Michigan is home to a variety of brown birds. From the small house sparrow to the large and majestic brown thrasher. These birds can be found in a variety of habitats, from forests and fields to backyards and parks.
In this blog post, we will take a closer look at some of the most common brown birds in Michigan. We will discuss their appearance, habitat, and behaviour.
We will also provide tips on how to attract these birds to your backyard.
Brown Birds in Michigan
Here are some of the most common brown birds in Michigan:
- Mourning Dove
- Carolina Wren
- Song Sparrow
- House Sparrow
- Northern Flicker
- Chipping Sparrow
- Cedar Waxwing
- House Finch
- White-crowned Sparrow
- White-throated Sparrow
- House Wren
- Northern Cardinal (female)
- Brown Thrasher
- Field Sparrow
- Swamp Sparrow
- Hermit Thrush
Let’s explore and learn about their diet, habitats, seasons in Michigan, songs, behaviours, etc.
1. Mourning Dove
The mourning dove is a common bird in Michigan. It’s a medium-sized bird, about 9-13 inches long with a wingspan of 17-18 inches.
It has a greyish-brown body with a slightly pinkish chest, dark spots on the wings, and a long, tapered tail.
You can find mourning doves in different places like woodlands, fields, farms, and cities. They usually sit on branches or wires and fly close to the ground.
Their diet consists of seeds, grains, fruits, and sometimes insects like beetles and grasshoppers.
You’ll recognize mourning doves by their distinctive cooing sound, which sounds like “coo-oo, coo, coo.” They use this sound to communicate with each other and attract mates.
These birds migrate south for the winter, but some stay in Michigan all year long.
Related: 12 Red Birds in Michigan
2. Carolina Wren:
This small bird has rust-brown upperparts, white underparts, a white eyebrow stripe, and a long curved tail.
It lives in shrubby areas, woodlands, and gardens with dense vegetation. Carolina Wrens eat insects, spiders, and occasionally fruits and seeds.
They are known for their loud and melodious song, often described as “teakettle, teakettle, teakettle.”
To attract Carolina Wrens, provide thick vegetation, brush piles, and suet feeders to attract insects, which are their primary food source.
3. Song Sparrow
This sparrow has a streaked brown and white overall with a distinct dark spot in the centre of their breast.
It lives in a wide range of habitats, including grasslands, marshes, and gardens. Song Sparrows eat seeds, insects, and berries.
They are known for their sweet and melodious song, which varies throughout their range.
To attract Song Sparrows, offer a mix of seeds and insects, along with a clean water source. Dense shrubs and bushes will provide good cover for them.
Related: Black and White Birds in Michigan
4. House Sparrow
This small bird has a greyish-brown back, black bib, and white cheeks. Females are more subdued with light brown plumage.
House Sparrows are commonly found in urban and suburban areas, often near human habitation.
They eat seeds, grains, and scraps of food from human activities. House Sparrows are known for their mix of chirps and chatters.
To attract House Sparrows, offer bird feeders with seeds and provide sheltered spots.
Related: Types of Cranes in Michigan
5. Northern Flicker
This large woodpecker has yellow or red underwings, a black crescent on the breast, and a spotted pattern on its brown back.
It lives in woodlands, forests, and urban areas with mature trees. Northern Flickers eat insects, ants, beetles, and fruits.
They are known for their loud, sharp “wick-a, wick-a” or “klee-yer” calls.
To attract Northern Flickers, provide a mix of insects, suet, and berries in your feeders.
6. Chipping Sparrow
This small sparrow has greyish-brown upperparts, a white eyebrow stripe, and a rusty crown.
It lives in open woodlands, gardens, and parks. Chipping Sparrows eat seeds, berries, and insects.
They are known for their repetitive series of chips, which give them their name.
To attract Chipping Sparrows, offer a variety of seeds, especially sunflower seeds, and provide dense shrubs for nesting.
7. Cedar Waxwing
This medium-sized bird has a brownish-grey overall with a silky texture, yellow belly, and distinctive black mask on the face.
It lives in woodlands, orchards, and areas with fruit trees and shrubs. Cedar Waxwings eat primarily fruits and berries, especially cedar berries.
They are known for their high-pitched calls, which are often heard in flocks.
To attract Cedar Waxwings, plant fruit-bearing trees and shrubs, such as cedar, holly, and dogwood.
They are often seen in flocks, so creating a hospitable environment can encourage them to visit your area.
8. House Finch
This small bird has reddish plumage on the head, breast, and rump in males. Females are mostly brown with streaks.
They are commonly found in urban and suburban areas, as well as open woodlands and grasslands. They eat seeds, fruits, and buds. Their song is a pleasant, rapid warbling.
To attract House Finches, offer sunflower seeds and a variety of seeds in feeders.
9. White-crowned Sparrow
This medium-sized bird has distinctive black and white stripes on the crown with a grey face and brownish wings.
They are found in open woodlands, brushy areas, and gardens.
They eat seeds, insects, and berries. Their song is a clear and sweet whistle, often described as “Oh, dear me, oh, dear me.”
To attract White-crowned Sparrows, provide a mix of seeds and insects.
10. White-throated Sparrow
This medium-sized bird has a greyish-brown on the back, a white throat, a yellow spot between the eye and the bill, and distinctive white stripes on the head.
They are found in woodlands, forest edges, and shrubby areas. They eat seeds, insects, and berries.
Their song is known for its beauty, often described as “Oh, sweet Canada, Canada, Canada.”
To attract White-throated Sparrows, offer a variety of seeds and insects.
11. House Wren
This small bird has brown plumage with a slightly darker barred tail and a pale eyebrow stripe.
They are found in woodlands, gardens, and shrubby areas. They eat insects, spiders, and occasionally fruits. Their song is a bubbly and energetic warbling.
To attract House Wrens, provide dense vegetation and brush piles to attract insects, their primary food source.
12. Northern Cardinal (Female)
This medium-sized bird has mostly brown plumage with a reddish crest, wings, and tail, and a distinctive red bill.
They are found in woodlands, gardens, and urban areas. They eat seeds, fruits, insects, and berries.
Their call is a sharp metallic “chip,” and their song is a series of clear whistles.
To attract Cardinals, offer sunflower seeds and safflower seeds in feeders, as well as dense shrubbery for nesting.
13. Brown Thrasher
This large bird has brown upper parts with a white breast and a streaked belly. They are found in brushy areas, woodland edges, and gardens.
They eat insects, fruits, berries, and seeds. Their song is known for its diversity and melodiousness, including imitations of other birds.
To attract Brown Thrashers, offer a variety of food, including insects and fruits.
14. Field Sparrow
This small bird has rust-brown upperparts, a pinkish bill, and a white eye ring. They are found in overgrown fields, grasslands, and meadows.
They eat seeds, insects, and spiders. Their song is a clear, musical, and accelerating series of notes.
To attract Field Sparrows, allow portions of your yard to grow wild, as they prefer open and grassy areas.
15. Swamp Sparrow
This small bird is mostly brown with a greyish face, rusty wings, and a reddish cap on the head. They are found in wetlands, marshes, and swamps.
They eat seeds, insects, and aquatic invertebrates. Their song is a series of musical notes, often described as “cheap, cheap, cheap.”
To attract Swamp Sparrows, provide dense shrubs and offer a mix of seeds and insects.
16. Hermit Thrush
This medium-sized bird has brownish-grey upperparts with a reddish tail, a white eye ring, and a spotted breast.
They are found in woodlands and forested areas. They eat insects, spiders, and berries. Their song is a beautiful ethereal series of flute-like notes.
To attract Hermit Thrushes, provide a mix of insects and berries, and create a natural, wooded environment.
3 Ways to Attract Brown Birds in Michigan
These are just a few of the many brown birds that can be found in Michigan. If you are interested in attracting these birds to your backyard, there are a few things you can do.
- Provide food and water: Brown birds eat a variety of foods, so it is important to provide a variety of options. You can put out birdseed, suet, fruit, and water.
- Create a habitat: Brown birds need places to nest and hide. You can create a habitat for these birds by planting trees, shrubs, and vines. You can also put up birdhouses.
- Be patient: It may take some time to attract brown birds to your backyard. But if you are patient and provide the right conditions, you will eventually be rewarded with the sight and sound of these beautiful birds.
These are just a few of the many brown birds that can be found in Michigan. If you are interested in attracting these birds to your backyard, there are a few things you can do. Provide them with food, water, and shelter. You can also plant native plants that provide food and nesting material for birds.
Now you’ve met the charming brown birds that make Michigan even more special! Let’s cherish and protect their homes so they can continue to bring us joy. By supporting conservation efforts, we ensure that these lovely creatures thrive for generations. So next time you’re out and about, keep an eye out for Michigan’s earth-toned treasures, and remember how important it is to appreciate and preserve the wonders of nature.