Beautiful Winter Backyard Birds in Michigan (+Printable HD Images)

One exciting experience of winter is watching the birds outside in your backyard playing in the cold with their mouth busy on your feeders while you sit by the window with a hot drink.

This experience can be glorious?

In here, you will get to know the most common winter backyard birds in Michigan and how to attract them to your feeder each day during the winter which is usually December and January.

10 Popular Winter Backyard Birds in Michigan:

1. Black-capped Chickadee


Black-capped Chickadee

Botanical Name: Poecile atricapillus

The Black-capped Chickadee is the most commonly spotted bird in winter here.

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The Black-capped Chickadee is a good-looking bird with a big round head and tiny body.

They are known as investigators to investigate all the feeders they come across in your backyard, including you.  They specifically like suet, sunflower seeds, peanuts, and peanut butter. They are so mild that you can hand feed them when they come visiting.

You can easily find Black-capped chickadee in forests, open woods, and parks, parks. Also, Black-capped Chickadees eat insects, spiders, berries, and seeds.

To attract more Black-capped Chickadees to your backyard plant more suet, sunflower seeds, and peanuts or peanut butter.

2. Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove

Botanical Name: Zenaida macroura

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Mourning Doves are graceful small-headed birds in Michigan that are spotted more in summer than in winter.

 They are a soft brown migratory birds with black spots on the wings and long tails.

You can easily spot them perching on telephone wires and foraging for seeds on the ground in open grasslands, fields, and backyards or the edge of a woodland.

The mourning doves eat nyjer, black sunflower seeds, cracked corn, and peanut hearts.

Doves prefer to feed on the ground, as such, to attract more Mourning Doves to your backyard, try scattering millet on the ground or on platform feeders

3. Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Botanical Name: Picoides pubescens

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Downy Woodpeckers are small birds commonly spotted here in winter, but live all year round in Michigan.

They are small birds with black and white coloring, a red patch at the back of their heads. .

You can easily find Downy woodpeckers in woodlots, along city parks, streams, and backyards.

Downy Woodpeckers feed mainly on insects beetle larvae, acorns, berries, and grains.

Downy Woodpeckers helps to offer protection from the rain and help stop bully birds

To attract more Downy Woodpeckers try black oil sunflower seeds, and mixing it with hopper feeders, and platform feeders is a wonderful combo.

Downy woodpeckers is regarded the woodpecker to visit feeders in Michigan in winter, the more.

4. Dark-eyed Junco

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Dark Eye Junco

Dark-eyed Junco

Botanical Name: Junco hyemalis

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Dark-eyed Juncos are sparrows of different colours that are commonly resident of Michigan during the winter.

Dark-eyed Juncos colouring varies from regions to regions, in the east, they are generally slate-colored and commonly black, white, and brown in the west.

They are migratory birds that breed in Canada and Alaska, before migrating south in winter to a large part of the United States. 

You can easily find them in open and partially wooded areas mostly on the ground.

To attract more Dark-eyed Juncos to your backyard, try combing the backyard feeders with a variety of seeds such as nyjer, black oil sunflower seeds, cracked corn, millet, and peanuts.  Platform feeders that are scattered on the ground are the best attraction.

5. Northern Cardinal

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Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal

Botanical Name: Cardinalis cardinalis

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Northern Cardinals are heavy birds that are known as greater defenders of the territory and can be commonly seen during the winter in Michigan.

Northern Cardinals are common both in summer and winter in Michigan but they look more striking in winter against the snow.

Due to their aggressiveness, the Northern Cardinals attack their own reflection during breeding season as they obsessively defend their territories, against intruders.

To attract more Northern Cardinals to your backyard, try sunflower seeds, millet, peanut hearts, and milo. They sometimes, feed from large tube feeders if there is enough perch, platform feeders, hoppers, or food scattered on the ground.

6. Blue Jay

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Blue Jay

Blue Jay

Botanical Name: Cyanocitta cristata

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Blue Jays can are large songbirds that are the third most common bird to viist Michigan during the winter and summer.

These birds have upright crest, blue and black backs, and white undersides.  However, they migratory noisy birds that travel in family groups in large flocks along the Great Lakes and Atlantic coast, eating  acorns, anytime they come across it.

You can easily find Blue Jay in forests, especially near oak as they eat acorns. Apart from acorns, they also feed on nuts, seeds, insects and grain.

Also, you can find them in your backyards near feeders. 

To attract Blue Jays to your backyard use sunflower seeds, peanuts, and suet however, they prefer it on tray feeders or hopper feeders. They are also known to enjoy a birdbath.

7. White-breasted Nuthatch

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White-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch

Botanical Name: Sitta carolinensis

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White-breasted Nuthatches are active little birds that frequently spotted in winter in Michigan.

White-breasted Nuthatches are mostly coloured gray-blue on the back, white on the face and belly, with a black cap. 

You can find them in woodland edges, parks, deciduous forests, and yards with trees or at feeders.

White-breasted Nuthatch primarily eat insects such as ants, spiders, beetles, including their larvae, and caterpillars. Also, they feed on seeds and nuts such as; acorns, sunflower seeds, hawthorns, and sometimes corn crops. 

They also feed on large nuts and acorns by hitting them against the tree bark and then whack them to open them up to get the seed out.

To attract more White-breasted Nuthatches to your backyard, try combining sunflower seeds and peanuts on  suet feeders or tube feesers.

8. American Crow

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American Crow
American Crow

Botanical Name: Corvus brachyrhynchos

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American crows are large all-black birds that are common in Michigan during winter. One remarkable thing about this bird is that you can see American Crows gather in large numbers of up to two million crows to sleep in communal roosts during the winter.

The American crows are known to make hoarse, cawing sound.

You can easily find them in most of the habitats including woods, fields, treetops, beaches, or towns.

They primarily feed on the ground eating insects, earthworms, seeds, and fruit. Also, they feed on fish, mussels, young turtles, and go as far as eating eggs and nestlings of many species of birds. 

To attract more American Crows to your backyard, try scattering peanuts on the ground.

However, the American Crown can become a nuisance to your backyard as they can be attracted by garbage or left out pet food .

9. American Goldfinch


Botanical Name: Spinus tristis

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American Goldfinches are popluar birds that live in Michigan all year.

American Goldfinches are migratory birds that travel in flocks. They breed in northern states and Canada before migrating to southern states,.

You can easily find them in weedy fields, suburbs, parks  and overgrown areas looking for sunflower, thistle, and aster plants. They also visit the backyards for feeders.

You can attract more American Goldfinches to your backyard by planting thistles and milkweed.  Bird feeders, specifically sunflower seed and nyjer seed are a great attraction.

10. Red-bellied Woodpecker common Backyard Birds In Ontario

Botanical Name: Melanerpes carolinus

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Red-bellied Woodpeckers are popular birds in Michigan in both winter and summer.

They are also the second most common Woodpecker in Michigan.

They are known for their loud call in spring and summer, and you can easily find them in woods and forests.

Red-bellied Woodpeckers feed primarily on insects, spiders, acorns, nuts and pine cones, and fruits.

To attract more Red-bellied Woodpeckers to your backyard try combining them suet with hopper feeders.  

How to Attract Winter Birds to Your Backard in Michigan

It is very easy to attract winter birds to your backyard with the following steps.

  • Growing of native plants: Native Plants, trees, and shrubs that provide fruit, berries, such as blackberries, wild grasses, elderberries, serviceberries,  Sunflowers, Milkweed, Cardinal Flowers, Trumpet Honeysuckle, nuts, Oaks, Beeches, Cherries, sumacs, hemlocks, Virginia Creeper, Purple Coneflowers, Buttonbush, and Dogwoods.
  • Avoid using pesticides and herbicides in your backyard as this can be very toxic to the birds and in the same way stop the existence of insects that can attract birds.
  • Provide different types of bird feeders to attract different types of birds.
  • Leaving behind a brush pile is necessary as it helps to provide food, protection, shelter and nesting of birds.
  • The provision of a birdbath fountain or stream  that is water that is clean not stagnant is one major attraction feature in your backyard. 
  • Setting up nest boxes is a great way to attract breeding birds to your backyard. Make sure it is cleaned yearly.

Top 5 Bird Winter Hotspot In Michigan

Huron-Manistee National Forest

Address: U.S. Forest Service
Mio Ranger District
401 N. Court Street
Mio, MI  48647-9314
(989) 826-3252

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
East Lansing Field Office
2651 Coolidge Road
East Lansing, MI  48823
(517) 351-2555

The Kirtland’s warbler breeds mainly in a few counties in north-central Michigan, primarily in the Huron-Manistee National Forest.  The easiest way to see a Kirtland’s warbler is on a tour, where there are two options.  The U.S. Forest Service runs tours (for a nominal fee) out of Mio, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service runs tours out of Grayling.  In addition to being taken to an area where up-close sightings are virtually guaranteed, both tours provide interesting introductory programs on the natural history and conservation of this most unique of Michigan’s birds. 

Other species likely to be seen on these tours include upland sandpiper, black-billed cuckoo, eastern bluebird, brown thrasher, Nashville and black-and-white warblers, clay-colored, field, vesper, and Lincoln’s sparrows, and Brewer’s blackbird.  Finding a Kirtland’s warbler on your own is possible by driving the numerous forest service roads in the area.  Do not enter any areas posted as being closed and stay on the road.  Do not play tapes of the bird’s song or let pets wander into the breeding area.  Do not disturb these endangered birds in any way.

2. Nayanquing Point State Wildlife Area

Address: Nayanquing Point Field Office
1570 Tower Beach Road
Pinconning, MI  48650
(989) 697-5101

The Nayanquing Point State Wildlife Area encompasses around 1400 acres of wetlands and flooded fields along the shoreline of Saginaw Bay on Lake Huron. Least bitterns, American bitterns, black-crowned night-herons, sora and Virginia rails, common moorhen, Caspian, and Forster’s terns are among the marsh nesting species found here. In the spring and summer, Michigan’s most reliable breeding colony of yellow-headed blackbirds, a species that is usually found further west, can be found here. In the region, a pair of bald eagles had built a nest.

Marsh and sedge wrens, yellow warblers, common yellowthroats, and song and swamp sparrows are among the songbirds that nest in the wetlands and surrounding areas. Migrating shorebirds and waterfowl can often be observed from spring through fall due to the shifting lake levels, emergent marsh plants, and mudflats. Rare species have also been drawn to the area.

3. Muskegon County Wastewater Treatment System

Address: 8301 White Road
Muskegon, MI  49442
(231) 724-3440

Wastewater treatment plants, also known as sewage ponds, may appear to be an interesting bird-watching spot. Waterbirds, such as ducks, shorebirds, herons, and gulls, are frequently seen in large numbers.

It’s probably safe to assume that if you haven’t been birding, you haven’t been birding! With 11,000 acres of settling ponds surrounded by open fields, the Muskegon Wastewater System is Michigan’s largest and possibly one of the largest in the United States.

Large numbers of waterfowl, particularly northern shovelers and ruddy ducks, can be found in the ponds during migration. Migrant shorebirds flock to the muddy edges of the diked roadways that run between the ponds.

Rarities are discovered every year. In the summer, the diked roads have attracted eared frebes, which are uncommon in the state, and in the late fall and winter, the diked roads have attracted snowy owls, snow buntings, and, on rare occasions, a gyrfalcon.

Rough-legged hawks, American golden-plovers, black-bellied plover, horned larks, American pipits, Lapland longspurs, and snow buntings may all be seen in the nearby fields. A golden eagle may occasionally accompany one or two bald eagles in feeding on the numerous waterfowl. To drive on the diked roads here, you’ll need a permission, which you may get at the Administration building Monday through Friday. Permits can be requested ahead of time by calling.

4. Allegan State Game Area

Address: Allegan Field Office
4590 118th Ave., Route 3
Allegan, MI  49010
(269) 673-2430

The Allegan State Game Area, which spans more than 50,000 acres of deciduous woods, farms, marshes, swamp, and riparian woodland along the Kalamazoo River, offers a wide range of birding possibilities. From fall until spring, a large number of waterfowl, especially Canada geese and snow geese, use the open fields.

Raptors such as bald and golden (occasional) eagles, northern harriers, and red-tailed and rough-legged hawks use the region in the winter. Birding is mostly done from the roads at this time of year, though there are a few hiking paths that provide access to the woods.

To protect animals, some places are marked as closed, and they should be scrupulously followed. During the summer, there is a wide variety of breeding species to be discovered. The Kalamazoo River, which may be birded by canoe, is particularly noteworthy.

Along the river, you’ll see a lot of yellow-billed cuckoos, Acadian flycatchers, red-eyed vireos, blue-gray gnatcatchers, cerulean warblers, American redstarts, and other birds, including the state’s healthiest prothonotary warbler population.

5. Port Huron State Game Area

Address: Port Huron Field Office
6181 Lapeer Road
Kimball, MI  48074
(810) 664-8355

Many local birders flock to the Port Huron State Game Area in early June after the migrant warblers have passed through southeastern Michigan. The reason for this is the unique combination of breeding warblers with both northern and southern affinities, which comprises 16 species that occur frequently and 9 species that occur just once a year.

Common and widespread include blue-winged, yellow, and chestnut-sided warblers, American redstart, ovenbird, and common yellowthroat.

Northern waterthrush, mourning and hooded warblers, as well as golden-winged, magnolia, cerulean, Blackburnian, black-throated green, pine, and black-and-white warblers, are more locally distributed. Northern parula (2002), Nashville, yellow-rumped, yellow-throated (nested in 1982), worm-eating (2002), Louisiana waterthrush, Kentucky, Canada, and yellow-breasted chat (2002) are among the less-than-annual warblers (formerly regular and local).

In the summer, four species of vireo and four Empidonax flycatchers are common, and both black-billed and yellow-billed cuckoos frequent the area. Sandhill cranes, as well as the more common sora and Virginia rails, have recently summered.

FAQs on Winter Backyard Birds in Michigan

 Do goldfinches stay in Michigan in the winter?

The American Goldfinches roam in wide multitude widely during the winter and after service of observation, they have been discovered to travel for 4 miles between multiple feeding stations in a single day.

Do robins leave Michigan in winter?

The American Robins spend their summers in Michigan, and move to warmer states like Florida during the winter. However few of the robins do stay behind in Michigan during the winter.

How do you get birds to feeder in the winter?

To attract birds to feeders, the feeders should contain a mixture of seed (such especially the black oil sunflower seeds), peanut hearts, thistle seed, hulled peanuts, white millet seed and peanut butter.

Also it should contain suet that can contain different ingredients such as  peanut butter, corn meal and meal worms .


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