Despite their size, they can be difficult to locate as they range quite widely, and often feed rather quietly. Until recently they were almost never observed on their wintering grounds. The song is one of the loudest and most cheery of any warbler, a richly warbled chur chur CHEE CHEE wee wee. The underparts are bright yellow, whitish under the tail, and with prominent black streaks on the sides up to the side of the neck. The breast and sides show prominent black streaks. This small shorebird, about 7 inches in length, is often described as the color of dry sand above and white below. Spring arrival is later than that of many other warblers—typically in the last half of May into early June even in the southern portions of the state. In 1971, a survey turned up only 201 singing males, which was half the number detected on surveys in the 1950s. Breeding birds are found principally in the Upper Peninsula. Some have said that wearing red laces in your shoes might actually attract a male spruce grouse; apparently the hormonally charged males during the peak of display will investigate any bright red object, presumably mistaking the laces for the enlarged red wattle above the eye of a rival male! They winter in the Bahamas, with most being located on Eleuthera and a few on Andros. The legs are sturdy and bright pink. The bulk of the population breeds in Crawford, Oscoda, Alcona, and Ogemaw counties. Our largest woodpecker, at 17 inches about the same size as a crow. From mid-October through November, counts of several thousand birds are typical at these locations. The spruce grouse is an uncommon to rare permanent resident, found primarily in boreal forest. As the population has increased, sightings of migrants have also increased. The back shows reddish streaks with exceptionally close views. The males have an all red crest, pointed at the rear, and a red whisker mark. Photo by by Gerry Sibell. The Vermillion Road near Whitefish Point has traditionally been a reliable spot for finding spruce grouse. Despite its name, the Prairie warbler does not breed in prairie anywhere in its range. When present, great gray owls are usually easy to find because they often perch in the open on the edges of open fields, where they hunt their rodent prey. The song is a rapid, slightly buzzy, rising series of whistles, zoo zoo zoo zee zee zee ziii zii. It is most easily found in residential areas, but also in wooded areas. The golden-winged warbler is an uncommon and declining summer resident, most numerous in the northern Lower Peninsula and parts of the Upper Peninsula. The spruce grouse, at about 16 inches in length, is similar in size to the more familiar ruffed grouse, but is a bit chunkier. In Michigan, the species nests almost exclusively in pine woodlands covering sand dunes with a shrubby understory. Complicating the issue is the fact that Nashville warblers, which are similar in appearance, and northern waterthrushes, which can have similar-sounding songs, are both common breeders in the same habitat as the Connecticut warbler. Burrowing Owl. Kirtland’s warblers arrive on their breeding grounds sometime after May 10, and most have departed for their wintering grounds by early September. In the southeastern U.S., where it is perhaps most common, it nests in coastal scrub and even in mangroves. North Shore Birding FestivalOccurs early December in Maitland, Florida », YUMA BIRD, NATURE & HISTORY FESTIVALOccurs early January in YUMA, Arizona », Bald Eagle DaysOccurs early January in Rock Island, Illinois », White Pelican CelebrationOccurs early January in Chokoloskee, Florida », Wings Over WillcoxOccurs mid-January in Willcox, Arizona », Get professional advice from the editors of, Presque Isle County, Michigan: A Hidden Paradise », Introduction to Bird Watching in Michigan ». Some places that have proven fairly consistent include the Kleinstuck Preserve near Kalamazoo, the Nichols Arboretum in Ann Arbor, Fairlane Woods at the University of Michigan in Dearborn, Metro Beach Metropark near Mt. Use BWD's Birding and Nature Festival Finder to help you select from events all over the USA and beyond. The body is all black with a black-and-white striped neck. The warblers nest on or near the ground, so caution is advised when looking for them on the breeding grounds. The blue-gray tail has white spots on tips of the outer two tail feathers. Pets must also be prevented from entering the breeding areas, as the birds nest on the ground under the lowest branches of the jack pines. Even there, they are often shy, skulking birds that are more often heard than seen. A very large all gray owl, about 27 inches in length, with a very large head, large facial disks, a black and white patch in the area of the chin, and piercing yellow eyes. During fall migration, sandhill cranes stage in wetlands, sometimes in large numbers. Photo by Joseph C. Boone / Wikimedia Commons. This tall, stately bird, tanding nearly 5 feet tall, has long legs, all gray plumage, with a red patch on the forecrown, can be confused with nothing else. Females are duller, lacking the black markings on the face and with the bright yellow replaced with whitish. Formerly, this species was almost impossible to detect in migration, but in the past ten years it has been found annually at migrant traps such as Crane Creek State Park, Ohio, Pt. Sandhill crane. Pileated woodpeckers, as do all woodpeckers, fly with a bounding flight and perch vertically on tree trunks where they hammer at the bark hunting for insect prey. At most sites, the birds can be viewed from outside the closed areas. They breed nearly throughout the state, but with two main population centers, one in the central southern Lower Peninsula between Jackson and Battle Creek, and the other in the eastern Upper Peninsula in the Rudyard area. Adults have a narrow black band running around the beast and back of the neck, a white forehead, a small black band across the crown, dark eyes, a short orange bill with a black tip, and yellowish-orange legs. Photo by by Gerry Sibell. Sandhill Crane. In fall, most are detected at banding stations, but they seem to move south in greatest numbers in mid-September. Piping Plover. Most well-wooded parks and residential areas in the southernmost portions of Michigan have resident Carolina wrens. Females are generally nondescript mottled and barred gray and rufous, with white markings on the sides of the throat. The underparts are yellow from the chin to the belly, and white under the tail. Another, more dispersed breeding population occurs in the west central Lower Peninsula between Manistee and Big Rapids. Piping plover, photo by / Wikimedia. They are nearly unmistakable. Most irruptions do not take these birds farther south than the Upper Peninsula, and the best areas to search for this species includes the open fields south of Sault Ste. The piping plover is a federally endangered species that is a rare summer resident in Michigan. Sometimes they can be located by their loud, somewhat maniacal calls, sounding something like a northern flicker on steroids. The golden-winged warbler seems to prefer the “middle-aged” shrubby phase for its breeding habitat, while blue-winged warblers can use the earliest shrubby habitats right through to the latest. Male spruce grouse. Single birds have recently reached as far north as the Upper Peninsula during northward movements in fall. This is one of our most boldly patterned warblers, with a gray body, a black ear patch surrounded by white, a black throat, bright yellow crown, and true to its name, broad golden-yellow wing bars. Habitat management, through controlled burns, has increased the available habitat, and cowbird control through capture and removal has reduced parasitism levels. Some winters they are completely absent from the state. Some places to check include Fairlane Woods at the University of Michigan – Dearborn, the Kleinstuck Preserve near Kalamazoo, and Sarett Nature Center near Berrien Springs. Some good sites for golden-winged warbler in the southern Lower Peninsula include the Gratiot-Saginaw State Game Area and the Port Huron State Game Area. In flight, they show a white rump, a white tail with a broad black tip, and black flight feathers with a prominent white band. The very pleasing song, tea kettle, tea kettle, tea kettle is somewhat similar to northern cardinal or tufted titmouse, but unlike any other wren in the state. It is scarce in much of the southern Lower Peninsula, but as suburban areas are becoming reforested this species is reclaiming portions of its former range. This tall, stately bird, tanding nearly 5 feet tall, has long legs, all gray... 3. 10 Highlight Birds in Michigan 1. Their loud, bugling calls are among the most stirring sounds of Michigan’s wetlands in summer and during fall migration. In recent years, the number of singing males has exceeded the conservation goal of 1,000, with 1,083 in 2001, 1,052 in 2002, 1,204 in 2003 and 1,341 in 2004. The best way to see Kirtland’s warblers is on a National Forest Service tour out of Mio, or on a U.S. Females are slightly duller. Breeding birds are most frequently found in the Upper Peninsula north of Trout Lake, at the Baraga Plains, and rarely in the Porcupine Mountains State Park. The song is a staccato chippy chuppy chippy chuppy chippy chuppy. Jack pine cones do not open to allow the seeds to drop to the ground unless they have been exposed to fire, and the warbler’s requirement of younger trees has earned it the nickname “bird of fire.”. Other areas of boreal forest that could be productive include the Yellow Dog Plains near Marquette, the boreal forest near Trout Lake, and the Kingston Plains in the western Upper Peninsula. The Kirtland’s warbler is Michigan’s most unique bird because it breeds nowhere else in the world and is listed as a federally endangered species. These tours are run between about May 15 and July 4, and can be a very rewarding experience as you are taken into areas generally closed to the public where good views of the birds can often be had. These management methods have slowly allowed the population to increase. The Kirtland’s warbler is one of our largest warblers, at slightly less than 6 inches in length. Large, rectangular excavations in tree trunks are evidence of the presence of these birds. It is more local than the blue-winged warbler, and its range retracts northward as the blue-winged’s expands and hybridizes with it. The spruce grouse, at about 16 inches in length, is... 2. The sexes are similar. Clemens, and Tawas Point State Park. These hybrids are frequent enough that they too have been given names; Brewster’s warbler, which is more frequently encountered, and Lawrence’s warbler, which is rarely encountered.