How Many Species of Hummingbirds are There in Michigan?

Do we only have the one kind of hummingbird in Michigan? Tom~ Albion, MI

Actually five species of hummingbirds have been sighted in Michigan. The most common hummingbird at Michigan feeders and gardens from April until October is the Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Ruby-throated get their name from the male's ruby-red feathers on the throat. The Ruby-throated male also has a forked tail that is not found generally on any of the other species of hummingbirds in Michigan. Both male and female have emerald colored backs and the female's neck and breast is white.

Although seen rarely, the other hummingbird species that have been sighted in Michigan are the Rufous Hummingbird, the Broad-billed Hummingbird, the Green Violet-eared Hummingbird and the White-eared Hummingbird.

To attract hummingbirds you can use a feeder filled with sugar water. I talked earlier about the best hummingbirds feeders HERE.

You can also enhance your garden. Just a few of the flowers that hummingbirds like are:

  • Bleeding heart
  • Cardinal Flower
  • Columbine
  • Coral Bells
  • Daylily
  • Delphinium
  • Foxglove
  • Fuchsia
  • Hollyhocks
  • Hosta
  • Honeysuckle
  • Larkspur
  • Lilac
  • Mint
  • Milkweed, Butterfly
  • Monarda
  • Morning Glory
  • Obedient plant
  • Sage
  • Salvia
  • Snapdragon

War Pigeon Remembered

Memorial Day represents one day of national awareness and reverence, honoring those Americans who died while defending our Nation and its values. While we should honor these heroes every day for the profound contribution they have made in securing our Nation's freedom, we should honor them especially on Memorial Day.

As this is mainly a bird blog, I thought I would also remind people of the role of the selectively bred Rock Pigeons (Columba livia) during World War I and II. Also called the Domestic Pigeon, Homing Pigeon and Rock Dove, the United States Army Pigeon Service or Signal Pigeon Corps was a unit of the United States Army assigned to train the birds for communication.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia writes: “During WWII, the force consisted of 3,150 soldiers and 54,000 war pigeons, which were considered an undetectable method of communication. Over 90% of US Army messages sent by pigeons were received. The pigeon G.I. Joe received the Dickin Medal for gallantry that saved at least 1,000 lives.From 1917 until 1957, the US Army Pigeon Breeding and Training Center was based at Fort Monmouth, N.J. The US Army discontinued using pigeons as message carriers in 1957.”
Watch the video at:

After the war GI Joe was sent to the Detroit Zoological Gardens where he died at the age of eighteen. For more information on the use of the domesticated Rock Pigeon from over 3000 years ago to today, go to Wikipedia Homing pigeon:

An Ugly Duckling?

The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Andersen portrayed a cygnet to be ugly compared to little ducklings. That's hard to believe with this little guy.
The Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) is native to much of Europe and Asia and was introduced to eastern North America in the mid-1800s to adorn estates and city parks.
They can be aggressive toward native species and there is a concern about the negative impact on Michigan's Common Loons and Trumpeter Swans.
The swans are generally silent or "mute". However they may hiss or make hoarse barking notes and their loud wingbeats can be heard from up to a half mile away.
The phrase swan song refers to the Mute Swan. Legends say that the bird is utterly silent until the last moment of its life, and then sings one achingly beautiful song just before dying.

One Hot Cardinal!

We’ve had a couple days without rain in mid-Michigan but now it’s full sun and hot! An open mouth is one sign that a bird might be overheating and working to lower its body temperature.

Birds lack sweat glands, so they pant like dogs instead of sweat like people. By opening its mouth a bird increases the airflow and causes more moisture to evaporate and cool their body.

When the temperature is in the 90's, a bird’s body may start to overheat. Birds give off excess body heat through their unfeathered legs and can ruffle their body feathers so hot air close to the skin can escape. A bird will also pant, travel less, find a shady spot, or seek water to reduce its body temperature.

In this heat a refreshing dip in a birdbath is very effective in lowering their body temperature and rehydrating their body to beat the heat.
You will also significantly increase the number of birds visiting your yard by providing bird baths, drippers, and misters. Wild Birds Unlimited has a wide variety of baths to choose from. Birdbaths come in many shapes, sizes and materials. They can be placed on the ground, mounted on a pedestal or hung. If you have any questions come in to the store and we can help you find the best bath for your yard.

A Bird Feeder Made From Human Ash.

Artist Nadine Jarvis uses human ash and bird food to make a bird feeder. The person is reincarnated through the life of the bird.

The Bird Feeders are available in two constructions: one being a solid casting of bird food, beeswax and ashes, and the other, rotationally molded with the ashes held inside.

Over time birds land on the perch (inscribed with the deceased name) and slowly eats the feeder, completing a rather disturbing circle of life.
After the feeder has completely disintegrated, the perch containing information about the deceased is the only thing left and becomes a keepsake.

More information can be found at: 16 Creative Bird Feeder Designs

Insight into the Flight of Butterflies

This is the first model that replicates the same size, shape and weight of a butterfly exactly. Researchers discovered immediately that the veins in butterflies' wings create more lift. Recreating the flight of the butterfly will help scientists study the flight mechanisms of butterflies in more detail.

For the complete article go to NewScientist Tech:

Hey Baby, Baby: Red Admiral Butterfly Finds a Girlfriend

Hey, I was just in your store and bought that beautiful red ceramic birdbath. Before I had a chance to fill it up this wonderful butterfly descended. Now I'm wondering if I should just leave the bath empty? What do you think? Do you know what you call these butterflies? Thanks, Connie

It looks like you have attracted a Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta). You can tell by the distinctive reddish orange forewing band. Red Admirals are named after the red chevrons on a naval uniform.

They are a seasonal colonist in Michigan. The population fluctuates considerably from year to year. This appears to be a good year. I've had lots of customers asking question about them.

Mature Red Admirals tend to feed on fermenting fruits, sap from trees and flower nectar. If you want to make your birdbath into a butterfly feeder you can soak a sponge in hummingbird nectar and place it in the bath.

Red Admirals are considered to be people-friendly butterflies that will approach and perch on human beings. But I think it would be alright to shoo the butterfly to another perch and fill the bird bath with water.

Source: Butterflies of Michigan by Jaret C. Daniels

Fledglings Find Their Way

I was watching a baby robin running around and now it's sitting on a short fence. It looks like it's way too young to be off the nest. Is there anything I should do?

"Good parents give their children Roots and Wings." --Jonas Salk

It sounds like your little robin is coming right along.
When American Robins first leave the nest they can't fly. They are nurtured in their nest until they are about 2 weeks old. Then their parents begin a 2 week basic training course to teach their offspring to hop, sleep on sheltered branches at night, forage for food, and learn how to fly.

Baby robins are very vulnerable before they can fly. To help ensure that the baby robins in your yard are safe, keep cats indoors and don't use unnecessary pesticides in the lawn and garden.

It's a big world out there and it’s amazing how quickly these young birds learn to be independent.

If you're not sure call for help before you do anything. For a list of licensed rehabilitators click HERE.
Or visit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources at:

How do I get rid of mold in my hummingbird feeder?

Yikes mold is very bad in hummingbird feeders. Remember to change the nectar in your feeder every 2-4 days, regardless of whether the nectar has been used. In this hot, humid weather you might even have to change the nectar every other day.

I find the more often I change the nectar the easier it is to maintain the feeder. You won't be battling any black mold and you'll have a lot more hummingbirds and orioles.

I usually just rinse the feeder with hot water. To clean the hard to reach places you can use a pipe cleaner or we have special little brushes for cleaning feeders at Wild Birds Unlimited.

Now that we are in the hot and humid weather, you should soak the hummingbird feeder for about 5 minutes in a Scoot, active enzyme cleaner once a week. Or use a one part vinegar to nine parts water solution to clean the feeders. Then rinse your feeders thoroughly.

Also make sure your nectar solution is the proper proportion.
Nectar (sugar water) recipe
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1 cup water

How Do Cowbirds Learn to Sing?

The Brown-Headed Cowbird is common throughout North America. The male brown-headed cowbird is glossy black with a contrasting dark brown head, while the females are dull grayish brown. A female cowbird can have several mates but instead of nesting, will lay her eggs in the nests of other bird species which foster the babies.

Studies have shown that the cowbirds don’t just drop an egg and move on. The females occasionally check in on the little bundles they’ve left behind. If the egg has been removed by the bird family, the female cowbird may go in and destroy the whole nest which results in the start of another batch of eggs being laid. The cowbird can then try to slip another egg into the nest.

Brown-headed Cowbird females lay around 35 eggs in a season. They have been documented to drop eggs in the nests of at least 220 host species, including hummingbirds and raptors. Sometimes the young cowbird is fed by the host parents at the expense of their own young. Sometimes the cowbird can't survive in families that don't eat bugs like the vegetarian finches.

If the foster family is successful in raising the cowbird, they will start out with the basic baby call of “feed me, feed me”, but they inherit a basic unstructured song. Once they are old enough to forage on their own they join up with other cowbirds and complete their final songs.

Most birds raised in captivity that never hear the songs of their parents learn a different song with some inherited components. For more information National Wildlife Federation has a complete article on bird song and Nova Science Now has a short video on how birds learn to speak.


Warbler Week

Blackpoll Warblers arrived on Monday this week and I was able to get a picture of both a male and female. Male blackpolls (top photo) are one of those species that look extremely different in spring and fall. He is beautifully adorned with an extensive black cap and black streaking on its breast in spring but after molting resembles his female counterpart in fall (dull-colored second year female in bottom photo).

Here is a comparison photo of two older adult male/female blackpolls posing nicely for their picture in spring.

Sometimes I’m lucky and capture two birds of the same sex and species but different ages so I can do a side-by-side comparison. Below are two male Yellow Warblers caught on Tuesday. The bird on the left is a second year male (born last year) and the more brilliantly colored male on the right is an older bird.

Additional warbler species captured this week were Black-throated Green Warblers, one of our smaller warblers. There were quite a few around on Monday as I could hear males singing their distinctive songs, “trees, trees, murmuring trees,” or “zee-zee-zee-zoo-zee!!!”

Monday and Saturday were the two best days of the week for numbers and diversity. I banded 4 Ruby-throated hummingbirds on Monday, quite a few considering we typically only get 1 or 2  in the nets for the whole spring season. Two groups of school children had the opportunity to see one of them up close. I had a nice male showing off his gorgeous red gorget.

Flycatchers can pose a challenge for bird banders. There are quite a few varieties that resemble each other. We take numerous measurements, comparing different flight feathers including length and shape, leg color, and body plumage color before we make our determination. Monday I was delighted to capture this Traill’s Flycatcher.

In reviewing these photographs I’m noticing while the birds are lovely, my manicure habits leave something to be desired! Oh well, as an “outdoorsy” type of gal, unfortunately my nails are the last thing I think of, so I must apologize. Focus on the birds please!

We have a table set up on the island where we spend the morning processing birds we capture. On Monday I returned to the table after a net run and my banding dog, Gracie, became quite agitated and barked at something in a tree. When I looked up I saw a Turkey Vulture quite close to us. It’s not often one is able to get close to these birds and the few times I have I’m always amazed at how really big they are! Its massive wings were evident when it took off. I thought it was odd to be there, but didn’t think too much about it again until the next day. Ooo-eeee, what a smell!! I’m thinking dead deer. Actually I’m hoping dead deer and not something more sinister. The vegetation is so thick that it was impossible to look for the source. It was not a pleasant day trying to process the birds on Tuesday, but I did see two vultures circling overhead .Wednesday was a rainy day with no banding. By the time I returned on Thursday the smell had disappeared. The scavengers thankfully did their job!

Speaking of Gracie, you can learn more about her duties on my website: Gracie’s been banding with me since she was a pup. Her favorite bird is, take a guess, catbird! She really has no interest in other birds. Here she is intently watching bander Gretchen Putonen weighing a catbird.

The highlight of the week has to be a bird I’ve been waiting a long time to band. This primarily southern warbler showed up in the nets on Saturday. I was so thankful I had Gretchen with me to share this special bird. A KENTUCKY WARBLER!!

Thanks very much to Gretchen Putonen and Judith Bruce for helping with banding this week. The following birds were seen, heard, and/or captured from 17-23 May. Numbers reflect captured birds only:

Total birds: 195    Total captured species: 18   Birds/100 net-hours: 25
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Canada Goose
American Black Duck
Turkey Vulture
Red-tailed Hawk
Northern Bobwhite
Black-bellied Plover
Greater Yellowlegs
Ruddy Turnstone
American Woodcock
Laughing Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Common Tern
Mourning Dove
Ruby-throated Hummingbird- 4
Belted Kingfisher
Downy Woodpecker
Yellow-shafted Flicker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Traill's Flycatcher-1
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Blue Jay- 1
American Crow
Fish Crow
Black-capped Chickadee- 10
Tufted Titmouse
Carolina Wren- 2
American Robin
Gray Catbird- 54
Cedar Waxwing
European Starling
Yellow Warbler- 6
Magnolia Warbler- 7
Black-throated Green Warbler- 2
Pine Warbler
Prairie Warbler- 5
Blackpoll Warbler- 3
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Kentucky Warbler- 1
Common Yellowthroat- 53
Canada Warbler- 1
Northern Cardinal- 4
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow- 1
Song Sparrow- 10
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
American Goldfinch- 30
House Sparrow

Is it too late to put up a birdhouse?

It's never too late to put up nest boxes! Bluebirds and other cavity nesting birds typically have more than one brood per season and can switch to a new site for their second or third brood.
Or if their first nesting is unsuccessful, perhaps due to predators, the birds may look for a better nest box.
You can put houses up year round, actually. Some birds will use nest boxes as roosting sites in the winter. So you may have missed the first batch, but are just in time for the second or third!

Amazing Vocals of the Barred Owl

Could you please tell me what type of owl is this? I saw it while mushroom hunting. Thanks,
--Bryon Kavanagh Lansing, MI

I’m glad you had a camera. You’ve captured a very nice picture of a Barred Owl (Strix varia). This owl resides all over the entire state of Michigan, but its numbers are declining in the Lower Peninsula due to destruction of deciduous woodlands.

The Barred Owl has big beautiful brown eyes instead of the usual yellow eyes common in other owl species. They have horizontal barring around the neck and upper breast and vertical stripes below.

You may recognize their call. It's a resounding "hoo, hoo, too-HOO; hoo, hoo, too-HOO, ooo", often phrased as "Who, cooks, for-you Who, cooks, for-you, all" with the last syllable dropping off noticeably.

The birds usually hunt at night for smaller animals like voles, mice, and shrews. A bird seen during the day may be looking for extra food for babies.

After digesting their most recent meal, owls will form a pellet of the undigested remains of their prey and regurgitate it. Made up primarily of fur, feathers and bones, it is egested approximately 13-16 hours after eating.

So when you’re mushroom hunting keep an eye open for owl pellets. They are found in different locations, depending on the species but in general, it’s near their nesting sites.

You can also go to to watch the Wild Birds Unlimited owl box cam. Thanks for writing.

Yes I figured it was out hunting for young because I know owls are primarily nocturnal, later we found the nest w chicks a few 100 meters away. Here are some pics. This was near Kalkaska/Grayling area.

Wow, thanks for the update! They are just too cute. I'm glad you shared your photos.

Common Bird House Problems

How to Keep Sparrows out of my Wren/Chickadee House

House Sparrows prefer a 1 ½ inch entrance hole. If you purchased a house with a larger hole or it has been expanded by squirrels or other birds, we have metal portal protectors. Wild Birds Unlimited’s round 1-1/8" and 1-1/4" metal portals are suitable for the chickadee and wren houses and prevents sparrows from entering the house.

How to Keep Raccoons from your Birdhouse

If your bird house is on a pole, we have raccoon baffles that you can put around metal poles or 4”x4” wooden posts. This will stop all squirrels and raccoons from climbing to the house. It won’t stop them from dropping down from a nearby tree.

To protect the birdhouse itself from unwanted predators reaching in and stealing eggs, attach the Screw Mount Birdhouse Guardian. These will prevent squirrels, raccoons, opossum and cats from bending their arms to reach the resident birds. Crows, Blue Jays and grackles can't get their bodies through the guardian and are also deterred. I have the decorative version on a house that was being raided by the neighbor’s cat. So far it has stopped the cat from reaching in and destroying the nest.

How to Deter Sparrows from your Bluebird Box

This is the most frequently asked question in the spring. House Sparrows are very clever and very persistent. You must repeatedly remove any nests that sparrows have built and leave the clean out door of the house open until the sparrows give up guarding the house.

If a bluebird family has already started to make a house and sparrows are harassing them put up a sparrow spooker. Basically once the bluebirds are committed to a nesting site you can hang shiny flutter ribbon above the birdhouse (you can find this "scare tape" at our stores). Studies have shown that certain bird species, including house sparrows, will not fly under the ribbon. For more detailed plans to make your own sparrow spooker, click HERE to visit the very informative website.

Another possibility is to put two bluebird boxes back to back or within a few feet of each other. Bluebirds defend large feeding territories around their nests from other bluebirds. Experts recommend that bluebird boxes be spaced at least 300' apart. However when you pair bluebird houses close together, it is possible to get a bluebird in one and a Tree Swallow in the other. Together the birds can coexist and battle any predators or interloping sparrows. More information on this technique can be found HERE.

Photo of a Great Blue Heron

The Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) is the largest heron in North America.
In flight the Great Blue folds its neck back over its shoulders in an S-shape, unlike cranes' which stretch out their neck.

There are Ducks Nesting in My Tree!

Hello, I have a large old maple in front of my apartment. I have seen a duck enter what must be a hollow about 10 feet above street level. I found it is a wood duck. Now I’m wondering how these little lives will climb out of this nest? The ground is all cement, and the street is very busy is on the south of tree. How will they make it to the river? What are your thoughts if any? I saw your film on the wood box nest. Thank you for your time, Sandy

I appreciate that you are concerned for the baby birds but wood ducks are perching ducks that always make their nests in tree cavities or nest boxes high off the ground.

They are typically found in wooded areas with swamps, ponds or smaller lakes nearby. The mating period is usually between February and April depending on where you live. The female normally lays 9 to 12 ivory colored eggs and the incubation period is around 30 days with the young climbing out of the nest usually within 24 hours of hatching.

Nesting locations can be quite high but the young are rarely injured as they fall to the ground. Later the young begin to fly at 8 to 10 weeks of age.

A lot of ducks and geese will nest close to humans because they feel protected. The video below shows a mallard duck that nested 10 feet above the sidewalk in the middle of the city and how one man helped them survive.

Basic Instinct: Cardinal Feeds Goldfish

My nephew asked why the Robins throw worms in the pond. I know the fish enjoy them and it did remind me of the old photo by Paul Lemmons.

Birds' parental instincts kick in at the sight of small open mouths eliciting an inborn response to feed. The photo shows a Northern Cardinal delivering worms to a goldfish at the edge of a garden pond. The gaping mouths of the fish stimulated the bird. The goldfish, accustomed to being fed at the surface, didn't care who was doing the feeding.

To read more go to Birdscope.

What Bird Feeders Do You Have?

Oh, I have a lot of feeders. Too many to list. I love the birds and as birdwatchers know, this is one of the busiest times at the feeders! Momma birds are trying to feed their babies as well as themselves while staying warm and dry.

It's almost impossible for me to keep my feeders full in the spring. That’s why my favorite feeder right now is the seed cylinder feeder. I used to call it my “Lazy Man feeder” because I only have to fill it once a month. But for some reason people don’t like the term lazy. Now I call it the feeder formally known as the Lazy Man Feeder.

I actually have a couple different styles of seed cylinder feeders in my yard. There are several to choose from as well as different kinds of seed cylinders.

I prefer the Cranberry or Supreme Fare cylinder. Pecans are the first ingredient in 3 of the cylinder varieties we sell at Wild Birds Unlimited - East Lansing, MI. After I slip on one of these pecan rolls, I like sit back and watch the action. Why pecans? Pecans are a very high energy food and the birds appreciate a good meal during this stressful time.

If you don't have a baffled Wild Birds Unlimited Advanced Pole System and worry about the squirrels, you can choose to use the Safflower cylinder to keep squirrels and blackbirds away.

I can tell you that Seed Cylinder feeders are undemanding. They are easy to clean, easy to fill, leave very little mess and attract a wide variety of birds. The feeders are popular with beginners and for people like me who have been feeding birds for almost 40 years.

Well that describes a couple feeders in my yard. Some of the other feeders I use are described in an earlier post called What is the best bird feeder? Click here to read more.

Thanks for the question. What is your favorite feeder?

Why are Baby Birds Bigger than Parent Birds?

I know the statistics show Americans have become larger over the years. So as I watch the Starlings feeding huge babies, I’m wondering if birds are getting bigger too?

What a good question? As most dinosaurs would tell us (if they weren’t extinct), there is evidence that being big can be bad for surviving. Being small has long been thought to help things survive extinction by having larger populations, greater genetic variation, shorter time to maturity, and fewer resources to suvive.
In a study done by paleontologists on a collection of bird ancestor bones approximately 65.5 million years old, it was found that there was a general increase in size for the birds in three of the four families. The big point of interest is the Ornithuromorpha, the last of these four families, got smaller over time and is the only family of birds who have members that managed to survive the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event.

So as Americans get bigger and stronger, I believe birds find their best chance at survival is if they stay small.

I couldn’t find any recent study on the size of birds, but based on observations of birds from the 1800’s to the present there is no obvious change in birds’ size unless helped along by farming practices.

Keep the questions coming and I’ll answer them as best I can. You can also chime in if I get something wrong.

Banding Demonstration

I enjoyed 4 days of banding this week. On Monday 40 delightful people from the Nauset Newcomers Walking Group joined me for a banding demonstration.

Many were thrilled to be able to hold and release birds they could see up close. The highlight of the morning was a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird, the last bird of the morning. When I asked if someone would like to release the bird, Barbara Murphy stepped forward and could barely contain her excitement. I'm always thrilled to see that enthusiasm!

The bird stayed on her hand for a few minutes before flying off.  

The rest of the week proved to be uneventful. Wing Island is not the best migrant trap in spring!! However it is always nice to capture a beautiful warbler, and this Yellow Warbler fits the bill. They breed in our area and are a welcome sight in the nets. This bird was born last year and aged/sexed as a second year male.

Winds were from the NW and quite blustery all week, not a good combination for banding birds. On Saturday we captured numerous Common Yellowthroats among other species. Interestingly, I noticed a distinct difference between the coloration on two male yellowthroats. One had the typical yellow color to the throat that we usually see, but the other one had a orange cast to its throat.
I've only noticed this in the past few years as Tartarian Honeysuckles have made their presence on the island. This plant generally has pink or red flowers and birds who eat the fruit often have a more orange coloration to their typically yellow feathers. I've seen this in Praire Warblers, the tips of tail feathers of Cedar Waxwings, and Baltimore Oriole feathers take on a reddish tone.

I heard Magnolia Warblers singing on the island both Saturday and Sunday but we only captured a few of them. They breed in Western Mass, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Canada and are just passing through our area, but they are one heck of a beautiful bird!!
We had 26 returns of birds banded in previous years, the oldest being a Gray Catbird and an American Goldfinch both at least 6 years old.

Many thanks to Carolyn Kennedy and Judith Bruce who helped at the banding demonstration on Monday. Thanks also to Gretchen Putonen who helped both days on the weekend, Roger Mongold on Saturday, and Carolyn on Sunday. The following birds were seen, heard, and/or captured from 10-16 May. Numbers reflect captured birds only:
Total birds: 116     Total captured species: 17  Birds/100 net-hours: 21
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Canada Goose

Greater Yellowlegs
American Woodcock
Laughing Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Mourning Dove
Black-billed Cuckoo- on musuem property on other side of road
Ruby-throated Hummingbird- 2
Belted Kingfisher
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Yellow-shafted Woodpecker- 1
Eastern Wood Peewee
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Blue Jay- 2
American Crow
Fish Crow
Black-capped Chickadee- 10
Tufted Titmouse- 2
Carolina Wren
American Robin
Gray Catbird- 37
Cedar Waxwing
European Starling
Yellow Warbler- 2
Magnolia Warbler- 3
Pine Warbler
Prairie Warbler- 3
Common Yellowthroat- 33
Scarlet Tanager
Northern Cardinal- 1
Eastern Towhee- 1
Song Sparrow-9
White-throated Sparrow- 1
Red-winged Blackbird- 1
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Grackle- 1
Baltimore Oriole
American Goldfinch- 7
House Sparrow

What Do I Feed Baby Killdeer?

I have baby Killdeer in my yard. What do they eat? The parents are scrabbling around in the grass. Is there anything I can give them to feed the babies?
Killdeer Charadrius vociferous are ground-nesting birds that are famous for hiding their nests right out in the open with no nesting materials. They rely on “help my wing is broken” distraction displays to lead predators away from their nests.

You can feed Killdeer the mealworms we sell at Wild Birds Unlimited - East Lansing, but honestly they are fine on their own foraging for insects, spiders, snails, worms, and crayfish.

Have you seen this bird?

Barry County is one of the few refuges that remain for the Cerulean Warbler. These birds require connected forests greater than 2,000 acres in size. Lack of suitable habitat is the reason the Cerulean Warbler is the fastest-declining songbird species in North America. Only about 1,000 birds are found in Michigan each year.

Cerulean Warbler Weekend (June 4-6) is an opportunity to learn more about the bird and what we can do to protect it. Workshops and guided nature experiences will teach how to identify the habitat and song of the Cerulean Warbler.

For additional details please click HERE or go to!

For more information about 2010 Cerulean Warbler tours, contact:
Wendy Tatar, Program Coordinator email:wendy@michiganaudubon or call 517-886-9144

Spring Fairy Hunt

"When the first baby laughed for the first time, the laugh broke into a thousand pieces and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies.
And now when every new baby is born its first laugh becomes a fairy. So there ought to be one fairy for every boy or girl."
~James Matthew Barrie (Peter, in Peter Pan, act 1)

Help! My Bluebirds Left

Bluebird had been coming to eat (mealworms) I was gone for a couple of days and after returning I began putting the worms out again, but haven't seen a bluebird since. The Eastern Towhee and Carolina Wren, also mocking birds have been trying to get to the worms, but I have chased them away whenever I see them. I try to put the worms out at certain times that I have seen them previously and watch very carefully---But no Bluebirds. Could it be because the eggs have hatched and 'I am too far away from nest??? I have no idea where nest is. Chickadees built before Bluebirds got a chance. Help. ~Rose
There may be several reasons the bluebirds didn't come right back. Your theory about them being new parents is possible.

Bluebirds know instinctively that mealworms are too big for newly hatched babies. They start their young out on tiny bugs like small larvae and spiders. As the chicks grow, so does their appetite and they can begin to feed on mealworms at about six days old.

The birds also may have found a more reliable source of food. I think you just have to be patient and try to re-establish a routine. I'm sure they'll come back. Try to put a spoonful of mealworms out every morning or evening at the same time and whistle a call to alert the bluebirds they are being served.

To keep the other birds away from your mealworms, try the enclosed bluebird feeders like we sell at our Wild Birds Unlimited stores that exclude larger birds.
Good luck!