Cold spring delays some bird migration in the Upper Peninsula

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UPPER PENINSULA, Mich. (WJMN) – Birds returning to the Upper Peninsula is a sure sign that warmer days are here. Because of this year’s unusually cold spring, that’s delayed some birds from coming back when they usually do.

“It’s really kind of put a damper to many of the typical spring birds that many folks enjoy,” said Brian Roell, Wildlife Biologist, Michigan Department of Natural Resources. “Species like our warblers or sparrows aren’t back yet. Our heartier… in fact, I’m looking at a yellow-rumped warbler right now picking up seed right here at my house and they’re kind of the first ones on the wave of warbler migration so that means others shouldn’t be too far behind.”

Roell says birds like the rose-breasted grosbeak, orioles and hummingbirds are not here yet.

“I kind of almost pattern those out with Mother’s Day,” said Roell. “Have you’re feeders up by Mother’s Day is kind of what I always tell folks. They’re not even anywhere close yet to the Upper Peninsula.”

Roell explains that bird migration is based off of things like lighting patterns, moon phases, day length and climate.

“Your warblers and your sparrows, they need insects and they are timing that return to the growth of insects and those things just aren’t here,” said Roell.

As for bigger birds, Roell says they’re migration is on schedule.

“A lot of the water fall was kind of on schedule,” said Roell. “Your Canada Geese and a lot of your ducks and those kind of things, they were pretty much on schedule. In fact, I’ve seen goslings already with the geese and that’s just recent here in the last couple of days. It mostly affects more of the smaller birds. Red-winged black bird and that sized bird, robins, they’ve kind of came back.”

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