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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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Bird of the Week: American Crow

  • October 28, 2020

As Halloween approaches, our thoughts turn to the spookier animals around us and for some that includes the American Crow. Several things about crows make them one of the perfect Halloween animals. Crows are all black in color and their harsh grating caw is not known for its beauty. When driving, people often see crows eating roadkill, which adds to their macabre demeanor. In reality, carrion makes up only a small part of the crow’s diet. Even the name for…

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Bird of the Week: Pileated Woodpecker

  • October 21, 2020

Imagine walking through the woods of the Metroparks…wind rustling the branches and leaves, birds singing and insects buzzing. As you look down the trail you see a hole in tree the size of a coke can. While some may think nothing of it, others hope it’s a sign of a bird that was once a rare sight in southeast Michigan…the Pileated Woodpecker. With black and white stripes along its neck and bright red crest, this bird is nothing short of…

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Bird of the Week: Turkey Vulture

  • October 14, 2020

With a 5-and-a-half-foot wingspan, it’s easy to mistake a turkey vulture for other, more regal raptors. While you may be disappointed when your eagle turns out to be a vulture, make no mistake that this balding buzzard is still a spectacular species. The best clues to knowing the bird you’re watching is a turkey vulture are the wobbly circles they fly in, the white undersides of their wings, and finger-like feathers at their wingtips. If you look close enough, you…

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Bird of the Week: Cooper’s Hawk

  • October 7, 2020

This common woodland hawk can be found in the lower half of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula year-round, and some may migrate farther north into the Upper Peninsula during the summer months. Cooper’s hawks are similar to sharp-shinned hawks in coloration with a grey back and dark bands on their tails but can be distinguished by their larger size and rounded tail feathers, rather than a squared-off tail. These stealthy predators eat smaller mammals and birds, often catching feeder birds off-guard. They…

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Bird of the Week: Belted Kingfisher

  • September 30, 2020

The Belted Kingfisher is often first noticed by its rattling call as it flies over rivers or lakes. It may be seen perched on a high branch, or hovering over the water rapidly beating its wings, then plunging in headfirst to grab a fish. This bird can be found throughout the Metroparks near water. The Belted Kingfisher is one of the only birds where the female is more brightly colored than the male. Both sexes have a blue band across…

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Bird of the Week: Great Horned Owl

  • September 23, 2020

This stealthy predator is at the top of the food chain. The Great Horned Owl’s wing structure allows it to silently sneak up on prey and deal a deadly blow with the force of their talons. Their adaptability to different habitats and large range of prey makes them one of the most common owl species in North America. This explains the common use of their appearance and call in the media. Their large, round body with two tufts, yellow eyes,…

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