The harsh weather of winter is no joke â€“ it’s hard enough on us humans as it is. Life gets even harder for the birds who don’t hibernate or migrate as they search for food sources during the cold season. Thankfully, though, there are plenty of bird-lovers out there willing to share their suet cakes or foods with our feathered friends!
However, if you live in Michigan and are planning to feed winter birds in Michigan, there’re few things you need to know or consider, for example, what can you feed the winter birds in Michigan, why do you need to feed the winter birds, how to put up bird feeding stations during the snowy days, what are the most usual birds in Michigan, and their diet.
Read Also: Feeding Winter Birds In Ohio
What to Feed Winter Birds in Michigan
One of the first things people think about when it comes to winter bird feeding is what they can feed their feathered friends, right?
However, various foods that will keep birds happy and well-fed throughout this time. But, one thing you need to consider while choosing foods for the birds that it needs to have enough protein in it.
Well, according to our observation and experience, we’ve rounded some of the most usual bird foods for the winter season. Those are:
- Nut and Fruit
- Cracked Corn
- Thistle Seed/nyjer
- Sunflower Seed
- Crushed Peanuts
- Fat Ball
- Mixed Seeds
- Bread crumbs
Moreover, there’re some good quality bird foods available at your closeby pet shop. Also, you can bring out homemade kitchen foods for our avian friends.
Furthermore, some foods that are available online to us with high-protein and required vitamins for birds. Those can be an excellent choice too. Here’s our recommended product that is an excellent choice for winter bird feeding.
How to Set Up a Winter Bird Feeding Station in Michigan
Winter feeder needs to be different from the summer or fall. And, some feeders do finer than the others on a snowy day. Therefore, your food station has to equip with one of those. Also, the birds will vary by following your feeders and the offerings in it.
Well, by doing some research and observation, we’ve realized that only five types of feeders are the best for winter in Michigan. Those are:
This feeder is an excellent pick-up for feeding winter birds in Michigan. But, you need to choose the one with a wide tray. It’ll give multiple birds space while taking foods and holding the dispersed foods on your feeder.
Also, a large cover is recommended for the hopper feeders. The ultimate way to load the hopper feeders is the seed (not the milo) and cracked corns. However, this feeder will attract birds like Buntings, Jays Sparrows, Cardinals, Grosbeaks, Titmouse, Chickadees, and Finches.
An excellent choice for a hopper feeder in the backyard, check this one for your food station.
One of our favorite choice during the winter season. It’s overall the best choice for snowy months. The tube feeders are simple to setup, clean, and refill. The most convenient thing about this feeder is that it does not catch much snow/rain if your feeder has a shed.
Consequently, the optimal way to load this feeder is to add corn, peanuts, Sunflower seed, and mixed bird seeds. The typical visitors of tube feeders are: Chickadees, Grosbeaks, house finches, American goldfinches, Sparrows, and lesser goldfinches.
And here’s a good quality tube feeder, you can have your food station. It’s squirrel proof, and the price is low.
This is a good substitute for tube feeders. The attributes are highly similar between these two. Additionally, a thistle feeder has thistles to give spaces to birds for standing while eating foods from the feeder.
Moreover, thistle feeders discourage squirrels from coming into your food station. And the maintenance, cleaning, and refill are simple to do.
So, it’s the fair pick for winter birds feeding in any area. And about filling this feeder, using seeds (specially nyjer) will be a good call. Consequently, the tube feeder will bring visitors Doves Quail, Finches, Towhees, grosbeaks, chickadees, titmice, Jays, and Sparrows.
Good quality at low price thistle feeder, check this one.
Ground feeders are a low-maintenance way to attract many types of birds. Ground feeding is perfect for areas that experience heavy snowfall or other weather conditions because it doesn’t require much upkeep, making this an ideal wintertime birding spot!
Many small birds are also frequent to this feeder, such as robins and cardinals, etc. But you’ll find more than just songbirds at your foods station’s aisle; sparrows, towhees (American Robin), juncos (Rose-Breasted Grosbeak), goldfinches – even mammals like Mourning Dove will be visiting this feeder.
However, if you’re searching for a ground feeder, here’s our best choice for this type of bird feeder for winter in Michigan.
A suitable bird feeder for your food station for the avians that won’t go for seeds. Woodpecker prefers suet in the food station. Moreover, squirrels can frequently visit a suet feeder. Therefore, you’ll need some sort of protection to keep them away.
Also, suet needs shade from the heat and daylight. To bring more visitors, you can add peanuts and mealworms to a suet feeder. Some feeders have additional rooms for adding other foods.
However, the common guest to a suet feeder are woodpeckers, kinglets, Cardinals, Chickadees, creepers, some warblers, jays, Wrens, starlings, and Nuthatches.
This will be a great choice if you’re looking for a suet feeder to add to the food station.
An important thing most bird lovers forget while putting up the feeder in winter, having a birdbath beside the feeder. Otherwise, avian have to go to another location, looking for water while eating.
If you need a birdbath, here’s our recommendation that is environment-friendly and won’t get rusty.
Consequently, heater is essential to keep the water normal and drinkable on snowy days in Michigan. And here’s our suggested heater you can use to keep your birdbath going.
Why Feeding Winter Birds in Michigan
If you’re from Michigan, you already know that the winter turns the environment arid and lowers the water and food are scanty for the feathered species. So, they face a hard time meeting their requirements. And the winter in Michigan isn’t different.
In Michigan, the cold season is pretty tough too. The below graph shows that the typical winter temperature for January in Michigan is 16.3Â°F, which is the lowest for a year in Michigan.
In addition, the normal high temperature in Michigan in January month is 27 Â°F. Therefore, you can tell this isn’t a very friendly environment for our avian friends.
Also, if you look at the typical snowfall per day in Michigan, it’s pretty high comparing many other states. The January month has the maximum highest snowfall rate of 12.3″. From October to May, the snowfall continuous here. And December, January, and February have the highest snowfall rate.
Even though a mature bird can live about 24 to 72 hours without eating and drinking anything, it can be achieved through the reduction of movement or activity to the lowest at that time. Also, a new spawned bird facing the winter will face trouble finding the appropriate food or water sources.
Above all, the main reason we feed birds in Michigan during the winter is the satisfaction, joy, and happiness of our souls. And they brighten up our day in those cold, snowy days by their presence.
What Are the Most Common Winter Birds in Michigan?
The prior table shows the name of the winter birds in Michigan that are most usual. The table presents the information of the percent of the sites visited by a bird at a particular time in the (2020-21) year.
However, there’re a lot of birds you’ll encounter during the winter season. But here, we presented the 10 most typical or usual winter birds in Michigan. However, you may find or face Carolina Wren, Hairy Woodpecker, House Finch, House Sparrow, American Crow, Robin, American Tree Sparrow, etc. too.
Here we’ve discussed the 10 typical winter birds of the Michigan, their habitat, diet, and how to attract them.
1. Black-capped Chickadee:
It’s the most typical bird in Michigan during the winter. It’s called the Black-Capped Chickadee. This bird species is a small songbird that is non-migratory and comes from the family of Paridae. They prefer living in North American territory.
A black-capped chickadee’s identical features are a bib that is along with a black cap and white sides. It has white under parts and pale brown on its sides with a grey tail. Also, the beak is dark and short of the back-capped.
This species can grow about 16 cm in length with about 15 g. of weight.
Black-Capped Chickadee lives in the diluted and deciduous forests areas. Its diet consists of seeds, berries, insects, and invertebrates they can find. But, to bring them to your backyard bird feeder, provide seeds, peanuts, and suet.
From our research, this is one of the best products to bring more black-capped chickadee into the food station.
2. Downy Woodpecker:
Downy Woodpecker is the smallest North American woodpecker species you’ll see. It’s also a regular winter bird in many states of America. This lively bunch is most widespread throughout the North American territory and visits towns and city parks, also to your feeder.
This species can be found in river groves, willows, forests, woodlots, shade trees, and suburban yards. But, the deciduous trees in those locations are the commonplace to find them.
Downy Woodpecker’s features are black wings, tail, and upper parts are common. Their belly and throat have visible white spotting. And, the usual length of downy is about 18 cm, with around 33 g. of weight.
Also, the sizeable furry feather pattern is the identical beauty of the Downy Woodpeckers. This woodpecker species feeds on various insects like caterpillars, beetles, ants, gall wasps, and others, besides the seeds and berries.
If you want to attract more of the Downies to your feeder, try suet, seeds, worms, and berries for better results. And, here’s an excellent food to feed the D. Woodpeckers.
3. White-breasted Nuthatch:
The third most common Michigan winter bird. It’s the mini songbird off the family of Nuthatch species. White-breasted Nuthatch is typical in the tropical areas of North American territories.
This Nuthatch species’ identical features are- white chest, face, and cap, and flanks are black. And the blue-gray upper parts with a brown lower part of the body. And it has a strong bill, stocky, large head, and a short tail.
Their diet consists of insects, tree branches, and tree trunks. The white-breasted spends a lot of time foraging in nature. But, different seeds consist of a large portion of their diet. And, it’s a usual quest in the feeders with seeds, peanut, and suet in them.
Do you want more White-breasted Nuthatch in your food station, try this food.
4. Dark-eyed Junco:
It’s a mini and gray species of the family of Junco. Also, the Dark-Eyed Junco is a relative of the new world sparrow. Moreover, they both are connected to fox sparrow species. They prefer living in the tropical parts of North American territory and the Arctic during the summer season.
A mature dark-eyed junco has white bellies, breasts, gray heads, and necks. And has gray or brown wings. This species has a weight of 28 g with a maximum of 18 centimeters in length.
Their main diet consists of insects and seeds. But, to increase the dark-eyed Juncos at your food station, use millet, cracked corns, and mixed birdseeds.
Consequently, If you happen to look for bird food to attract the highest number of Junco on your feeder, use this product.
5. Northern Cardinal:
Northern Cardinal is a typical winter bird not in Michigan but also in the whole United States. They’re also a very frequent guest of your food station. And can be found in Canada, Eastern USA, Mexico, and Hawaii.
It’s relatively a large bird species from other songbirds. Northern Cardinal is an average-sized bird with a saucy tuft on its head and a long tail. They can reach about 8.3 to 9.2 In. in length with about 60 g. of weight.
The female has a faint color from the male cardinals. And the males have black masks, and the females have silvery on their faces. Moreover, the males are a vivid red with black wings.
The Northern Cardinal preferred living areas are a place with a garden in it, shrub lands, wetlands, and woodland regions. It mainly eats fruits, seeds, weeds, and grains.
Moreover, the Cardinals prefer different seeds like sunflower, large ones, and safflower. And a ground feeder is the best choice for them.
However, if you want to increase the presence of Northern Cardinals in your feeder, use various seeds.
To attract more of N.C.s to your food station, you can try this bird food.
6. Red-bellied Woodpecker:
The Red-bellied are from the Picidae family of Woodpecker. And they’re frequent in eastern USA, Florida, and some places in Canada. It’s a typical bird in most other states as well.
The features of Red-bellied woodpeckers include- murky bellies with adjacent feathers that are usual for males. And the eminent red plumage on the head that can be visible from its belly.
They’re related to the redhead woodpecker species. But, the differences are noticeable. The red-bellied Woodpecker has black and white patterns on the back, which is more notable than the redhead woodpeckers.
The Red-bellied Woodpecker’s usual length can be around 20- to 28 cm with 90 g. of weight. And they like to nest in dead trees. They eat beetles and insects besides different plant matters.
Consequently, use nuts, seeds, and quality commercial food to attract red-bellies. And our recommendation lies with this food, for attracting more of them.
7. American Goldfinch:
American Goldfinch is a mini/small bird from the North America. They usually migrate to Alberta, North Carolina, part of the Mexico and Canada-US border. The rest of them remains scattered throughout the country.
The male American Goldfinch has olive color in winter and turns vivid yellow in the summer. And, female Goldfinch’s light yellow-brown color brightens up a little than the winter.
The American Goldfinch lives in open country areas with deep meadows and weeds. And their diet consists highly of vegetation. They eat small trees, seeds of sunflower, buds, and plants, etc.
Consequently, if you want to attract American Goldfinch to your backyard, apply various small seeds in the feeder.
We have found an excellent product that can help you to increase their presence. Check it here.
8. Mourning Dove:
Mourning Dove’s other names are- American Dove, rain dove, and turtle dove. They’re from the family of Dove bird species. This bird species are one of the highest and abundant birds in North America. And Mourning Dove is a well-known leading gamebird throughout the USA.
This Dove has mild brown and pale grey colors. Besides, no identifiable differences between female and male doves. Moreover, the mourning dove can grow around 26-33 centimeters in length and go at 75-92 km/h.
The Mourning Dove’s 95% diet includes different seeds. They also eat berries, grass, herbs, weeds, and plant matters occasionally. To attract more of them to your food station, load the feeder with mixed birdseeds.
In addition to those, the Mourning doves’ presence will improve if you put this bird food in your backyard food station.
9. Blue Jay:
It’s a passerine winter bird throughout the USA. The Blue Jay is native to central and eastern USA, sometimes in Canada. And this species is part of the Corvida family of birds.
The Blue Jay’s identical features are a blue with a white lower part and chest. And a U-shaped collar that is black around the neck. However, the blue is visible on its body. The Blue Jay can be long around 26 cm, with a 3.5 oz. of weight.
This bird species lives in residential areas. And for breeding, Blue Jay prefers coniferous and deciduous forests. Their wild diet consists of insects, acorns, seeds, and nuts.
Therefore, to attract them to your feeder, use suet, corn, and seeds in the feeder. However, as per our experiment and observation, we recommend this food for Blue jay.
10. Tufted Titmouse:
It’s a little songbird species of the family of the chickadee. The tufted titmouse is also called as Black-Crested. This species lives in the South and Middle Texas and some parts of the USA.
Tufted Titmouse can grow about 15 cm in length. And this bird chose for living in the areas with scrublands, woods, gardens, and parks.
This bird’s identical feature is a gray color with large black eyes compare to its head. They’re small in length with round bills. The Tufted Titmouse is a typical guest in the winter bird feeders.
They eat bugs, insects, and seeds in the wild. But, the insects are the primary food source of Tufted Titmouse in nature. However, if you want to attract them to your food station, employ seeds and peanuts.
Consequently, the Tufted Titmouse can’t oppose this food if you put it in the feeder.
Feeding winter birds in Michigan or any other state is a great way to help our avian friends in a hard time. Birds can survive their own, but our little effort can make their life easier in cold winter.
You can feed them seeds, worms, suet, peanut, corn, and many more. But, you have to remember, the birds in your feeder will vary according to your feeder and foods. So, choose the right feeder with good food.
However, the common birds you may see in Michigan during the winter are- Black-capped Chickadee, Downy Woodpecker, White-breasted Nuthatch, Dark-eyed Junco, Northern Cardinal, Red-bellied Woodpecker, American Goldfinch, Mourning Dove, Blue Jay, and Tufted Titmouse.
- Photo by Lucas Pezeta from Pexels