It's not a stupid question. Customers ask me all the time what birds come to the feeder in mid-Michigan during the winter.
As cold weather approaches and the lakes freeze most shore birds move south to find food. Some birds don't even wait for cold weather. Once their nesting is done they slowly journey south to areas that can sustain them through the winter.
And south doesn't necessarily mean South America. South to some birds nesting in Canada is Michigan. Some Dark-eyed Juncos, Red-Breasted Nuthatches, Pine Siskins, Redpoles, Crossbills, and Snow Buntings are just a few birds only seen here during the winter. The White Throated and White Crowned Sparrows are common migrants in mid-Michigan from mid-September to mid-November.
A few other feeder birds that you will see during the winter are the Mourning Dove, Downy Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Blue Jay, American Crow, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, European Starling, Northern Cardinal, American Goldfinch, and of course the House Sparrow to name a few.
As winter approaches, many birds change some of their eating habits and you may see an increase in traffic at your feeder. Birds that usually eat insects may start to add rich, high energy foods such as fruit, nuts, seed or suet to supplement their diets.
And don't forget birds also need a source for water in the winter. When the weather turns freezing, a heater or heated birdbath can keep an open water source for birds to bathe and drink.