONG SPARROW
Scientific name: Melospiza melodia
Length: 4.7-6.7 in
Weight: 0.4-1.9 oz
Wingspan: 7.1-9.4 in
The back and wings of these sparrows are mostly brown, with a white breast that is heavily streaked brown. Most of North America is covered in Song Sparrows, and their plumage varies somewhat by area. The male of this species uses his song to attract females and defend his territory.
Song Sparrows may be seen throughout the year in Michigan’s lower peninsula, but they are just breeders north of there.
Song Sparrows will eat mixed seeds and sunflower seeds from bird feeders on occasion.
16. RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER
Scientific name: Melanerpes carolinus
Length: 9.4 in
Weight: 2.0-3.2 oz
Wingspan: 13.0-16.5 in
In general, these medium-sized woodpeckers may be found at feeders and in backyards. You might initially notice the brilliant red line down the back of their heads, despite the fact that they are characterized as “red-bellied.” They feature a simple white break, however their lower “belly” region is generally concealed in the pinkish red. With the white and black barring on their wings, they are easily discernible.
Only in the lower half of Michigan does the red-bellied woodpecker reside, although they are common in the upper peninsula.
A suet feeder attracts Red-bellied Woodpeckers, but they will also eat at seed feeders in the wild.
17. DOWNY WOODPECKER
Scientific name: Picoides pubescens
Length: 5.5-6.7 in
Weight: 0.7-1.0 oz
Wingspan: 9.8-11.8 in
Birds such as downy love to visit bird feeders and are very common in the backyard. They’re one of the first birds I notice at a new bird feeder, and they’re the tiniest woodpeckers in North America. Their white underbodies, black wings with white dots, black and white striped heads, and crimson spot on the rear of their heads (in males, females have no crimson) are instantly distinguishable. Downy’s are smaller than the Hairy Woodpecker, despite being similar to it on this list.
Throughout Michigan, the Downy Woodpeckers may be seen year-round.
With most types of bird feeders, downy woodpeckers are very common. Mixed seed, black sunflower seed, and suet should be offered.
18. COMMON GRACKLE
Scientific name: Quiscalus quiscula
Length: 11.0-13.4 in
Weight: 2.6-5.0 oz
Wingspan: 14.2-18.1 in
Grackles are beautiful in the right light, with their iridescent feathers, despite being bullies like the starling. They will roost with other types of blackbirds, sometimes in huge masses numbering in the billions of birds, and they appear to be mostly black in color. Their solid color and yellow ringed eye makes them easy to spot.
Except for a small area of southern Michigan where they live all year, grackles are only seen during the breeding season in Michigan.
Grackles are considered pests because they are foragers and will eat practically anything.
19. HAIRY WOODPECKER
Scientific name: Leuconotopicus villosus
Length: 7.1-10.2 in
Weight: 1.4-3.4 oz
Wingspan: 13.0-16.1 in
Apart from their greater size and a few other characteristics, Hairy Woodpeckers and Downy Woodpeckers are essentially identical. Both have identical patterns and are commonly discovered in the same locations throughout the nation. The Hairy Woodpecker, on the other hand, does not seem to feed as frequently at bird feeders as Downy’s do.
Hairy Woodpeckers are found throughout the state of Michigan all year.
Hairy Woodpeckers will visit suet and seed feeders in addition to Downy Woodpeckers.
20. DARK-EYED JUNCO
Scientific name: Junco hyemalis
Length: 5.5-6.3 in
Weight: 0.6-1.1 oz
Wingspan: 7.1-9.8 in
Since Juncos spend their summers up in Canada, people in the United States often associate them with winter birds. Their heads are blackish gray, and their upper body is dark slate-gray, but their lower body is lighter grayish white with a light pink beak. Females and immature males may have a buffy brown tint to them. They’re most often seen hopping around on the ground in wooded areas and forests.
Northern Michigan is home to dark-eyed Juncos all year, while the south of the state is home to them during the winter.
Juncos prefer to look for food and eat seeds on the ground rather than visit feeders, and they enjoy collecting seeds that the other birds drop.
21. BALTIMORE ORIOLE
Scientific name: Icterus galbula
Length: 6.7-7.5 in
Weight: 1.1-1.4 oz
Wingspan: 9.1-11.8 in
Orioles are birds that eat fruit and like black berries and fruits. You have a good chance of attracting Baltimore Orioles if your yard has native fruit-bearing trees and plants. Males are completely orange on their breasts and underbodies, with a black head and black backs with white stripes on their wings. The tail feathers on their orange rump are also orange. The color of females is considerably lighter, more yellowish-orange.
In most of the country, including Michigan, the Baltimore Orioles are migratory birds that only appear during mating season. As a result, look for them in the spring and early summer.
When the Orioles are in town, put out an oriole feeder and offer them jelly and orange halves to attract them.
22. RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD
Scientific name: Archilochus colubris
Length: 2.8-3.5 in
Weight: 0.1-0.2 oz
Wingspan: 3.1-4.3 in
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are the country’s most common species of hummingbird, although they are only found in the eastern part of the United States. In the Eastern United States, they are also the only hummingbird breeding species. Males have a brilliant crimson throat, hence their name. On their backs, wings, and heads, Ruby-throated Hummers have white underparts with an emerald-green color. The red throat feathers are not seen in females.
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are the most common hummingbirds in Michigan, and you may encounter a few uncommon migratory species from time to time. From spring through the fall, they can be found all over the state.
If you put out nectar feeders, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds will come in droves, especially in April or May.
23. BROWN THRASHER
While they aren’t as prevalent as other species on this list, these backyard birds may be found if you know where to look in Michigan. They appear to be mostly brown in color, and I assume they’re known as thrashers because of the way they’ll thrash through fallen leaves in search of insects, but don’t quote me on that. Brown Thrashers are accomplished songbirds, with over 1100 different songs, including those of other bird species.
In Michigan, look for brown thrashers in the spring and summer because they have a breeding range there.
Bird feeders are not frequently visited by Brown Thrashers, although they may pick up seeds on the ground. They search for insects in the leaves and sticks they dig through.
24. GRAY CATBIRD
Scientific name: Dumetella carolinensis
Length: 8.3-9.4 in
Weight: 0.8-2.0 oz
Wingspan: 8.7-11.8 in
Dark slate gray cats with black caps, blackish gray wings, and long tails are the most frequent Catbirds. Native fruit-bearing trees and shrubs should attract them since they are mostly fruit eaters. Their calls, which sound like those of a meowing cat, earned them the name catbird.
During the breeding season, Gray Catbirds can be found across Michigan and most of the United States.
If you provide some fruits, berries, and other sweet foods, you may be able to attract catbirds, however they prefer to forage on the ground or in bushes for food.
25. NORTHERN FLICKER
Scientific name: Colaptes auratus
Length: 11.0-12.2 in
Weight: 3.9-5.6 oz
Wingspan: 16.5-20.1 in
In the United States, these medium to huge sized woodpeckers are fairly frequent around backyards, but not particularly frequent near feeders. They’re also one of the most vivid birds in North America, in my opinion. Flickers are somewhat less frequent feeders than the other woodpecker species on this list, but they can be found if you know where to look. The black dots on their bellies, thick black bib, crimson patch on the rear of their necks, and barred black and gray wings will help you identify them. The yellow-shafted variety of Michigan is distinguished by its bright yellow feathers on the underside of their wings.
The lower peninsula of Michigan is home to Northern Flickers year-round, but the upper peninsula is home only during the breeding season.
A suet feeder is visited by Northern Flickers on occasion, but they are more likely to find their own food. If you have a bird bath outside, they’ll come to see it.
HOW TO ATTRACT BIRDS TO YOUR YARD
Want to bring some of these birds into your yard? The most basic of these five tips is the first to consider.
1. PUT OUT BIRD FEEDERS
A bird feeder or two is the best and most obvious way to attract birds to your yard. A basic tube feeder, hopper feeder, platform feeder, or window feeder might be a good place to start. Below, you’ll find ideas for each of them.
2. ADD A WATER SOURCE
You may utilize a simple terra cotta flower pot saucer, like the one shown on Amazon, in lieu of a pedestal birdbath. Adding a water feature to your yard will simply enhance your prospects of attracting birds, as birds need water not only to bathe in but also to drink. Moreover, since moving water attracts the birds to visit the pond even more, consider adding a solar fountain.
3. OFFER BIRDHOUSES
If placed in the proper location and at the proper time of year, many species of birds will readily take up residence in birdhouses. Among the most popular birds to attract to birdhouses are Eastern Bluebirds. A mating pair of bluebirds visited my birdhouse the same day I put it in the yard, so I knew it was a hit!
4. PROVIDE SHELTER
Make sure there are trees, shrubs, and bushes in your yard that the birds can use to retreat and advance when they sense danger. Predators are their primary threat, and this is their primary defense. If your yard is in a new area with no mature trees, try to add landscaping elements that will allow birds to view it as a safe place.
5. ADD NATIVE PLANTS
Having native plants that produce nuts, berries, and seeds will benefit your efforts to attract more birds for many birds that eat them. Since non-native plants might be harmful to native birds that are not accustomed to them, try to keep them at bay.
10 DIFFERENT TYPES OF BIRD FEEDERS
The most popular bird feeders in people’s yards are shown here.
- The term “hopper feeder” comes from the fact that it has a compartment in the middle, called the hopper, which holds bird seed. Birds may land on and feed from the perches that line the sides. The majority of hopper feeders are shaped like a house and have a top that keeps the seed dry. For this sort of feeder, use black sunflower seeds or a combination of birdseed. This is a squirrel-proof hopper feeder that I really like.
- Platform feeders are open on top and may be hung from a tree or hook, or pole-mounted, and are sometimes called tray feeders. They’re simple to put up and helpful for feeding most bird types. Every animal in your yard that can reach them will eat from them, despite the fact that they are completely open. For this kind of feeder, use black sunflower seeds or a combination of birdseed. In the back of my property, I’m currently utilizing this platform feeder.
- Tube feeders are transparent plastic tube-shaped bird feeders that simply put out food. They may hold a few cups of seed or up to 5 pounds of seed. These are fantastic since they allow you to seed easily when it’s time to refill your seed and keep it fresh and dry. A tube feeder will be used by several sorts of birds. Tube feeders can be used to feed black sunflower seeds and mixed seeds. This squirrel-proof tube feeder is made by Squirrel Buster, one of the best manufacturers on the market.
- Suet feeders are used for suet cakes, which are one kind of bird food. They’re a very basic idea, typically consisting of just a metal wire cage with a tail-prop for bigger birds, although they might include more. Suet feeders are customary in the winter, when birds are seeking for high-fat foods and woodpeckers come to visit them. I recommend the Pileated and Northern Flicker as well as a suet feeder with a long tail prop to attract larger woodpeckers.
- Window feeders are tiny bird feeders that use suction cups to attach to a glass window. They’re open on top and you simply pour seed into them, much like tray feeders. Many different kinds of birds prefer these feeders, which are simple to set up and perfect for folks with limited yards. For this type of feeder, use either black sunflower seeds or mixed birdseed. This is, without a doubt, the most well-liked window feeder on Amazon, as well as possibly the most popular bird feeder on the site.
- Thistle feeders are specialized bird feeders designed expressly for thistle seed. They’re also known as Nyjer feeders. Birds in the finch family, which includes the American Goldfinch and House Finch, are the most common types of birds attracted to thistle feeders. Thistle feeders have small holes along the tube’s walls that allow birds to pick thistle off the feeder. They’re often in a tube shape. From Droll Yankees, here’s a nice thistle feeder.
- Ground feeders are tray feeders that sit on the ground rather than on a higher level. Mourning Doves, Juncos, squirrels, raccoons, and any other kind of ground animal will all like them. For this type of feeder, blend black sunflower seeds or mixed birdseed. This recycled plastic ground feeder is a great option if you don’t want to buy another.
- Another kind of specialty feeder for one species of bird, orioles, is the oriole feeder. Oriole enthusiasts appreciate the feeder because it is usually orange in color and includes little plastic or glass dishes for jelly. Another treat that orioles accept is to put orange halves on the feeder. Here’s an easy oriole feeder that contains four jelly trays for holding orange halves.
- Hummingbird feeders are specialized for hummingbirds to draw sugar water from nectar feeders, often known as hummingbird feeders. I regularly see Downy Woodpeckers at mine, even though they are meant for hummingbirds, and they adore that sugary juice as much as I do. Learn how to make hummingbird nectar without boiling the water in this article. There’s no need to spend a lot of money on a hummingbird feeder since they’re so simple and economical.
- Peanut feeders are tube-shaped and normally made of metal wire mesh material, similar to thistle feeders. To allow for whole unshelled or shelled peanuts to pass through the holes, the holes in the wire mesh are only slightly farther apart. These should be filled with peanuts and attract birds like Blue Jays. This one from Squirrel Buster is the best option if you want to keep squirrels out of your peanut feeder. So, if you don’t mind, this basic one will suffice.
BIRD WATCHING IN MICHIGAN
If you want to go out and about with your hobby, Michigan is a fantastic place to visit. If you want to get more involved, the Michigan Audubon Society has 35 chapters and hosts meetups, seminars, field excursions, and birding tours on a regular basis.