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.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Bird that chips

I hear a chip, chip, chip sound right when it is starting to get dark. I think it is a cardinal's chip but there are so many! Do you know what I'm hearing?

Scientists have described at least 16 different calls for the Northern Cardinal, but the one you’ll hear most common at the feeders and in the late summer and fall is a loud, metallic chip. The call alerts feeding cardinals that all is clear and no predators are near.

The Northern Cardinal is often the first bird to visit a feeder in the morning and the last to stop by and grab a bite at night. The increase in the number of birds chipping foreshadows a change in seasons. By late summer, nesting is over and Northern Cardinals relax their their territory boundaries. The birds sing less but are forming winter flocks that use "chip" calls to communicate. 
 
After Young cardinals leave their natal home they don’t have a set territory and can move around freely in search of food. They can drop in several Older cardinals' established groups only to drop out again in search of a territory that can sustain them with enough food and shelter.

Cardinal populations with access to a feeding station may be in better condition and more likely to survive the winter than cardinals without access. Cardinals prefer to feed on the ground so if you can "raise the ground" by feeding cardinals on tray feeders, hopper feeders, seed cylinder feeders or any feeder that gives them a comfortable feeding position. Their favorite food is oil sunflower, nuts, safflower and fruit. Wild Birds Unlimited has a wide variety of cardinal friendly feeders.

The bright red plumage of the Northern Cardinals is a magnificent sight against the snowy backdrop in winter. Winter??? Yes, if you want more cardinals at your feeders, make sure your feeders are full right now.
Source: Wild Bird Guides-Northern Cardinal by Gary Ritchison

Related Articles:
Northern Cardinal Fun Facts http://bit.ly/twE6NV
How the Northern Cardinal bird was named http://bit.ly/tSKZYs
Cardinal Bird Feeders Made in the USA: http://bit.ly/qXJPFM
How to Attract Cardinals: http://bit.ly/pjh7mO
What can I feed the cardinals to make them redder? http://bit.ly/rAArXw
What are the different types of cardinal birds? http://goo.gl/CUI43

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Should you stop feeding to make sure the birds migrate

If you enjoy feeding birds, you should continue to feed them year-round. Feeding the birds in late summer and fall will not make them stick around if they migrate south normally. And the birds that do stick around all year are choosing their winter territories right now.

This is such an exciting time for the birds! As you may have noticed, birds have been attacking the feeders like there is no tomorrow. First they have to take in a lot of high fat, high protein foods to change their feathers. Then they need to increase their fat reserves by as much as 1-10% per day to prepare for winter or a long journey south. In human terms, this would mean I would have to gain 12 pounds per day. Birds change into a “superbird” state when their internal clock is triggered by shorter days and cooler weather at the end of summer.

And don’t forget about the American Goldfinches. They have just started nesting and will bring their adorable babies to the feeders in the next couple weeks. Such fun! Fall is actually my favorite time to feed. I like to watch the baby finches as they call to their parents and the cardinals forming flocks in my yard. Then the migrating warblers, kinglets, pewees, gnatcatchers, and vireos may join tree-foraging guilds for a short time during migration stopovers. I love it when the kinglets fly in to mingle with the chickadees every fall.

To help the birds, you can feed them high energy, high fat foods. Wild Birds Unlimited is dedicated to offering fresh, top-quality seed. Our no-waste bird seed blends are made from 100% edible seed and have been exclusively formulated for the feeding preferences of our local birds. No cereal fillers—just fresh, high-quality seed your birds will love.

Related articles:
What’s the best suet for Michigan wild birds? http://bit.ly/z7Eurx
Filling Up on Fatty Foods http://bit.ly/xbZ9lR
Product Highlight: Solid Seed Cylinders http://goo.gl/HbISQR
Why Don't Birds Freeze After They Take a Bath in the Winter? http://goo.gl/5ydpvy
Choosing the best bird seed http://goo.gl/jrpDX

Monday, July 29, 2019

Bird houses that stay up all winter are put to good use

Is there a reason to leave the birdhouse out after the House Wrens leave?

House Wrens usually leave mid-Michigan by October to winter in the southern U.S. and Mexico. If their bird house is a material that doesn't winter well like ceramic or gourd I would clean it up and bring it in for the winter. If it is made of cedar, recycled plastic, or a material that weathers well, I would or leave the house up for the chickadees.

Black-capped Chickadees stay in Michigan year-round. And when the weather turns bitter cold chickadees seek out natural cavities like knotholes in trees, or old woodpecker nests to roost. Where these are scarce, chickadees will use bird houses for shelter.

Related Articles:  
Keep Wasps from Building Nests in Birdhouses http:/keep-wasps-from birdhouses.html
Best Bird Houses http://bit.ly/AuLTJt
Why don't chickadees stay to eat at the feeder? http://bit.ly/AkKThH
After chickadee babies have fledged http://bit.ly/yAYbP4
What Do Black-Capped Chickadees Eat? http://bit.ly/zxi04X
Bird of the Week: Black-capped Chickadee http://bit.ly/A1YFQ4 

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Odd specked cream colored egg in bluebird nest

I live in Northern Minnesota and have bluebird nesting boxes. Last year, a bluebird pair were very interested in the box. All of a sudden they seemed upset and then were gone and never nested. When I opened the box, there was an odd egg in the box that apparently didn’t belong to the bluebirds. It was specked cream colored and appeared larger than a bluebird egg. Thanks for any answer you can provide. Kathy

Cowbird eggs are white to grayish-white with brown or gray spots or streaks. The Brown-Headed Cowbird is a common native bird throughout North America. The male brown-headed cowbird is glossy black with a contrasting dark brown head, while the females are dull grayish brown. A female cowbird can have several mates but instead of building their own nest, she will lay her eggs in the nests of other bird species which foster the babies. She chooses several nests of other bird species to deposit one egg.

Studies have shown that the cowbirds don’t just drop an egg and move on. The females occasionally check in on the little bundles they’ve left behind. An experienced bluebird may have recognized the egg and abandoned the nest. If the bluebird tries to remove the foreign egg, the female cowbird may return and destroy the whole nest. This tactic forces the birds to start another batch of eggs and the cowbird can then try to slip another egg into the nest. The cowbird wants the advantage of her egg hatching first so her baby will have the best chances of survival.

Another sign of a cowbirds presence is an intact egg on the ground under active nests. Female cowbirds often evict one or more of the host eggs before they lay their own. Or she may eat the egg instead or damage it and leave it in the nest.

Cowbird nestlings do not oust host eggs or young from the nest, or kill the host's chicks. However, since they tend to hatch earlier, develop faster, and crowd out or reduce the food intake of the hosts' nestlings, often only the cowbird survives to fledging. In one study with one Cowbird and two host nestlings, the Cowbird got 50% of the food. Bluebirds abandoning a nest with a cowbird egg may have been the smartest solution. Cowbirds are native, so they are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act so there was nothing you could do about the egg without a permit.

For additional information about Brown-headed Cowbirds, visit this species’ profile on All About Birds.

Sources: 
1.  http://www.sciencenow
2. https://nestwatch.org/
3. http://www.sialis.org/cowbirds.htm 

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Can birds drown?

Louis Agassiz Fuertes (1874-1927), artist
Hello…I am very fond of birds..love watching them..from windows..sometimes use my binoculars..I have a really nice backyard..and several birdhouses..I love the houses as much as the birds..

I recently had a pair nest in a 3-4 hole house..they have had one clutch this past month…and started building another nest..just above the last place and I have so enjoyed watching…and anticipating the next arrivals..till this morning..I put my 3 little dogs in their kennel for a few hours..checked their water bucket for freshness…and there was a wren floating.(dead of course) in the bucket…I was devastated..buried the little thing..and noticed the other mate..(and I honestly do not know which one I lost) the other then…was sitting up on top of the pole(house is mounted on) singing..but nothing like usually singing..this was almost mournful to me…is that possible…came back and forth a couple of times…and I noticed late this afternoon..wasn’t even around..

My question is was the song the wren was singing..(after losing a mate..after no show) really sad…do they act that way?? How do I know which one I lost..they are colored the same..Will this Male? move on now..the nest remain vacant??

Should I clean out the houses in the fall…completely get rid of all the twigs,etc.?? thanks for any information you can tell me..I am so saddened about this loss..my yard is now very quiet…You could hear the wrens singing for joy all over..I could even hear them in the house…with windows closed..thanking you in advance for answering my questions…sincerely..Mary B. (p.s.,,,My daughter lives in Lansing...


Wow, lots of good questions. I'm so sorry about the little bird. We are all a part of nature and any loss is sad.

Wrens continue to call for mates from spring until late summer. Their increase in hormones stimulates the pituitary gland indirectly to prepare birds’ bodies for the upcoming breeding season and results in increased singing. They try to nest as many times as they can from May to October. House Wrens can have multiple mates during nesting season. Either male or female may leave their first mate to finish up raising the young alone and seek a new mate for a second or third breeding attempt during a season. Males can build several false nests and may even have a couple families going at the same time or consecutively. Females may also leave the male with the young to start another family with a new male.

Both the male and female House Wrens look similar to our human eyes but their actions may be revealing. The males tend to be more vocal while the females more behind the scenes. Also during breeding season, Male wrens start building several nests at once in hopes of persuading a female to mate with him. Then the female is the one to find all the soft stuff, (feathers, grasses and other plant material, animal hair, spider egg sacs, string, snakeskin) to build the nest cup.

Birds do not drown often, but it can happen. If a young bird lands in deep water and its feathers get wet, it may not manage to get out. The best bird baths have a good perching area, a gradual dip to not more than two inches, and a textured bottom. Deep water bowls may pose a potential hazard to inexperienced birds. Perhaps during the nesting months, it might be a good idea to put a rock in a in the middle of the bowl or offer a larger, shallower bowl.

I usually clean out nest boxes the first week in September. It is good to check your houses to make sure they are still suitable habitats (nothing broken or left behind like a dud egg or pests). To clean the nest box I usually place a plastic bag over the nest and just sweep everything in and twist the bag shut. You can rinse out the house with a water hose or diluted bleach spray. Make sure the drainage holes are unplugged and leave the house open to dry for a couple days. Finally dispose of the old nest in the trash and wash your hands thoroughly. You can leave some sticks below the house to help them rebuild.

Related Articles:
- Do the same House Wrens nest in the same house every year? http://bit.ly/uDBbIb
- Quick Fun Facts on Wrens http://bit.ly/v5XVoU
- Hanging & Placement of Wren Bird Houses http://bit.ly/rBLsGQ
- The best suet for wild birds http://goo.gl/yY7bGt
- Roosting Pockets: Warm Shelter from Frosty Winds http://goo.gl/QOPbMw

Friday, July 26, 2019

Photo Share: My nature walk




Sarah, I saw a baby bunny, heron, and lots of half grown ducks. Fun walk!


Amazing! Thank you for sharing your day. If anyone else would like to share a photograph of nature send it to bloubird@gmail.com with a description and permission to post it on the Friday Photo.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

It's a great time to start feeding woodpeckers

The Pileated Woodpecker is Michigan's largest woodpecker at sixteen and a half inches in length and a wingspan up to 30 inches. Its size, sleek black back and wings, offset by a red crest, are obvious field marks. The males have a characteristic red "mustache", which is actually a stripe near the beak. The female's stripe is black. Now is a great time to start feeding woodpeckers as the babies are just leaving the nest!

Peanut butter suet is my favorite suet. It smells like peanut butter cookie dough and only has two ingredients, peanuts and suet. To attract Pileated Woodpeckers I would recommend pressing the suet into the bark of a tree or the WBU Double Tail Prop Suet Feeder. The paddle simulates a tree trunk and offers birds a place to prop their tail while they feed. Even the Pileated Woodpecker's huge frame will fit on our feeder. It is made out of Recycled Plastic so it won't rot, crack, fade and it is also is easy to fill and clean. They hold two suet cakes at a time and yes we do sell suet too. I like peanut butter suet or hot pepper suet if you have a problem with critters.

Tail Prop suet feeders also attract a wide variety of other birds like chickadees, nuthatches, titmice and other woodpeckers.

There is some confusion on how to pronounce "pileated". Some lean toward "PIE-lee-ate-ed", while others say "PILL-ee-ate-ed". Both pronunciations are accepted. The name comes from the brilliant scarlet crest of feathers on the top of its head, called a pileum (PIE-lee-um). The genus name, Dryocopus means "oak tree cutter".

Though Pileated Woodpeckers are not in any imminent danger, there is reason for concern. Pileated Woodpeckers rely heavily on big trees for their nest cavities. They prefer large dead trees within mature forests. With many areas losing large trees due to disease and clear-cutting, one should watch this species closely. Since so many other creatures depend upon this bird for survival, it would be devastating, if it was lost.

Related Articles: 
- What’s the best suet for Michigan wild birds? http://bit.ly/tcKasp
- Michigan made suet feeders: http://bit.ly/rbKskX
- How many woodpeckers are in Michigan? http://bit.ly/tJ7e6S
- Fun Facts about Woodpeckers http://bit.ly/tQ5lwt
- How do I Attract Woodpeckers? http://bit.ly/o4CLqI

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

The joys of nature outside my window

Who needs a vacation when you get so much joy right where you are, watching nature all around, every day. The Canada Geese are on there annual July walking tour at Wild Birds Unlimited. It is their molting season. They rejuvenate their flight feathers for their Fall migration beginning in mid-June and throughout the month of July. Unlike other birds which will loose one feather at a time and still be able to fly, geese will loose all of their flight feathers (or molt) and will be unable to fly for a period of about 6 weeks. Please drive carefully!
Black squirrels watch geese invade their picnic area
And if you look up in the tree, the black squirrels babies are joining the party. We have a rambunctious one this year that wants to eat from the window feeder while his litter mates eat pine cones under the tree with mom. I knock on the window, he leaves, he's back, I knock on the window, he leaves, he's back.... Finally Momma squirrel took to scolding him, to chasing him, to throwing up her hands, to watching him back on the window feeder.
Blue Jay Jr. figuring it all out

Jays are also all over right now introducing their kids. They are making all sorts of calls and squeaky noises. Some have interesting new hairdos. And House Sparrows are gathering now that their nesting season is almost over. Large family flocks are hitting the feeders hard this year because the weather didn't produce as many bugs for them. When I hear them in the evenings it's like I'm listening in to a huge family reunion.

I could go on and on about the wonders all around me every day, and so could you! Summer is a busy time but remember you and your family don't have to go to a specific destination to appreciate the joys of nature.

Related Articles:
Attract new birds to your yard http://bit.ly/xYtIN9
How to Begin Bird Feeding http://bit.ly/wCEUpJ
How do you become a birdwatcher? http://bit.ly/AlJkKQ
How to Prepare Your Yard for Fall https://prepare-your-yard-for-fall.html
Would the birds starve to death if I stopped feeding them? http://bit.ly/xOFgb9

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Many dove chases and fights

I've been seeing a lot of bullying going on outside of the Wild Birds Unlimited store. The doves seem to be in a mood every year after nesting. Male Mourning Doves poof up their neck feathers and chase other doves around on the ground. Dove fights have to do with establishing a pecking order. When nesting season is over at the beginning of fall, doves tend to gather together in loose flocks. The social structure is determined by a series of challenges between the birds. The bird that retreats the fewest times is considered dominant. The dominant bird has fewer challenges than the middle ranking birds throughout the winter and dominance is not related to whether the bird is male or female.

At the end of winter the birds separate into male and female groups and dominance within the single sex groups is established. All the boys are attracted to the dominant female as they now mingle only at feeding sites. But the dominant male soon scoops up the dominate female and form a pair bond for the season. They are the first to pair, establish a territory and nest.

During courtships males perform a noisy flight display and then approach the female with a bow and a coo. Once she accepts the male they preen each other and stay very close. The male sometimes “drives” the female. He follows close behind and gives her a peck when she stops walking in areas where other males might be around.

Many chases or fights now are a result of an unmated male trying to gain the attention of a female. Males also chase pairs away from the territory that they’ve claimed for the season.

Source: Ecology and Management of the Mourning Dove by Thomas S. Baskett

 Related Articles:
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Do Birds Sip or Slurp? http://bit.ly/N6syCY
Mourning Dove nesting facts and figures http://goo.gl/WeLWy

Monday, July 22, 2019

Photo Share: Teeny-tiny Monarch caterpillar

Hi Sarah! It seems the climate and critters of Lansing are very similar to here in Rhode Island, so when I saw your post about Monarch butterflies I realized it was time to check on the Milkweed growing in my yard. What I found reduced me to squealing like a child one tenth of my age who's been told she's getting a pony. ;) After I regained age-appropriate language skills, I took some photos I thought you might like to see and maybe share on your blog. (They're big pictures of teeny-tiny caterpillars, so feel free to crop them or let me know if you'd like me to.) If it weren't for your timely post, I wouldn't have known these little guys were there, so thank you!! :) - MS in RI

Thank you so much for sharing! It takes monarchs about a month to go through the stages from egg to adult. It is just amazing! A monarch butterfly egg about the size of a pinhead, hatches the caterpillar that isn't much bigger, but it will grow up to 2 inches long in the next 10-14 days.

When the hungry caterpillar becomes too large for its skin, it molts, or sheds its skin. The intervals between molts are called instars. Monarchs go through five instars, approximately the length of its body at each stage.

In the fifth instar, 10 to 12 hours before shedding its skin for the final time, the Monarch caterpillar attaches itself with silk to the underside of a leaf. And after some initial wriggling the skin splits and the pupa skin hardens into a protective covering (chrysalis) for it to complete its metamorphosis into a butterfly!

Source: https://monarchlab.org/

If anyone else would like to share a photograph of nature send it to bloubird@gmail.com with a description and permission to post it on the Friday Photo.

Related Articles: 
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Monarch migration route http://goo.gl/L66ty
Punctuation Butterflies: The First Butterfly of Spring! http://bit.ly/JHUpG1
How Fast Does a Monarch Butterfly Fly? http://bit.ly/ywhpZr
Did you know butterflies have ears on their wings? http://bit.ly/x04qEi

Sunday, July 21, 2019

How to get those stubborn stains off the bird bath

In late summer the sun shifts and dirty rain falls. That's when my bird bath in front of the Wild Birds Unlimited store begins to grow green algae. I know I'm not the only one because people come in frequently in July and August looking for a solution to keep the bird bath clean. So I've assembled 5 tips to maintaining your bath.

1. Find a Better Birdbath When you’re choosing a birdbath, look for one with a basin that you can clean easily. Make sure it has a nice lip for birds to perch and a gentle slope to the middle, no deeper than 2 inches. A textured bottom also makes for easy gripping.

2. Replace Water Frequently  The best way to keep your bird bath clean is to change the water every other day. This prevents algae build-up, mosquito development, and keeps the water fresh.

3. Use a Birdbath Cleaning Brush Wild Birds Unlimited has an 8" brush that is well suited for scrubbing birdbaths without scratching. It has stiff, tough polypropylene bristles that will do the job well, and features a comfortable molded poly handle.

4. Remove Stubborn Stains Mix 9 parts water with 1 part of distilled white vinegar. The natural acidic ingredients of vinegar will break down any existing algae, while not harming any birds or animals that visit your birdbath. To remove any stubborn stains pour warm water with Mix 1/4 cup of borax in two cups of hot water, stirring with a spoon. Pour the mixture into the birdbath. Borax kills mold and mildew and helps remove stubborn stains. Rinse thoroughly after.

5. Prevent Stains from Returning If you add a cap-full of Bird Bath Protector, a bio-enzymatic product specially formulated for birdbaths, it prevents algae and hard water stains. Our Bath Protector is non-toxic, biodegradable and safe for wildlife, aquatic life and plants. Algae spores transfer to your birdbath from objects that fall out of nearby trees and will grow at a faster rate when exposed to direct sunlight. The best placement for your birdbath is an open, shaded area away from trees. Watch the video: https://youtu.be/TjbgujQCb_4?t=5s
 
Related Articles:
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- What kind of bird bath is the best? http://goo.gl/tXz65
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- Why is bird poop white? http://goo.gl/zQXiT
- The best heated bird baths http://bit.ly/xkyLlW

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Annual shake-up at the bird feeders

Now that it is Summer you should expect to see some bald birds. Just as people make seasonal wardrobe changes, many birds are beginning a transformation of their own, losing and replacing their feathers in a process known as molting. This complicated process requires a lot of energy and may take up to eight weeks to complete.

Most birds’ feather loss and replacement is gradual and you may notice they look a little ruffled. But then there are also a select few that go bald.

A bald bird at the feeder is a somewhat common sight to see from the end of June to the end of August in mid-Michigan. After the breeding season, most birds go through pre-basic molt that results in a covering of feathers, which will last until the next breeding season.

However, some Cardinals, BlueJays, and Grackles go through an abnormal molt or replacement of feathers. There are no scientific studies on why some of these birds go bald and some don’t or why it’s just the head. Whatever the reason, we know feathers are made of more than 90% protein, primarily keratins, so every molting bird needs extra proteins to grow strong feathers for proper flight and effective insulation.

More Colorful Birds -The Northern Cardinal, one of the most colorful birds, needs to eat the right foods now to acquire bright plumage coloration next year. At the feeders they are looking for nuts, sunflower, or safflower seeds. Their new feathers don’t come in bright. The tips of the new body feathers are brown/gray and make the cardinals appear a bit dull or more camouflaged in the winter. These dull colored tips wear off in time to leave them more colorful for breeding season in the spring.

Territories are forming - Birds are also staking out their winter territories right now. Young birds like chickadees, woodpeckers, and titmice find new territories to hook up with other young birds at the end of summer and join local adults to form winter flocks. If you are feeding a good bird food you will attract lots of birds that will remain in the same general area for the rest of their adult lives.

Related Articles:
What seed is best for attracting the colorful birds? http://goo.gl/SAA35
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When should I feed the birds? http://goo.gl/IvocS

Friday, July 19, 2019

Photo Share: Dog Day Cicadas

Summer's here! This was on the steps to my building this morning 😀 Amy G. - East Lansing, MI

These are the "dog day" cicadas of late summer and fall. Cicadas belonging to the genus Tibicen are large-bodied cicadas, usually with green and brown markings. In Michigan they tend to be found alone or in small numbers.

The hot, sultry days of summer in the Northern Hemisphere are called the Dog Days of Summer. According to John Brady’s Analysis of the Calendar in 1813, this is believed to be an evil time when "the Sea boiled, the Wine turned sour, Dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid; causing to man, among other diseases, burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies."

The Old Farmer's Almanac lists the traditional timing of the Dog Days as the 40 days beginning July 3 and ending August 11, coinciding with the rising of the Dog Star, Sirius. These are the days of the year when rainfall is at its lowest levels.

Related Articles:
Flashdance: The Fireflies Mating Ritual http://bit.ly/ysuA9q
Bug that buzzes in the summer https://cicads-buzzes-in-summer.html
Sounds of Summer: Michigan Cicada http://bit.ly/xnUpVW
Cicada mania not coming to Michigan until 2021 http://cicada-mania michigan.html
Interesting and Noteworthy http://interesting-and-noteworthy.html

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Is West Nile going away?

I saw 3 large separate groups of crows walking in the road as I drove in to work. A few years ago there were reports of large families being wiped out by west nile virus but their numbers seem to be back in East Lansing. Is west nile no longer around or have the birds developed an immunity?

A lot of larger birds are very vulnerable from July-September when they guide their fledglings from the nest to teach them how to survive. Their immunity becomes stressed if food is hard to find and it is too hot and dry. This can make them susceptible to disease.

West Nile virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne virus that can cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and/or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord). Corvids (crows, blue jays, and ravens) are the most susceptible to the disease. The virus is spread between birds mostly through the bite of an infected mosquito. WNV was first detected in Michigan in 2001.

If you find a dead bird report it to the DNR Wildlife Disease Lab at 517-336-5030 or report sick acting or dead wildlife to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to determine whether testing is necessary for the disease. Their website: https://www.michigan.gov/emergingdiseases

The total number of cases differ from year to year and state to state, since WNV was first detected. There were 614 West Nile virus disease cases in Michigan reported to CDC in 2002 but then an average of 20 cases per year until another spike in 2012 and then back down. So, although the West Nile virus may be worse in some years than others, it doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon.

It seems to be correlated with climate. The hotter, dryer summers will see the most cases. The life of the West Nile virus is tied to the life cycle of two kinds of mosquitoes: Culex pipiens, the northern house mosquito, and Culex restuans, the white-spotted mosquito. If the daily high temperature in the spring and early summer is warmer than 81 degrees more often than normal, C. pipiens peaks earlier, so West Nile cases should go up. If the temperature goes above 81 degrees less frequently than normal, C. pipiens will peak later, and the incidence of West Nile should be lower.

Sources:
West Nile Weather http://sciencenetlinks.com/

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/westnile/
MI-DNR  https://www.michigan.gov/dnr/

Related Articles:
The most common mosquitoes in Michigan. https:/common-mosquitoes-in-michigan.html
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Help prevent bug bites https://striped shirts stop bugs.html
Birds that Eat Mosquitoes https://birds-that-eat-mosquitoes.html
Mosquito hawks http://goo.gl/f8ojiF