Prothonotary Warbler bringing the yellow

Prothonotary Warbler. by Kevin Povenz

Prothonotary Warbler by Kevin Povenz

All About Birds shares that the Prothonotary Warbler got its name from the bright yellow robes worn by papal clerks, known as prothonotaries, in the Roman Catholic church. 

Kevin took this photo back in June at Grand Ravines North Park. See more in his Birds gallery on Flickr!

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Roseate Spoonbill in Michigan

Roseate Spoonbill in Michigan by Bill VanderMolen

Roseate Spoonbill in Michigan by Bill VanderMolen

The Detroit Free Press reports that bird-watchers are flocking to Saline in hopes of seeing this rare roseate spoonbill:

This is the first record of a roseate spoonbill in Michigan, said Molly Keenan, communications and marketing coordinator at Michigan Audubon in an email to the Free Press.

Michigan DNR biologists believe the bird either escaped from a local zoo or is very confused, according to a Facebook post from Saline police.

Roseate spoonbills are typically found on the Gulf Coast, in the Caribbean and in Central and South America, but they have been spotted in neighboring states, said Benjamin Winger, curator of birds at the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology and an assistant professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

“It was really only a matter of time before one was documented in Michigan,” he said.

In the late summer, it’s normal for young water birds such as spoonbills, herons and storks to wander, Winger said.

“Sometimes, they wander a bit too far,” Winger said.

I’m not gonna definitively tell you to believe the zoologist over the DNR, but I am gonna look hard at the DNR & ask if they remember their decades of denial around cougars in Michigan.

Bill took this photo at Washtenaw County Wilderness Park. You can see another angle (with an egret) right here & see 211 more feathered finds in his Bird Life List gallery on Flickr.

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(Tiny) Home for Sale

Home for Sale! by Fire Fighter's Wife

Home for Sale! by Fire Fighter’s Wife

Like much of the rest of the country, Michigan has been seeing skyrocketing home prices.

Beth may have found a solution, but she notes that the neighbors always leave their sprinklers on, which is a little bit annoying but also a source of constant irrigation. 😂 See more in her landscape gallery on Flickr!

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Marching at the Marsh

Marching at the Marsh by PKHyperFocal

Marching at the Marsh by PKHyperFocal

This dude definitely has swag! Here’s a few mostly male facts about red-winged blackbirds from the excellent All About Birds website:

The Red-winged Blackbird is a highly polygynous species, meaning males have many female mates – up to 15 in some cases. In some populations 90 percent of territorial males have more than one female nesting on their territories. But all is not as it seems: one-quarter to one-half of nestlings turn out to have been sired by someone other than the territorial male.

Male Red-winged Blackbirds fiercely defend their territories during the breeding season, spending more than a quarter of daylight hours in territory defense. He chases other males out of the territory and attacks nest predators, sometimes going after much larger animals, including horses and people.

The oldest recorded Red-winged Blackbird was 15 years, 9 months old. It was banded in New Jersey in 1967, and found alive, but injured in Michigan in 1983. It was able to be released after recovering from its injuries.

PK caught this red-winged blackbird on patrol last week. See more in their Feathers gallery on Flickr

Read up on Red-winged Blackbirds on Michigan in Pictures!

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Sunset Eagle

Sunset Eagle by cncphotos

Sunset Eagle by Charlie Schwartz

I think this is the best bald eagle photo I’ve ever seen.

See more in Charlie’s Birds album on Flickr!

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Great Horned Owlet

Great Horned Owlet by David Marvin

Great Horned Owlet by David Marvin

David writes:

A Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) family has made Fenner Nature Center its home this spring. A wee downy owlet is currently hopping from tree branch to tree branch in the dense stand of white pine trees (Pinus strobus) on the northeast side of the property.

Video of the owlet and a couple brief appearances by its parents.

Due to the density of the foliage and the height at which the owls are perched, lighting has been a challenge when photographing and capturing video of these majestic birds.

Head over to David’s Flickr for more photos of this cute little ball of fluff!

More owls on Michigan in Pictures!

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Construction Season: Blue Heron Edition

Perfect Shadow by Jiafan(John) Xu

Perfect Shadow by Jiafan(John) Xu

Jiafan definitely got the perfect shadow in this shot of a pair of herons building their nest. Head over to his Flickr for more shots of this industrious pair!

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Signs of Spring: Red-winged Blackbirds

Red winged Blackbird by Reji TV

Red-winged Blackbird by Reji TV

One of my favorite signs of spring in Michigan is hearing the calls of red-winged blackbirds. I started hearing them last week in northern Michigan & just saw these pics today in our Absolute Michigan group on Flickr. The University of Michigan Museum of Zoology’s Animal Diversity Web listing for Agelaius phoeniceus (red-winged blackbird) tells us:

The range of red-winged blackbirds extends from southern Alaska at its northern most point, to the Yucatan peninsula in the south and covers the greater part of the continent reaching from the Pacific coast of California and Canada to the eastern seaboard. Winter ranges for red-winged blackbirds vary by geographic location. Northern populations migrate south to the southern United States and Central America beginning in September or October (or occasionally as early as August). Most western and middle American populations are non-migratory.


Red-winged blackbirds roost and breed in a variety of habitats, but tend to prefer wetlands. They have been known to live in fresh and saltwater marshes. On drier ground, red-winged blackbirds gravitate towards open fields (often in agricultural areas) and lightly wooded deciduous forests. In winter red-winged blackbirds are most often found in open fields and croplands.

…As migratory birds, red-winged blackbirds share many characteristics with related species. They are strong fliers that will often migrate in flocks of a thousand or more. Roosting is often communal, resulting in large, centralized populations. Red-winged blackbirds are largely diurnal, spending most of their day foraging. Males defend territories during the mating season. As the mating season progresses, both males and females will spend more time within their territory or the territory of their mate. Although fighting among red-winged blackbirds is not all that common, even among males, it is known to occur. Males chase females at top speed during breeding season. Because of their broad range and tendency to colonize large roosting areas, red-winged blackbirds are extremely common, and are easy to find in the mating season when singing and sexual displays make them more visible.

This great web resource includes many more photos and blackbird calls. Go there!

Reji TV took this photo near Auburn Hills. See more in their Birds gallery on Flickr.

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Mallards will be mallards

Mallards will be mallards by Glen Suszko

Mallards will be Mallards by Glen Suszko

Here’s the latest addition to the Michigan in Pictures Duckie Gallery, which for some reason is a thing. ;) 

Head over to Glen’s Flickr for many more great photos!

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Snowy Owls are Back!

Snowy Owls are Back by Kevin Povenz

Snowy Owls are Back by Kevin Povenz

While these arctic owls are not found in the summer, the Michigan DNR shares that Snowy Owls & other winter visitors spend time in our state during the winter months:

Just because the leaves have fallen from the trees and there is a chill in the air is no reason to put away your binoculars. Winter offers unique viewing opportunities. Many of our summer resident birds migrate to warmer summer climates. Still, there are several species of birds that migrate from Canada and find Michigan the perfect winter temperature. Winter is the only time several of these species can be found in Michigan.

Two of the largest migrants are the snowy owl and the great gray owl. Snowy owls can be found moving into Michigan during winter when the food supply on the arctic tundra is in short supply. Snowy owls have been recorded as far south as Lansing, Michigan. Because they rarely see humans on their northern homes, they are not timid and can be easily viewed for long periods of time.

Kevin took this photo back in the winter of 2016, but he’s been hearing that they are back in Michigan now. See more in his Birds of Prey album on Flickr & be sure to follow Kevin Povenz Photos on Facebook.

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