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.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Fall birds in Michigan

What birds am I supposed to be looking for right now at the feeders? ~ Haslett, Michigan

Michigan is one of the prettiest states in Autumn and we’re also lucky to have lots of birds passing through right now. In the fall there are a lot of migrating warblers. Many warblers are a dull yellow or olive green but you can recognize them almost immediately as new visitors by their small size and movements. Most like to flick their wings like they have a nervous tick, to stir up bugs for a snack. They might also visit your suet feeders.

Kinglets are also around in the beginning of October. About the size of my thumb, they have a very high-pitched buzzy song. I usually hear them in the pines before I catch them doing their dance in the trees to scare up bugs.

A few hummingbirds are still around. This time of year we also receive a lot of phone calls at the Wild Birds Unlimited - East Lansing store from people that want to know when they should take down their hummingbird feeders. In mid-Michigan, you can leave your hummingbird feeder up until mid-October. The rule of thumb is if you haven't seen a hummingbird for two weeks in the fall it's safe to take your feeder down.

And when you see the White Crowned and White-throated sparrows, you know snow is just around the corner. These native sparrows show up in mid-Michigan right before the first snow in the fall. They can be spotted hanging around for a couple weeks before they continue to their wintering grounds in the eastern states below Michigan and in small numbers in southwestern states.

I’ve already seen the red-breasted nuthatch. He’s often seen at the suet, nut and sunflower feeders from September until next May. The nuthatches, chickadees, woodpeckers have started forming their winter flocks and are looking for feeders that they can frequent. You may have notice that the cardinals, sparrows, starlings, and finches are also flocking and staking out the best winter territories.

This is a very active time. Birds that come to the feeders right now are hungry, so it's nice to make sure your bird food provides the highest quality calories. And don't forget to keep the birdbath and other water sources filled with fresh, clean water, because all birds need to drink.

Related Articles: 
- The best time put up your bird feeders http://goo.gl/ptA09X
- Keep your feeders clean http://goo.gl/UGfVGT
- Michigan warblers begin migrating http://goo.gl/37QhV
- Warblers in Michigan http://goo.gl/WMMGs
- Choosing a seed blend to feed wild birds http://goo.gl/vsBxVs
- What’s the best suet for Michigan wild birds? http://bit.ly/rTCbHB

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