Michigan is a state of many seasons. It can become bitterly cold because of bordering the Great Lakes, and it can also be sweltering hot during the summer months. There are dunes, dark forests, and even beaches in this state, and the birds of Michigan take full advantage of this vast wilderness.
While you might not think of Michigan as a hummingbird hot spot, it’s actually a great place to see a few of them!
The most common hummingbird in Michigan is the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, and the rare hummingbirds of Michigan are the Rufous Hummingbird, Broad-billed Hummingbird, Green Violet-eared Hummingbird, and the White-eared Hummingbird.
Spotting hummingbirds, especially the ones that aren’t native, can be a difficult task. To give you the best chance possible, we’ve compiled this post with facts about all the hummingbirds in Michigan.
Hummingbirds in Michigan
In order to know which species of hummingbird you’re seeing, it’s a good idea to be familiar with all the different hummingbirds in Michigan. In this post, we will discuss the size, diet, and where to spot all five Michigan hummingbird species, as well as some extra fun facts unique to each bird.
So read on, and we hope you enjoy your birdwatching!
Common Hummingbirds in Michigan
The only hummingbird species that is common in Michigan is the Ruby-throated hummingbird. These birds will inhabit areas in Michigan more frequently, and are also more likely to stay in the state longer than other species.
- Ruby-Throated Hummingbird Size: 3 – 3.5 inches
- Ruby-Throated Hummingbird Diet: Hummingbird nectar and tiny insects
- Where To Spot A Ruby-Throated Hummingbird: Anywhere they can, they will seek out blossoms with plenty of nectar. These hummingbirds frequently stop at hummingbird feeders at private residences.
If you see a hummingbird in the United States, there’s a good chance it’s a Ruby-throated Hummingbird. These are the most common hummingbird species in the United States, and they can also be found in other parts of North America, and even in South America!
Just because it’s easier to spot the Ruby-throated Hummingbird than other varieties doesn’t mean it’s boring to see, though. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are stunningly beautiful.
The red neck and throat that gives the Ruby-throated Hummingbird its name actually has a more clinical title. This part of the throat is often brilliantly colored in many hummingbird species, but when you refer to this bit of anatomy, you could also call it the gorget!
Male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have a body and wings that are a gorgeous, iridescent green with a shining ruby throat and white collar. Females of the species look similar, but lack the ruby throat, and are generally duller all around.
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds aren’t just common; they are the true connoisseurs of the home bird feeder when they aren’t practicing migration. Stock fresh sugar water in your nectar feeder and you’re sure to have a Ruby-throated Hummingbird visiting your Michigan home in no time.
Rare Hummingbirds In Michigan
The following hummingbirds aren’t native to Michigan, and can only be seen as visitors to the area, or when they are flying through to reach other parts of the United States.
- Rufous Hummingbird Size: 2.8-3.5 inches
- Rufous Hummingbird Diet: Nectar and tiny insects
- Where To Spot A Rufous Hummingbird: In open areas like clearings and the edges of forests. When hummingbird nectar feeders are open, they can occasionally be seen there.
Usually breeding off the Pacific coast in states like Washington, the Rufous Hummingbird will also make a temporary home in Michigan. They breed, build their nests, and lay their eggs in the summer before flying further south for the winter.
Rust-colored Rufous Hummingbird male has a shimmering, flaming orange neck. The color of the females is closer to brown than rust, and they have little white spots rather than a brilliant shimmering neck.
Little and territorial, the Rufous Hummingbird might be a lovely sight to see out in the wild, but having them around your bird feeder can be detrimental to attracting other species. Even though they are one of the smallest species of hummingbirds around, they are also considered to be some of the most territorial.
You may also hear the Rufous Hummingbird called ‘fearless’, and we think this is a pretty accurate description! The small but mighty hummingbirds will chase off any other hummingbird they perceive as being in their territory, and this includes ones that are much larger than they are!
- Broad-billed Hummingbird Size: 3.1 – 3.9 inches
- Broad-billed Hummingbird Diet: Insects and fresh nectar from the flowers of native plants.
- Where To Spot A Broad-billed Hummingbird: Find them in areas with fresh water, like ponds and streams, and open woodlands. You can also see them around bird feeders that contain fresh sugar water.
The Broad-billed Hummingbird is one of the most striking and unusual-looking hummingbirds you can see in North America.
These beautiful creatures are a deep, shimmering green all over their bodies with a blue throat. They have a very distinctive prominent reddish bill with a black tip, which is where they get their name.
Females and immature hummingbirds of the species are paler overall and lack the bright red bill. Females have a white stripe behind their eyes.
The Broad-billed Hummingbird is only found in a small part of the Southwestern United States as they are mostly inhabitants of Mexico. In the US, they don’t often stray from their breeding grounds in Arizona and New Mexico. However, infrequently one will be seen in Michigan.
If you’re lucky enough to see a Broad-billed Hummingbird in Michigan, be sure to take a picture! These beautiful creatures are a real treat to see.
Mexican Violetear Hummingbird
- Mexican Violetear Hummingbird Size: 4.25 – 4.5 inches
- Mexican Violetear Hummingbird Diet: A great range of tiny flowers’ nectar.
- Where To Spot A Mexican Violetear Hummingbird: In Michigan, they are hardly ever seen at feeders since they prefer open spaces and overgrown meadows.
If you see the Mexico Violet-ear Hummingbird in Michigan, you’ve been treated to something very special. These stunning hummingbirds are native to Mexico and Central America, and only recently have they been spotted in numbers farther north.
These hummingbirds are easy to tell apart from the more common, native Michigan hummingbirds because the pattern of their plumage is quite different.
They don’t have a stand-out throat color, and the male and females of the species look nearly identical. This means the Mexican Violet-ear Hummingbird is not sexually dimorphic, which is what you call a species of animal that changes in appearance according to its sex.
Their main hue is shimmering grass green, with bronze-colored feathers on the hindquarters and tail. The violet-blue “ear” feathers may be connected by a band that runs around the chin. On the upper breast, there is a large violet patch in the center.
Like the Rufous Hummingbird, the Mexican Violet-ear Hummingbird can be quite territorial, and being a bit larger than other territorial hummingbirds, it isn’t hard for them to clear out all the other species from the areas they perceive as their territory!
- White-eared Hummingbird Size: 3.5 – 3.9 inches
- White-eared Hummingbird Diet: Nectar and small insects.
- Where To Spot A White-eared Hummingbird: Pine-oak forests, mountain canyons, and Douglas Fir trees.
One of the hardest-to-spot hummingbirds in Michigan is undoubtedly the White-eared Hummingbird. Usually, these ornate little hummingbirds spend most of their time in warmer climates. For example, they breed in Arizona, Mexico, and other parts of Central America.
This means Michigan is a long way away from where they usually roost, but there have been enough confirmed sightings of the White-eared Hummingbird to consider it a vagrant, or non-native species that can be seen in the area.
The male White-eared Hummingbird’s breast and upper plumage are primarily emerald green, with the majority of the tail feathers being white. The tail is straight and black. His throat is a shiny, green-blue turquoise and they have a violet and black crown and face, and of course, a white stripe that goes behind the head, ear-to-ear.
Females of the species look similar, just not as brilliant in color. Their throats are speckled with dark turquoise feathers, and while they lack the black head, the white ear stripe is still present.
The White-eared Hummingbird is a solitary species, and the only time the males and females will interact is during mating. Males don’t help with the nesting process or the raising of chicks, and there is no bond between the male and female of the species.
Final Thoughts on Hummingbirds in Michigan
Many hummingbird enthusiasts in the Eastern US see one hummingbird frequently: the Ruby-throated Hummingbird. While this is the most widespread species in the East, those that are patient and look closely can see some other visiting hummingbird species in Michigan!
If you want to attract hummingbirds to your yard, you can plant colorful flowers that they love or hang a hummingbird feeder. Be sure to clean the feeder regularly to avoid mold and bacteria growth. Before you know it, you just might have some of these amazing little creatures flying around your yard!