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Not All Birds Fly South for the Winter

Despite what you may think, not every type of bird will migrate during the colder months. You may have noticed a few in your backyard this winter, such as chickadees, nuthatches, cardinals or blue jays. Most birds will head toward warmer climates, but why do winter birds in Michigan stick around?

To better understand why some birds stick around all year, know why a majority will migrate. There are many reasons, but they will differ for different species. Most birds will fly south for survival, and then return north to reproduce. These birds want to go where there is plenty of food and protection, and an open water source.

In the colder climates, birds will not have that sufficient food source through the winter, since the ground will freeze and natural food sources are scarce. Instinctually, the birds will know when to leave when there is less sunlight and the days become shorter. 

Migration routes are typically north-south. Many Michigan birds will travel toward Mexico and the Caribbean, and may even go as far south as South America. These birds will leave for the winter and then return for the spring, like the robin or sparrow. In fact, there will be some species where flying south for the winter means coming to Michigan from environments that are even further north.

The reason some birds will stick around for all 12 months is because survival here is more feasible than migration. Birds can weigh the danger and energy used for migration against the likelihood that they can survive where they already are. To do so, these birds need to get creative.

As the seasons change, so will their diets. The common food sources will become depleted, so the birds that stay will search for sustenance elsewhere. Instead of insects, worms or berries, these birds will eat twigs, stalks, nuts, or garbage instead. More predatory birds will prey on squirrels or chipmunks. 

When you find a bird near your home or neighborhood during the winter, it is typical for two things: food and shelter. Those who stay have developed a heavy winter plumage to help them in the lower temperatures, but they will still seek a place is out of the wind. They build nests to help keep them insulated, and they will usually build these nests in existing cover, which can be closer to your house. 

Also close to your house is a source of food. Obviously, if you keep a bird feeder outside, then the birds will flock to it for their meals. Otherwise, they will take whatever they can get, either by foraging or by going through your garbage, as previously mentioned. 

Winter birds will only be a problem to you or your home if they move in. The corners of your roof make ideal spots for shelter, and your gutters can also be a spot for them to find water. If they build their nests in your gutters or chimney, that can create a problem. Installing a gutter screen or a chimney cap can come in handy to stop any unwelcome guests.

Simply put, the birds that stay in Michigan during the winter are just trying to survive, and they should not cause much of a problem for you or your home. However, if they have flocked toward your house as a spot to nest, stop them before it becomes a serious problem. That is when you want to call Van Den Berge Pest Control. 

We can help protect your house from unwanted guests, not just in the winter, but throughout the entire year. Call Van Den Berge Pest Control today at 616-392-7367. Trust the locally owned, widely renowned experts at Van Den Berge Pest Control for all of your pest needs. With over 100 years of combined experience throughout the Holland, MI-based pest control team, you know you’re in good hands with our state-certified experts.

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