20 Common Birds of Michigan: An Identification Guide

You may not know this, but there are a lot of birds in Michigan. If you live here, or if you’re just visiting for the day, it’s important to be able to identify these common birds. You never know when one might fly by and you’ll need to determine if it is a Cooper’s Hawk or an American Robin! In this article, we will go over the 25 most commonly seen birds of Michigan and give tips on how best to identify them.

1 Black-capped Chickadee is one of Birds of Michigan

Black-capped Chickadee
Black-capped Chickadee bird on his bird feeder

The Black-capped Chickadee is one of the most common birds in Michigan. Adults are medium size and have black caps with white cheeks, gray back feathers, and dark brown wings. Juveniles are similar but their crowns may not be as well defined or they might not have white cheek patches at all That sets this bird apart from other sparrows is that it will often feed on seeds while remaining perched up high, instead of hopping along the ground like many do to find food This species usually lives near mixed coniferous forests where there’s plenty of small trees for them to nest in. They can also be found near maple syrup farms because sap flows out onto forest floors during warmer months.

Adult blackcapped chickadees are just four to six inches long and have a black cap with white cheek patches. Juveniles are browner than adults, but they still sport the signature black-and-white head pattern.

Juvenile chickadees usually feed on seeds while perched in trees or flying from branch to branch looking for food. As winter nears and food becomes scarce, it’s common to see them feeding at birdfeeders instead — which is why you may find yourself surrounded by an army of these little birds when your suet starts running low!

2 Blue Jay

Blue Jay on branch
Blue Jay on branch

The blue jay bird is a common sight throughout Michigan and is one of the most colorful birds found in North America. These brilliantly colored birds are often spotted near cedar trees because they love the fruit that grows on them!

The average blue jay weighs about four ounces with an eight-inch wingspan. They can be identified by their distinctive color pattern: dark blue feathers cover its head while white spots adorn both sides of their chest down to their belly. Blue Jay’s usually nest from March until October, building large nests at least 20 feet up in tall oak or maple trees so that predators won’t disturb them during the breeding season.

Adult blue jays feed primarily off seeds they find on the ground or acorns after cracking them.

Blue Jay build their own nests and lay eggs in them.

There are usually three blue jays to a nest, but sometimes there can be as many as five!

The female lays one egg each day and incubates it for about two weeks before the chicks hatch.

After hatching, the young birds stay with their mother until they’re ready to fly on their own and find food themselves around six months of age.

Blue Jays have an average life span of 13 years! They typically live anywhere from 12-16 years old.

In North America alone, Blue Jays are found in every state except Alaska and Hawaii. Although not native to Michigan, they have been spotted here recently due to climate change’s effect on where animals migrate or move into.

3 American Robin

American Robin
American Robin

American Robin is one of the bird species most commonly seen throughout Michigan.

You’ll find them in all kinds of habitats, including meadows and wetlands, but they’re usually found near farmers’ fields or woodlands that are close to human dwellings.

The American Robin is named for the country’s national bird – the Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). They share a similar coloration as well! Fun fact: The species name “Melanocorypha” comes from two Greek words which mean “blackhead” – referring to this particular robin’s black cap while other members of its genus have white caps instead.

American Robins can be identified by their red breast feathers and bib. Their breeding season is different than their Western counterpart, the Red-winged Blackbird.

In Michigan, American Robins can be found in woodlands or fields with a water source nearby. They may nest on the ground under low bushes or shrubs if they’re available and live year-round throughout most of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.

Their call is often described as “chee chee” but sometimes sounds more like “hot.” The bird you hear singing this song tells other males that his territory has already been claimed to back off!

American Robin eggs are pale blue with black markings near the larger end and hatch about 12 days after being laid by both parents (mostly females).

4 Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal
Northern Cardinal

The northern cardinal is one of Michigan birds with distinctive red-and-yellow plumage and the characteristic crest on its head.

The northern cardinal is typically found in open woodlands with tall trees and bushes where they can hide out from predators during the day. They’re omnivores so it’s common to find them eating spiders or grasshoppers; however, their diet mainly consists of insects like ants and beetles!

Northern Cardinals eat four times in a 24 hour period: once in the early morning, late morning, noon, and evening. In Michigan birds feeding schedule changes depending on weather conditions–in warmer climates, more food sources are available year-round, making droughts less likely to affect them than what we experience here in our state.

These small birds have a lifespan of up to 12 years, but it is common for them to live up to six or seven.

Northern Cardinals breed in the late winter and early spring months with females laying three eggs at a time.

Female Northern Cardinals will incubate their eggs for 16-17 days before they hatch! After hatching, the female feeds her babies until they are old enough to fend on their own; this usually takes about two weeks. The nestlings grow quickly–in less than five weeks of age, they can already fly!

The northern cardinal has various calls that you may hear from these birds if you’re lucky enough: some include “chee-a” as well as “tweet”. These songs vary between individuals and intensities.

Northern cardinal habitats include gardens, suburbs, and woodlands.

If you’re lucky enough to spot a Northern Cardinal in Michigan, don’t be too quick to release it back into the wild–it’s illegal!

Northern Cardinals will typically breed when they are one year old or older, but it is common for them to live up to six or seven years of age. Female Northern Cardinals will lay three eggs at a time before incubating their eggs for 16-17 days; this usually takes about two weeks. The nestlings grow quickly–in less than five weeks of age they can already fly!–and after hatching from the egg, female cardinals feed their babies until they can fend on their own which usually happens within two weeks as well.

5 red-bellied woodpecker

red-bellied woodpecker
red-bellied woodpecker

The red-bellied woodpecker is one of the Bird Species that is commonly found in Michigan. It does not migrate, and it will stay all winter long–unless the extreme cold of January or February forces them to move south for the season.

The red-bellied woodpecker has a black face with white around its eyes; this bird species also have a brown back, olive-green wings, and crimson chest feathers that are most prominent during breeding time. The nesting habits of these birds vary depending on where they live: some nest high up in trees while others prefer lower branches closer to ground level.

If you see one at your backyard feeder be sure to keep an eye out because these birds can splatter their food onto surfaces! Although males tend to do less feeding than females. the red-bellied woodpecker is a common backyard bird that is unafraid of humans.

6 American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch
American Goldfinch

The American goldfinch is a common bird seen in the winter months, but this species will stay year-round if they can find sources of food. They feed on seeds and grains, especially during breeding season when males gather more than females to court them; you may see these birds near cereal crops or other grain fields.

This bird’s colors are mostly yellow with black and white markings on its wings; it has brown patches around its eyes as well that contrast against the rest of its body. The female has a gray front while her back is paler yellow coloration with pinkish feathers at times – she also lacks some of the bright coloring found in male specimens.

Goldfinches have adapted to human habitats by nesting 2-7 eggs per nest, typically in tree holes or buildings.

The birds eat nectar and insects and can be found at feeders during the winter months. In summer they will also forage on berry bushes as well.

They have a short call that sounds like “see-chu” which is how you may know if they are nearby!

Male Goldfinches are mainly yellow with black markings while females tend to be more grayish-brown – both sexes share pink feathers around their eyes when looking closely. They have adapted to human habitats by nesting two eggs per nest near trees or houses so it’s common to see them eating there this time of year! You’ll often hear their signature ‘see-thru sound too.

7 Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove
Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove is one of the common birds in Michigan. It is found in the eastern and central United States, along with western Canada from coast to coast.

It forages on the ground or low branches of trees eating mostly grain, weed seeds, fruits, and insects which it finds by looking under leaves or walking around on the ground. Mourning Doves are not migratory birds so they can be spotted all year long! They make a soft cooing sound that has been described as “like a baby talking”.

Mourning Dove nests typically on the branch of a tree or in the protective crooks of branches. They line their nests with soft materials such as grass and feathers to cushion eggs.

A Mourning Dove’s nest is easy to spot since it lays two white eggs on top of each other, which only hatch about 14 days after they are laid!

The common bird found all year long in Michigan that eats mostly grain seeds and fruit is called the mourning dove. Their sound resembles what most people would call “talking baby talk” when heard from up close because these birds lack an impressive voice range but make up for this by being social creatures that love interacting with other animals near them. More specifically, mournful doves can be seen at any time throughout the year nesting anywhere.

8 American Crow

American Crow
American Crow

The American Crow is a large bird species of the Corvidae family and the only species in the genus Corvus that is native to North America.

It gets its common name from a mix of grey on the head, wings, and tail feathers as well as black plumage.

The American crow’s diet consists mainly of invertebrates which they find foraging through fields or grasslands with their keen sense of sight. They will also eat eggs, small frogs, songbirds’ hatchlings while caring for them after hatching themselves, elk bones if found near water sources such as rivers along with forested areas, berries when available during fall months and wintertime scavenging food thrown out by humans close to cities where there are plenty of leftover scraps leftover from restaurants or residential homes.

American crows build their nests in cavities or high up in trees which may be old squirrels, woodpecker holes, broken tree limbs, and the like.

During mating season they will nest with other crows as well but only one partner on a given day so as not to confuse their mate’s identity.

They are excellent at mimicry of human voices and can imitate sounds such as car alarms, police sirens, crying babies – sometimes scaring parents into thinking their child has been kidnapped! They have also been known to steal shiny objects from humans when unattended for a brief moment too close by. This is called kleptoparasitism where an animal steals food from another animal while it isn’t looking or knows that it is happening.

The American crow lifespan is 15-30 years.

9 Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker

The Downy Woodpecker is about the size of a Meadowlark and in Michigan can be seen near wooded areas.

The Downy Woodpecker has a red crest on its head, unlike most other species that have black crests or no crests at all.

An easy way to ID them is by their call – it’s called “chickadee-dee” and sounds like an alternating series of short notes given every few seconds.

The Downy Woodpeckers diet consists mainly of insects but they will also eat some fruit if available as well as nuts from trees such as oak, hickory, walnut, elm, etc. They are mostly active during the day which makes them easier to spot up high.

Downy Woodpecker lifespan is between 1-2 years.

Downy Woodpeckers are about the size of a Meadowlark and in Michigan can be seen near wooded areas.

The Downy Woodpecker has a red crest on its head, unlike most other species that have black crests or no crests at all – this makes it easy to spot from afar!

An easy way to ID them is by their call – it’s called “chickadee-dee” which sounds like an alternating series of short notes given every few seconds.

Their diet consists mainly of insects but they will also eat some fruit if available as well as nuts from trees such as oak, hickory, walnut, elm, etc

10 Barn Owl

Barn Owl
Barn Owl

Barn Owls are about the size of a robin and can be found in most areas of Michigan, with an exception to heavily forested regions.

Their name comes from the fact that they nest in barns – it’s one of their preferred habitats!

They typically eat small mammals like mice or voles but will also consume other things as well such as insects, earthworms, fruit, frogs, lizards.

The Barn Owl is nocturnal when hunting which means you’ll hear them at night more than during the day. If you listen closely enough there may even be multiple owls calling out around each other within close proximity during mating season. They have many different calls including some high-pitched whist.

Barn Owl lifespan can be as long as 34 years.

Barn Owls are considered a threatened species in many regions because they have been impacted by manmade encroachment into their habitats such as deforestation or urban development.

How big is a home range of Barn owl?

A home range can vary depending on the region and season but in general, Barn owls will use anywhere from one to five acres.

What do we call a group of Owls?

The collective noun for a group of owls is called an ‘Unkindness’.

An Owl’s wing span can be as wide as 51 cm which means they are considered large birds.

Owls have amazing night vision due to their adaptations like huge eyes or round pupils that capture more light than our own human-shaped ones. This gives them binocular vision with two different fovea allowing them to see better when there is little or no light available at all. They also have asymmetrical feathers creating ear.

11 Northern shoveler

Northern shoveler
Northern shoveler

The northern shoveler is a widespread duck in North America and Europe.

It is a medium-sized diving duck that feeds mainly by dabbling in shallow water, but it can dive if necessary.

Their wings are very short meaning they cannot fly well, so their body shape is adapted to help them move through the water quickly with minimal resistance.

The northern shoveler’s bill is broad and flat with a small round tip, it has yellow or orange feet at the end of its narrow black legs.

It can be recognized by its white-bordered dark brown wings and back on otherwise mainly grey plumage, as well as a green speculum bordered in white.

The lifespan of The northern shoveler can be up to 12 years.

12 American Black Duck

American Black Duck
American Black Duck

The American black duck is a large, mostly dark-brown dabbling duck.

It has a white face and large, bright yellow bill with a black tip in females but is all black in males.

The legs are blue-gray to greenish-gray on the front of their body and pink or purplish-brown on the backside, they have two orangey-colored lobes at the base of their long toes that help them when feeding underwater.

Their average lifespan can be up to 12 years old.

Male ducks will mate for life if it finds its one true love so you may see pairs together consistently throughout the springtime season from March through June months until they start nesting again in September-October then reattempting reproduction cycles every year thereafter.

13 Tufted Titmouse

Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse

Tufted Titmouse is so common in backyard bird feeders that they have even been spotted eating sunflower seeds. The Tufted Titmouse is a year-round visitor to human homes and has the ability to adapt its diet with different types of food, but it prefers sunflower seeds over any other type.

You can find them by looking for the tuft of fur on their head.

Males and females Tufted Titmouse are similar in appearance, brown with white dots that break up its coloration across the back half of their bodies which is why they get called a “tufty tit” or “tit.”

Their diet consists primarily of seeds such as sunflower kernels and nyjer seed but also insects when it’s available to eat.

The Tufted Titmouse has one clutch per breeding season, usually two eggs at first then three after intervals until about six weeks into incubation where we see an increase in nutrition necessary to produce larger clutches. The father will take care of this responsibility from beginning to end.

14 White-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch

The White-breasted Nuthatch is a small songbird often found in North America, most notably during the winter. It belongs to the nuthatch family and appears across much of temperate regions from Northern Canada down through Mexico with its range as far south as Costa Rica. These birds are near-constant companions within forests where they live throughout their life cycle searching for insects high up on trees.

Following the White-breasted Nuthatch, we have a bird that is less common in Michigan. The Eastern Towhee generally lives around brushy areas and fields where they can find insects to eat during times when food sources are scarce or at night. This songbird hops about on the forest floor frequently looking for prey with its distinctive call sounding like “Chickadee dee dah”. It’s not uncommon to see this species of animal anywhere from Southern Canada all the way down through Mexico but it’s more commonly found as far south as Central America which makes it an unusual sighting here in Michigan.

15 Canada Goose

Canada Goose
Canada Goose

The Canada goose is one of the most beautiful wild geese in North America. They are black-headed, white-cheeked, and brown-bodied with a gorgeous headdress that reflects their dignified nature!

The handsome Canadian Goose has alluring physical features like its glossy feathers as well as an elegant gait to match its grand appearance.

The Canada Goose is a bird that has become recognizable due to its beautiful headdress and elegant nature. The male of the species stands at about three feet tall with a wingspan of five feet while females are around two-and-a-half feet tall and have shorter, more rounded wingspans. Their glossy feathers make them easy to spot in any weather condition but they prefer wetlands or open places near water areas for feeding purposes which means you’re most likely to find these birds in Michigan during periods of high rainfall!

Canada geese mate for life so it’s very rare if one dies before their partner does and when this happens there will be an outpouring among all other members of the community as well as humans who adore this.

16 Chimney Swift

Chimney Swift
Chimney Swift

The chimney swift is a bird that flies at high speeds to catch insects. It can be identified by its black back, white chest, and dark face with light stripes for eyes and mouth. They are closely related to the Vaux’s Swift but their lives differ from those of other birds because they live in unusual environments such as on cliff walls or inside abandoned buildings where there is no natural place for them to nest – they often hang themselves upside down like bats until it’s time again for the flight!

The Chimney Swift does not have any subspecies, nor do you see many hanging around unless it’s a mating season (they mate mid-air). The Chimneyswift has an overall appearance of being grayish-brown with streaks across its back. They may have a reddish-brown color on the underside of their wings, and they often will have white or yellow stripes across their chest.

Their length is between five to six inches long with a wingspan of about two feet wide! The average weight for one adult Chimney Swift during mating season is four ounces which is very small for an animal that spends so much time in the air

17 Cooper’s Hawk

Cooper's Hawk
Cooper’s Hawk

Cooper’s hawk is an iconic bird of the American Southwest. It can be found from southern Canada to Mexico and, like all hawks, its diet consists mainly of small mammals as well as large insects that it swoops down through trees or shrubs after watching them for a long time with sharp eyes.

Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) is native to North America which spans from Southern Canada in the north southward into Central America and eastwards across much of Texas; this medium-sized raptor has been known by many names including “Chaparral Buzzard”. Cooper’s Hawks are mostly grayish-brown in color but they have darker streaks on their breast plumage when seen up close–this helps break up their outline at a distance.

At about 16 inches tall, Cooper’s Hawk is much smaller than the familiar Red-tailed Hawks that soar over North American skies and require perches like telephone poles for soaring hawks to take advantage of updrafts.

Cooper’s hawk has been nicknamed “chaparral buzzard” because it frequents arid scrubland habitats where they hunt small mammals including rodents, snakes, lizards, and insects on foot or in flight as well as from any available perch; this species also sometimes hunts by day which sets them apart from most raptors–most birds of prey are nocturnal hunters.

18 American wigeon

American wigeon
American wigeon

The American wigeon is a bird that can be found in North America as well. It used to belong under the genus Anas, but it has since been reclassified with other ducks of the same species and category; these are called dabbling ducklings or Mareca.

This bird is medium-sized, and it measures 16.75 to 20 inches in length and has a wingspan of 28-31.25 inches It weighs about one pound.

19 Snow goose

Snow goose
Snow goose

For a long time, the snow goose was known to be abundant in North America. In fact, it had been presumed that they were endemic only there – until one day when an ornithologist discovered them much further south than their normal range and noticed how different they looked from what he expected.

He named these rare finds “blue geese” due to the color of their feathers; his assumption being that this particular variation must have originated somewhere near Antarctica where those colors are more common among other species like penguins or petrels.

Snow geese are large, measuring about 36-44 inches in length and 61-81.25 inches in wingspan; they weigh up to 15 pounds. The variations that ornithologists found were indeed bluebirds – the color likely a result of an albino mutation due to malarial parasites killing all pigment cells during development prior to molting their juvenile feathers for adulthood. These particular snow geese live exclusively near Antarctica because it’s too harsh for them even down south where they’re more common than usual: They can’t molt their flight feathers which means they have difficulty flying long distances or keeping warm while on land without these appendages intact (albeit this is what makes them so unique).

20 Ross’s goose

Ross's goose
Ross’s goose

Ross’s goose is a relatively small “white” bird that can be found in North America. They are characterized by black wingtips, short necks and white feathers tipped with dark brown to make them appear almost entirely white on their back. Ross’s geese also grow about 40% smaller than snow geese which look similar but have light gray markings all over their body instead of just on its tailor underbelly as these guys do.

The bird is named after James Robert Ross who was a Scottish naval surgeon and explorer who first discovered these birds in 1848.

This species of a goose can be found living along the shores of Lake Michigan as well as other water regions throughout North America, including Canada’s Great Lakes region. They have been spotted north of Alaska as well!

Ross’s Geese are most active during dawn and dusk when they feed on aquatic vegetation such as duckweed, wild rice, sedge grasses, and algae. This helps them stay warm while away from their body’s natural habitat which is salt or freshwater ponds that they inhabit year-round…

The variety of birds in Michigan is truly astounding. There are over 300 species that live here, and we’ve only covered 20! If you’re interested in birdwatching, or just want to know how to identify the common ones so you can get a good look at them when they fly by your window – this article should be helpful for you. What’s your favorite type of bird? We hope our list helped clear up any confusion about what kind of bird may have flown past while reading this blog post!

Read also about Best 10 Florida Hawks Birds

All birds picture are from CanvaPro

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