About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Monday, August 3, 2009

What birds winter in Michigan?

I know this is a stupid question. I just started birdwatching. I bought a feeder from you that is shaped like a house. There are a lot of different birds at the feeder. I know birds migrate. Are there like any birds here during the winter?

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.

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.