Michigan is a state that boasts an abundance of natural beauty and offers fantastic opportunities for outdoor recreation. With its stunning landscapes and diverse wildlife, it is a haven for nature enthusiasts. Of particular interest to birdwatchers are the 11 red bird species that can be found in Michigan. From the vibrant red plumage of the northern cardinal to the flashy scarlet tanager, these birds add a delightful splash of color to the state’s natural tapestry. Backyard feeders can attract these avian beauties with the right selection of seeds. However, it’s important to note that some red bird species in Michigan are migratory and only make their appearances during certain seasons. One unique bird that calls Michigan home is the red-headed woodpecker, with its unmistakable entirely red head. So, whether you’re a bird enthusiast or simply enjoy the outdoors, Michigan’s natural beauty and the presence of these red birds are sure to captivate your senses.
1. Wildlife in Michigan
Michigan is a state known for its natural beauty and diverse wildlife. From the open waters of the Great Lakes to the dense forests and rolling hills, there is an abundance of wildlife to be found here. One particular group of animals that captures the attention of many nature enthusiasts are the birds. Michigan is home to numerous bird species, including some stunning red birds that add a splash of color to the landscape.
1.1 Native Bird Species
Michigan boasts a rich variety of native bird species, each with its own unique characteristics and behavior. Among these bird species, there is a subset that stands out with their vibrant red plumage. These red birds not only catch the eye but also contribute to the overall beauty and biodiversity of Michigan’s avian population.
1.2 Red Birds in Michigan
Within the state of Michigan, there are eleven red bird species that can be observed. Some of the notable red birds found here include the Northern Cardinal, House Finch, and Scarlet Tanager. These birds are recognized for their striking red feathers, which make them easily identifiable and a joy to observe in the wild. Let’s take a closer look at some of these native red bird species in Michigan.
2. Native Bird Species of Michigan
2.1 Northern Cardinal
The Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) is a well-known and beloved bird species in Michigan. It is one of the most striking red birds found in the state, with the male sporting a vibrant red plumage and a distinctive crest atop its head. The female, on the other hand, exhibits a more subtle reddish hue, which helps them blend into their surroundings during nesting season. Cardinals are resident birds in Michigan, meaning they can be observed throughout the year.
2.2 House Finch
The House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) is another red bird species commonly seen in Michigan. Though its plumage is not as vibrant as that of the Northern Cardinal, the male House Finch displays a reddish coloration on its crown, breast, and rump. Female House Finches, on the other hand, exhibit a more muted appearance with brown streaks on their feathers. These birds are highly adaptable and can be found in a variety of habitats, including urban areas and rural settings.
2.3 Scarlet Tanager
The Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea) is a migratory bird that visits Michigan during the summer months. While its name suggests a red plumage, the male Scarlet Tanager actually sports a brilliant scarlet hue, which creates a striking contrast against its jet-black wings and tail. The female, on the other hand, has a yellowish-green coloration, making her less conspicuous. These tanagers can be found in deciduous forests, where they forage for insects and fruits.
2.4 Red-headed Woodpecker
The Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) is a unique bird species that can be spotted in Michigan. As its name suggests, this woodpecker has a vibrant red head, contrasting with its black back, wings, and tail. Its white underparts create a stunning contrast, making it one of the most visually striking woodpeckers. Red-headed Woodpeckers can be found in open woodlands, parks, and orchards, where they feed on a combination of insects, fruits, and nuts.
3. Attracting Red Birds to Backyard Feeders
If you are a bird enthusiast residing in Michigan, you may be eager to attract these beautiful red birds to your backyard. The good news is that it is indeed possible to entice them to your feeder with certain strategies.
3.1 Seed Types
One of the most effective ways to lure red birds, such as Northern Cardinals and House Finches, to your backyard is by providing them with suitable seeds. These birds are primarily seed-eaters, so offering a diverse range of seeds in your feeders will surely get their attention. Some popular seed choices for attracting red birds include black oil sunflower seeds, sunflower hearts, safflower seeds, and nyjer seeds. By using a combination of these seed varieties, you can cater to the preferences of different red bird species.
3.2 Feeder Placement
In addition to offering the right seeds, the placement of your feeders can significantly impact the likelihood of attracting red birds. Placing the feeders near sheltered areas, such as trees or shrubs, can provide the birds with a sense of security while feeding. It is also advisable to position the feeders away from heavily trafficked areas, as this might discourage red birds from visiting. By strategically placing your feeders in a quiet and sheltered location, you increase the chances of attracting these colorful feathered visitors to your backyard.
4. Migratory Red Birds in Michigan
While some red birds are year-round residents in Michigan, others are migratory and only visit during certain seasons. The changing seasons bring an ebb and flow of bird populations, allowing birdwatchers to observe the comings and goings of a variety of species.
4.1 Seasonal Visits
The Scarlet Tanager mentioned previously is a prime example of a migratory red bird that visits Michigan during the summer months. These birds arrive in late spring and can be observed throughout the summer before embarking on their journey south in the fall. Other migratory red birds that visit Michigan include the Indigo Bunting and the Summer Tanager. These seasonal visits add an exciting dynamic to birdwatching in the state, as enthusiasts eagerly await the arrival of these colorful migrants each year.
4.2 Birdwatching Opportunities
Thanks to the presence of both resident and migratory red birds, Michigan offers a wealth of birdwatching opportunities. From the comfort of your own backyard to the numerous birding hotspots scattered across the state, there are ample opportunities to observe these beautiful creatures up close. Some popular birding spots in Michigan include the Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, Pointe Mouillee State Game Area, and the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. These locations attract a wide variety of birds, including the aforementioned red birds, making them perfect for birdwatchers of all skill levels.
5. The Red-Headed Woodpecker
Among the various red birds found in Michigan, the Red-headed Woodpecker stands out as an iconic and fascinating species. As previously mentioned, this woodpecker sports a vibrant red head, contrasting with its black back, wings, and tail. Its white underparts create a stunning contrast, further accentuating its unique appearance. The male and female Red-headed Woodpeckers display similar plumage, making it harder to distinguish between the sexes based on appearance alone.
5.2 Habitat and Behavior
Red-headed Woodpeckers can be found in a variety of habitats throughout Michigan, including open woodlands, parks, orchards, and even urban areas with suitable trees. These woodpeckers are known for their acrobatic foraging techniques, clinging to tree trunks and branches as they search for their preferred diet of insects, fruits, and nuts. They also store excess food items in tree cavities or crevices, creating a cache to sustain them during periods of scarcity.
5.3 Conservation Status
Despite their striking appearance and widespread range, the Red-headed Woodpecker is currently facing some conservation concerns. Loss of suitable habitat and the decline of dead trees, which serve as nesting sites, have contributed to a decline in their population. Efforts are being made to protect and restore their habitats and promote awareness about the importance of maintaining the ecosystems they rely on. By supporting conservation initiatives and providing suitable habitats, we can help ensure the survival and thriving of this unique and beautiful woodpecker species in Michigan.
In conclusion, Michigan’s wildlife encompasses a wide array of bird species, including several stunning red birds. From the year-round residents like the Northern Cardinal and House Finch to the seasonal visitors like the Scarlet Tanager, these birds add vibrancy and charm to the state’s natural landscapes. By understanding their habitat preferences, providing suitable food sources, and ensuring the conservation of their habitats, we can continue to enjoy the beauty and diversity of Michigan’s native red bird species for generations to come. So grab a pair of binoculars, head outdoors, and immerse yourself in the fascinating world of red birds in Michigan!