Which birds can we see and hear in Michigan during winter? | Michigan Radio

Which birds can we see and hear in Michigan during winter?

Jan 20, 2015

Birder Macklin Smith
Credit Lynette Smith

Many birds leave Michigan for warmer weather. But what birds stay here and tough it out with us in the frigid weather?

Macklin Smith, a University of Michigan professor emeritus of English and a veteran bird watcher, tells us which birds we can expect to hear during the colder months.

Smith says one of the most commonly heard birds during Michigan winters are chickadees. They're small but able to stay warm through the strong insulation of their feathers. Chickadees and other birds such as cardinals are able to stay put, due to their diet of seeds. Many of those who leave rely on only insects for food and are forced to migrate to warmer temperatures.

Smith says many Michigan residents may be surprised to find that some bluebirds and robins can stay around for the long winter months if they are able find food. Owls also keep us company all winter long with their survival on small animals and prey. While some birds leave for warmer climates, you can always keep an ear out for the songs of those who stay all year round.