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Bird of the Week: Common Yellowthroat

  • July 14, 2020

Watch for a small flash of black and yellow in short shrubs or low tree branches for a chance to see the Common Yellowthroat. This warbler species is commonly seen throughout Michigan marshes, prairies, forests, and backyards from May to the end of September, when it migrates to the southern United States and South America for the winter. Adult males have a bright yellow throat and a distinctive black face mask, while females are olive brown in order to camouflage…

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Bird of the Week: Barn Swallow

  • July 14, 2020

Barn Swallows are the most abundant swallow species in the world, and you can see them in Michigan during the late spring and summer months. You’ll find these agile flyers over open water, fields and meadows feeding on insects. Their speed and maneuverability while in flight is both graceful and awesome. Colors of cobalt blue and copper flash and glisten as these aerial acrobats easily move around each other, boardwalks, trees and even people! What sets Barn Swallows apart from…

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Bird of the Week: Killdeer

  • July 9, 2020

Though classified as a shorebird, this lanky-legged bird makes its summer home in fields, lawns, on golf courses and even parking lots. This migrant species has adapted well to human environments. Killdeer are ground-nesters and a male will choose a nesting site by scraping the ground into a bowl shape with his feet. Once eggs are laid in this barren area, killdeer will add vegetation and stones for material as time goes on. Killdeer parents both help in nest building,…

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Bird of the Week: Bald Eagle

  • June 2, 2020

In honor of the upcoming Independence Day we are featuring, you guessed it, the Bald Eagle!  This #BirdoftheWeek was chosen as the symbol of the United States in 1782 for its strength, longevity and majestic appearance, which represents the strength and freedom of our nation. Benjamin Franklin argued against our nation’s symbol, because the eagle steals food from more vulnerable birds- not exactly majestic or honorable. The Bald Eagle can be easily identified by its stark white head and tail…

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Bird of the Week: Green Heron

  • June 2, 2020

The Green Heron is our featured #BirdoftheWeek.  With its squat posture, shaggy crest and glossy greenish back, this small heron is a sight to behold.  In April, the male Green Heron arrives to their northern breeding grounds and establishes nesting territory in a swampy patch or in a forest near water. A super cool fact about the Green Heron is they are one of the few bird species known to use tools! These birds often create fishing lures with bread…

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Bird of the Week: Eastern Screech Owl

  • June 2, 2020

At night at your Metroparks are active with many birds.  This week’s #BirdoftheWeek is the Eastern Screech Owl.  These small, stocky owls are most active at night.  They are not often seen but can be heard; listen for their distinct sound of a descending whinny and longer trill.  The Eastern Screech Owl has a large head and no neck and yellow eyes.  Its color varies from gray to a bright reddish-brown, allowing them to blend right into their surroundings, the…

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Bird of the Week: Tree Swallow

  • June 1, 2020

As you drive through your Metroparks, look for the iridescent blue head and upper body and all white underside of the Tree Swallow.  They are often found perching on roadside nest boxes. Although these nest boxes are intended to provide nesting habitat for the Eastern Bluebird, species like the Tree Swallow use nest boxes as well. The boxes are usually set in pairs, one for Bluebirds and one for the Tree Swallows. Neither bird species likes to nest too close…

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Bird of the Week: Mute Swan

  • June 1, 2020

The Mute swan is often seen gliding gracefully on the waters throughout your Metroparks.  When swimming, these large white birds hold their wings above their back and curve their neck into a S-shape. Contrary to their name, these swans do grunt and hiss. Mute swans were introduced to North America from Europe in the 1800’s.  Considered an invaisive species, Mute swans have orange bills, while the native swans, Trumpeter and Tundra, have black bills. Mute swans often displace other waterfowl…

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Bird of the Week: American Woodcock

  • May 27, 2020

In early spring a small, round, shorebird begins to call. It’s a shorebird you will not find along a lake or river shore. The male American Woodcock chooses grassy clearings, such as fields and forest openings. At dawn and dust, you can venture to these special habitats to witness the aerial displays and calls, or “peents”, of these unique birds. At the beginning of the video, listen for the quiet chirping whistle that gets louder, then disappears. There is a…

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Bird of the Week: Great Blue Heron

  • May 20, 2020

Stalking the shallow waters of the Metroparks, the Great Blue Heron is an expert fisher. Standing statue-like they will look for aquatic prey in the water, on a sunny day you may see one spread out their large wings to block the sun's reflection on the water. The s-shape and special vertebrae in their neck allow them to quickly strike and stab their prey with their spear-like bill. Despite their large size, they only weigh about 5 to 6 pounds…

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