The backyard birds of Michigan provide a unique and fun way to introduce children into an appreciation for the natural world. The guide includes 18 commonly seen species, their preferred habitats, and how they can help you identify different bird types.
The “Michigan bird identification” is a book that will help you identify 18 of the most common birds in Michigan. The author has been studying and identifying these birds for over 20 years, so he knows what he’s talking about.
The Great Lakes State is home to 450 different bird species. This post is for you if you’re curious how many of them you may view in your backyard in Michigan. We’ve included Information and Descriptions for some of Michigan’s most popular backyard birds so you may better recognize and attract them.
Visit these posts on Backyard Birds of Texas and Backyard Birds of Kentucky for more bird reading!
Chickadee with Black Cap
- Poecile atricapillus is its scientific name.
- 7 to 5.9 inches in length
- 3 to 8.3 inch wingspan
- 3 ounces to 0.5 ounces
These little birds have a black “cap” and bib that contrasts strongly with their white cheeks and are seen throughout the year. Their physique is mostly blackish grey and white.
Black-Capped Chickadees are regular feeder visitors and will be one of the first birds to welcome you when you install a new tube, tray, or hopper feeder in your yard.
Seeds, insects, and berries (particularly black sunflower seeds!) are favorites.
2. Blue Jay
- Cyanocitta cristata is its scientific name.
- 8.6 to 1.8 inch length
- 13.3 to 16.9 inches in length
- 2.5 to 3.5 ounces in weight
The enormous fluffy blue crown that decorates the heads of Blue Jays gives them a distinguishing appearance. Their upper bodies are predominantly blue, while their lower parts are off-white.
These birds also have a black circle outlining the contour of their neck, giving them a necklace-like appearance.
These birds are year-round residents of the state and use platform and peanut feeders. They shatter nuts, seeds, and berries and devour them.
3. Robin of America
- Turdus migratorius (scientific name)
- 9.0 to 11.0 inches in length
- 14.7 to 16.5 inch wingspan
- 2.3 to 2.8 ounces in weight
The American Robin is not just a regular backyard visitor, but it is also Michigan’s state bird. It has a bright orange underbelly and a beak that matches, which contrasts with its greyish-brown body.
Worms and other tiny invertebrates are preferred by these birds. They aren’t fond on seeds, thus they don’t frequent feeders.
Mealworms, birdbaths, and fruiting plants may all be used to attract them to your yard.
Northern Cardinal, No. 4
- Cardinalis cardinalis (scientific name)
- 8.9 to 12.2 inch wingspan
- 8.3 to 9.1 inches in length
- Approximately 1.5 to 1.7 ounces
Northern Cardinals are one of the most well-known backyard birds not just in Michigan, but also in North America.
Females have softer brown feathers while males have brilliant red bodies. The characteristic mohawks and red-orange beaks of both sexes make them instantly recognisable.
These birds are year-round residents of Michigan and love to eat at big tray and hopper feeders. Seeds including black sunflower seeds, berries, and almonds are among their favorite foods.
- Spinus tristis (scientific name)
- 4.3 to 5.5 inches in length
- 7.5 to 8.7 inch wingspan
- 0.39 ounces to 0.71 ounces
The American Goldfinch, often known as the wild canary, is a favorite of many birdwatchers, particularly during the summer. The males have a brilliant lemon yellow color in the summer, with a black crown and black wingtips.
Females (and males during the winter) have brown bodies and olive or greyish-yellow feathers. Both sexes are about the same size as a chickadee.
In Michigan, these birds may be observed all year and especially appreciate thistle feeders. They may eat black sunflower seeds as well.
Dove of Mourning
- Zenaida macroura (scientific name)
- 9.1 to 13.4 inches in length
- 17.7 inch wingspan
- 3.4 ounces to 6.0 ounces (Male) 3.0 oz. to 5.5 oz (Female)
Mourning Doves, which are somewhat bigger than American Robins, are generally spotted perched on wires, fences, or in trees. They may come to your tray feeder, but they are more likely to be seen strolling on the ground.
The bodies of these birds are grey with black markings. Their eyes are ringed by a peculiar cyan-colored ring, and their undersides are a delicate peach tint.
Although they attend feeders, these doves prefer to forage for seeds on the ground. Put black sunflower seeds on tray feeders or drop the seeds on the ground to attract them.
7. Crow, American
- Corvus brachyrhynchos is its scientific name.
- 15.8 to 20.9 inches in length
- Weight ranges from 11.2 to 21.9 ounces
- 33.5 to 39.4 inch wingspan
The bodies of American Crows are totally black. They’re huge and have a distinctive cawing cry that many people recognize.
Crows in the United States are likewise highly clever birds with excellent problem-solving abilities. To have a bird’s eye perspective of their surroundings, they like to stay high in the trees.
These birds are year-round inhabitants in Michigan. Because of their huge size, they are omnivorous and seldom frequent bird feeders.
- Dryobates pubescens is its scientific name.
- 5.5 to 7.1 inches in length
- 9.8 to 12.2 inch wingspan
- 0.7 to 1.1 ounces in weight
Downy Woodpeckers are the tiniest woodpeckers in North America. They’re always among the first visitors to a fresh bird feeder, which may be found all year in Michigan.
The males’ heads have a distinctive red patch on the rear that makes it easy to distinguish them (not present in females). Like the Hairy Woodpecker, both sexes have black and white striped heads but smaller bodies.
These birds will eat from almost any bird feeder. Black sunflower seeds, insects, and fruits are among their favorite foods.
- Sitta carolinensis is its scientific name.
- 5.1 to 5.5 inches in length
- 7.9 to 10.6 inch wingspan
- 0.6 to 1.1 ounces in weight
The White-Breasted Nuthatch is a popular backyard bird in Michigan, and it may be seen all year round. Nuthatchers are so named because they bury nuts under tree bark and then hatch them out with their keen beaks.
Look for a conspicuous black stripe on the top of the head, grey and black wings, and a white face and belly to identify these birds.
These birds will eat from almost any bird feeder. Black sunflower seeds, peanuts, and insects are among their favorite foods.
Song Sparrow (10)
- Melospiza melodia (scientific name)
- 4.7 to 6.7 inches in length
- 7.1 to 9.4 inch wingspan
- 0.4 to 1.9 ounces in weight
These sparrows have predominantly brown bodies with deep brown streaks on their white undersides, similar to other brown-streaked sparrows. They may be found all across North America, with different plumage depending on the locale.
Male Song Sparrows use their distinctive songs to attract females and protect their nests. They may be seen all year on Michigan’s lower peninsula.
They enjoy to consume a variety of seeds, therefore they frequent tray and hopper bird feeders.
Red-Bellied Woodpecker, No. 11
- Melanerpes carolinus is its scientific name.
- 9.2 to 10.3 inches in length
- 15.7 to 17.8 inch wingspan
- 2.2 to 3.2 ounces in weight
These medium-sized woodpeckers are often encountered in backyards and at bird feeders.
Despite their “red-bellied” moniker, the visible crimson on their bodies is really a brilliant stripe that runs down the back of their heads and down the length of their necks. The majority of their tummy is white, with a red-washed patch visible if you look closely.
Their wings, which are adorned with distinctive black and white barring, are another distinguishing trait of these birds.
Red-bellied Lower Michigan is home to the majority of woodpeckers. They prefer suet feeders, although may sometimes visit seed feeders.
12. Starling of Europe
- Sturnus vulgaris (scientific name)
- 7.9 to 9.1 inches in length
- 12.2 to 15.8 inch wingspan
- Weight: 2.1-3.4 oz
European Starlings, which are often considered pests, are a prime example of invasive species. 100 of these birds were released in New York in the 1890s. They’ve taken the country by storm since then, due to their incredible adaptive abilities.
They wreak havoc on other birds by destroying their nests and murdering their younglings, but their appearance hides their destructive activity. With dark-colored bodies that emit a blend of purple, green, and blue iridescence in daylight, these birds are intriguing.
Their beaks and feet are yellow, and they have white spots on their wings and down their backs. They’re year-round residents who may be found all around the state.
Furthermore, their versatility permits them to devour almost everything. You don’t need to provide any special food to entice them; they’ll come to your backyard of their own own.
13. Titmouse with Tufts
- Baeolophus bicolor (scientific name)
- 5.5 to 6.3 inches in length
- 7.9 to 10.2 inch wingspan
- 0.6 to 0.9 ounces in weight
In Michigan, these little birds are common visitors to backyards and feeders. They have characteristic little mohawks, similar to the Northern Cardinal, that might help you identify them.
Tufted Titmice have silver bodies on top and greyish white bodies on the bottom. A black mark is also seen immediately above their black beaks.
These birds may be seen all year on the lower peninsula. They are, however, uncommon on the upper peninsula.
Sparrow of the House
- Passer domesticus (scientific name)
- 5.9 to 6.7 inches in length
- 7.5 to 9.8 inch wingspan
- 0.9 to 1.1 ounces in weight
House Sparrows are often regarded as pests. Except for starlings, these are the only wild bird species in the United States that may be lawfully captured and killed humanely.
They were also released loose in New York and have now seized control of the nation. They have a reputation for being violent to other birds, especially in their breeding grounds.
The bodies of these invading birds are brown, with black and dark brown striping on the chests and wings. They’re year-round residents who may be found all around the state.
They’ll devour almost everything, putting native species at jeopardy.
15. Junco, Dark-Eyed
- Junco hyemalis (scientific name)
- 5.5 to 6.3 inches in length
- 7.1 to 9.8 inch wingspan
- 0.6 to 1.1 ounces in weight
Because Dark-Eyed Juncos migrate to Canada during the summer, they are considered winter birds in the United States.
Their bodies are black-grey in color, with a deeper hue on top that fades to light grey and white at the bottom. Females and immature Juncos, on the other hand, are buffy brown. Pink beaks are seen on both sexes.
These birds may be seen all year in Northern Michigan among forested regions and woods. They like to remain close to the ground, hopping about much of the time.
Juncos don’t attend feeders since they prefer to forage for food on the ground. As a result, scattering seeds might attract these birds.
Northern Flicker, number 16
- Colaptes auratus (scientific name)
- 0 to 12.2 inches in length
- 5 to 20.1 inch wingspan
- 9 ounces to 5.6 ounces
Northern Flickers are popular backyard birds all around the country, not just in Michigan. They range in size from medium to giant and like to eat insects. As a result, they aren’t frequent feeders.
They feature a red patch on the back of their necks, black spots on their undersides, barred grey and black wings, and a bib made entirely of black. Yellow-shafted Northern Flickers live in Michigan and have wings with yellow feathers on the underside.
These birds may be seen all year on the lower peninsula, but only during the mating season north of there. Consider installing a birdbath in your backyard if you want to attract these birds.
Finch of the House
- Haemorhous mexicanus is its scientific name.
- 4.9 to 6.1 inches in length
- 8.1 to 10.5 inches in length
- 0.6 to 0.9 ounces in weight
The House Finch is another backyard bird that you may expect to see regularly in Michigan. Despite being an invasive species, they are not as hated as House Sparrows due to their lack of destructiveness.
These birds are exclusively found on the lower peninsula and may come to your feeders in large numbers. Because they have a reddish tint on their heads and chests, male House Finchs are simpler to distinguish than females, who are all brown.
These birds visit feeders more regularly than Goldfinches. To attract them, black sunflower seeds work well.
Hairy Woodpecker, number 18
- Dryobates villosus is its scientific name.
- 1 to 10.2 inches in length
- 0 to 16.1 inch wingspan
- 4 ounces to 3.4 ounces
Hairy Woodpeckers resemble Downy Woodpeckers in appearance, with the exception that they are bigger and lack the red mark on the back of the neck. Year-round, both birds may be found in the same sections of the state.
Although Hairy Woodpeckers are less likely to visit bird feeders, they are still drawn to seed and suet feeders.
There you have it: Michigan’s 18 most frequent backyard birds. All you have to do is keep your eyes open and use the facts and descriptions we provided to identify them different.
The “Backyard Birds Of Michigan” is a guide that includes the 18 most common species in the state. The book also includes a list of birds by season, and an introduction to birding. Reference: michigan winter birds.
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