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Bird of the Week: Snowy Owl

  • January 6, 2021

The Snowy Owl is an exciting owl to spot during our Michigan winters. This white and tuft-less owl primarily lives and breeds in the arctic tundra of Canada. When migrating south for the winter, their southern range doesn’t extend much further than southern Michigan. In fact, typically only immature birds fly this far south. Adults tend to stay closer to their breeding grounds during migration. Due to this, only one to three dozen are spotted each year in the state…

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Bird of the Week: Tufted Titmouse

  • December 30, 2020

The Tufted Titmouse is a bird you may have seen come and go from your bird feeder. During the warmer months its diet is mostly insects. This species’ range is moving further North and the titmouse can now be found year-round in Southern Michigan. What makes the Tufted Titmouse stand out is their pointed crest (like a Cardinal, but smaller) and the dark black patch above their stout dark bill. Their back is a silvery gray, while their chest is…

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Bird of the Week: White-breasted Nuthatch

  • December 23, 2020

“Ank, ank, ank” The White-breasted Nuthatch can often be heard before they are seen. Their call is often to communicate with other birds. In essence, “I’m over here, where are you?” The best time to see these birds is winter. Nuthatches travel in mixed flocks of Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, and Downy Woodpeckers. While everybody will be wearing their formal black and gray suits, the Nuthatch will stand out by coming down the tree head first! This different view lets Nuthatches…

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Bird of the Week: Black-capped Chickadee

  • December 15, 2020

You can find the Black-capped Chickadee year-round in Michigan. It is identified by its large round head with a smaller body. The Chickadee is easily recognized by its coloration- a black bib (throat area), beak and head, with white cheeks. It’s wings and backside are gray in color while the chest is white. Chickadee calls are very identifiable since they are calling out their name, “chickadee-dee-dee”. If you hear more “dee” notes, this is their warning call and there is…

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Bird of the Week: Downy Woodpecker

  • December 9, 2020

This petite bird with black wings and a white belly is not only the smallest woodpecker in North America, but also one of the most common at backyard birdfeeders. Males can be differentiated from females by looking for the red patch on the male’s head. To maintain “safety in numbers”, they often form mixed flocks in the winter with black-capped chickadees and white-breasted nuthatches, reducing chances for predation. At slightly larger than six inches long, their small weight and size…

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Bird of the Week: Dark-Eyed Junco

  • December 2, 2020

Look on the ground under any bird feeder this time of year and you are apt to spot a Dark-Eyed Junco. These members of the sparrow family are ground feeding seed eaters in the winter but eat insects during the breeding season. Juncos are “snowbirds” in our area, appearing as winter sets in and heading northward to nesting habitat in the spring. Typically, there is a hierarchy or pecking order within a flock of juncos, with the earlier migrants ranking…

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Bird of the Week: Wild Turkey

  • November 25, 2020

Listen for the characteristic sound of gobbling and you may be led to a group of male turkeys performing impressive courtship displays. Completely different from the dull looking females, male turkeys have bright, colorful feathers as well as a "beard" of course feathers coming from its chest. The head and neck of a male turkey is colored red, white and blue and can change color with the turkey's mood. Despite their large size, turkeys can fly up to a mile…

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Bird of the Week: Golden Eagle

  • November 18, 2020

There’s Golden Eagles in Michigan…? Yes! There are two times when Golden Eagles can be seen in the state. Now during the fall migration and again during the spring migration. Late October to mid-November is the best time to see Golden Eagles during the fall migration. These birds are one of the last raptor species to migrate over our area. The Golden Eagles that migrate over Michigan are heading south to states like Kentucky and Tennessee. It’s important to remember…

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Bird of the Week: Barred Owl

  • November 11, 2020

As you walk through a swampy forest, you may hear an odd question echoing through the trees. “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for y’aaaall?” Start thinking about that snack you’ve been carrying around or start looking for an owl that’s slightly smaller than a Great Horned Owl. If you listen carefully, the Barred Owl can be heard before the sun sets. If it’s a good territory, you may be able to visit that spot again and again to hear…

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Bird of the Week: Red-bellied Woodpecker

  • November 4, 2020

A flash of red, white and black may have you on the lookout among the trees. Red-bellied woodpeckers have red feathers atop their heads that run down the back of their neck, a white to tan chest, and zebra-like pattern on their wings and backsides. This woodpecker species is named not for its bright red head, but for the hard to spot hint of red on its belly. Often found along tree trunks and large branches, they forage mainly for…

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