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Birds & Birding Regional Birder

This is regional birding information for:

Midwest
November 2014

The Midwest is a slice of many North American ecosystems, starting in the northern Great Lakes where the great coniferous forest represents a Canadian life zone. South of the forests, one finds a mixture of abandoned, grown up fields and small woodlots amidst active farms where cattle graze and crops are sown. The farther south one travels, the more the land turns to prairie grasslands. This vast contrast in habitat from deep northern coniferous forests, to prairie grasslands in the south, produces an equally diverse offering of birdlife.

Backyard Birds

Because of the diverse habitat in the Midwest, the most common backyard birds are among the most common backyard birds throughout North America: black-capped chickadee, white-breasted nuthatch, house finch, house wren, northern cardinal, rose-breasted grosbeak, Baltimore oriole, ruby-throated hummingbird, American robin, eastern bluebird, barn swallow, purple martin, blue jay, downy woodpecker, northern flicker, mourning dove, ring-necked pheasant, killdeer, dark-eyed junco, song sparrow, yellow warbler, cedar waxwing, brown-headed cowbird, red-winged blackbird, gray catbird, mallard duck and Canada goose.

Regional Birds

In the northern forests, ruffed grouse, dark-eyed juncos, evening grosbeaks, red and white-winged crossbills, pine siskin, spruce grouse and red-breasted nuthatch breed. South of the great forests, in the more open, abandoned fields, croplands and farms, where woodlots, lakes and streams are plentiful, birders hear mourning doves coo, and eastern towhee sing. Also common are black-capped chickadee, white-breasted nuthatch, Baltimore oriole, common grackle, red-eyed vireo, and blue-winged and golden-winged warblers.

In the southernmost regions of the Midwest, the birdlife is different again. Bobwhite whistle from fence posts, red-winged blackbird, American goldfinch, marsh wren, great blue heron and Canada geese are seen. The Great Lakes attract deep water and diving ducks, as well as gulls and terns.

What's happening in your backyard this month
  • Bird feeders are active with winter residents from dawn to dusk.
  • Northern invaders--pine siskins, redpolls, evening grosbeaks--may be present.
  • Cooper's hawks and sharp-shinned hawks are preying on feeder birds.
  • Cavity nesting birds are roosting in nesting cavities or bird houses.
  • Varied thrushes may be eating hulled sunflower seeds and mealworms at feeders.
What to do in your backyard this month
  • Maintain at least one feeders in each of the natural niches.
  • Remove ice and snow from feeders and refill them morning and evening.
  • Use a heater in the bird baths to keep water ice free.
  • Use baffles above and/or below feeders to keep squirrels off.
 

 

 

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