Get Up Close with Michigan Hummingbirds Species On Your Next Birdwatching

green and brown hummingbird

Last Updated: April 25, 2021

The electric buzz of hummers' shuffling and frolicking around a feeder or tree is always a lovely sight.

Luckily, you are sure to attract a certain species of hummingbirds in Michigan - the ruby-throated hummingbirds. The rest of their lot only visit by chance, while some are rarely ever sighted.

Remember:

If you spot the other species listed in this article, it’d be best to whip out your camera for a snapshot or grab your binocs to savor the moment.

Moreover, your sighting can be used for research if you report to the appropriate quarters.

6 Types of Hummingbirds In Michigan 

In this part, I’m going to make your Michigan hummingbird identification a bit easier, starting from their being common or uncommon to Michigan or rarely, their characteristics, and down to which part of the year you’d most likely find them.

1.  Ruby-Throated Hummingbird (Common)

hummingbird drinking

  • Length:2.8 to 3.5 inches
  • Weight: 2 to 6 grams

The ruby-throated hummingbird is small, ok. All hummingbirds are tiny. And the ruby-throated hummer is just as wonderfully colored as most.

These hummers are emerald green on the back up to the crown, with white grey underparts, sometimes speckled with green.

They owe their gem-like name to the iridescent red throat feathers of adult males, called a gorget. It glitters under sunlight but is hardly noticeable in low light.

Rambling about feathers aside, ruby-throated hummingbirds are the most common Michigan hummingbirds. They'd visit a backyard if there's a feeder with sugar water in a safe corner, or flowering plants to sap energy-giving nectar.

These tiny birds come to Michigan between May and April during the breeding season. And then leave around September, a little before winter.

By the way, hummers enter a state of torpor daily by slowing their heart rate for warmth to survive the night. They are almost lifeless in this state.


2. Rufous Hummingbird (Uncommon)

brown and red rufous hummingbird

  • Length: 2.8 to 3.5 inches
  • Weight: 2 to 5 grams

The Rufous hummingbirds are regular visitors to the state but rarely ever seen by backyard birdwatchers.

They mostly come to the state close to the end of the year. Don't worry. Rufous hummers bear the cold better than most hummingbirds. Essentially, you’ll see a hummingbird in Michigan between November and December.

Adult male rufous hummingbirds are brightly colored orange feathers on their back and belly. They have an iridescent red throat similar to the ruby-throated hummingbird's. Females are often green on the back, with patches of rufous (reddish-brown) all over.

They are much more aggressive than ruby-throated hummingbirds and considered pugnacious or hostile.

In the unlikely case that they stay in your yard in Michigan or anywhere, life becomes difficult for other hummers.

It's hilarious because they do this even when they are just winter visitors to a state. If this ever happens, set up multiple feeding stations, far apart from each other, and that should do it.


3. Mexican-Violetear Hummingbird (Rare)

Mixed color Mexian-Violetear

  • Length: 3.8 to 4.7 inches
  • Weight: 5.9 grams

As their name implies, they are familiar residents in Mexico and much of Central America. But they've been known to wander into Michigan yearly and as far north as Canada.

The Mexican Violetear hummingbirds stand out with patches of iridescent green mixed with violet-blue on their cheek and chest feathers and a streak of black crossing the flight and tail feathers.

They are just as shifty in flight as most hummers, but fairly larger in size than most.

Mexican-violetear hummingbirds are tirelessly vocal and are usually given away by their calls.

They usually perch high in trees and sing a metallic chipping tune.


4. White-Eared Hummingbird (Rare)

black head and white-eared hummingbird

  • Length: 3 inches
  • Weight: 3 to 5 grams

The white-eared hummingbird is native to Mexico, where it's popular as well. But it's an uncommon sighting in US border states and predictably rare in Michigan.

Again, you'd be a researcher's best friend if you call in a sighting of one of these birds in Michigan. A photo and audio would mean the world.

White-eared hummingbirds are colorful and have a distinctive orange/red-colored bill with a black tip. And, of course, a white streak along the side of both ears that reaches the neck.


5. Anna's Hummingbird (Uncommon)

Purple and gray Anna's Hummingbird

  • Length: 3.9 inches 
  • Weight: 3 to 6 grams

Anna's hummingbirds are medium-sized birds, well, for hummingbirds.

You'd find them in abundance along the Pacific Coast, in states like California, but will be something of an accident to see them in Michigan. Only a few sightings of these tiny buddies have been documented in the past two decades.

You can tell you've sighted the miracle if you see a rainbow-like bird perched or hovering around the tree. Their iridescent green and rose-pink gorget creates this illusion.

They put up a diving display in a vain fashion, making their iridescent plumage glitter under sunlight. A male literally climbs over a hundred feet in the air, glides back down, and bursts back to life in a loud squeak with its tail feathers.


6. Broad-billed Hummingbird (Rare)

blue green broad-billed hummingbird

  • Length: N/A
  • Weight: 3 to 4 grams

Broad-billed hummers are another hummingbird species in Michigan with astoundingly colorful feathers. They are mind-blowing specks of blue when you look at them from a distance.

But don't let that fool you.

They have a primarily iridescent blue and green plumage. And unsurprisingly broad, red bills.

The only thing is, they can only be seen freely or easily in Mexico, and maybe some parts south of Arizona.

The last time a broad-billed hummingbird was seen in Michigan was in 2000.

Who knows, you may be the nature lover who discovers the first sighting of these birds in Michigan after over twenty years. 

FAQs About Hummingbirds in Michigan 

What Season Do You Most Likely Find Hummers In Michigan?

Hummingbird season starts in Michigan after the cold winter has passed. This is usually around April and May, but you should put out a feeder Mid-April to invite early birds.

You can even put out a nectar feeder in November or December. Rufous hummingbirds are known to visit the state around this time. But you'd have to maintain regular cleaning regardless of their attendance.

Where Do Hummingbirds Nest In Michigan?

Hummingbirds build thimble-sized nests from soft plants such as moss, lichen, feathers, and bark bits. They hold their nest materials together with spider webs.

They strategically enclave the tiny nests in the fork of a tree branch. Protects the nestlings from the weather and predators. You may have a hard time spotting one.

Prepare your backyard for the Hummingbirds like in this video:

We Live In Michigan, Is It Legal To Keep Hummers As Pets?

No, you can't. It's illegal under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 to possess a migratory bird like hummingbirds.

Aside from the law, they can't survive in an encasement. They are built to fly. And they require tender care for their delicate bodies. Regardless, you can get a permit to care for hummingbirds for a token if you qualify. 

When Do Hummingbirds Leave Michigan?

Hummingbirds leave the state between September and October, right before the winter cold. 

When Do Hummingbirds Return to Michigan?

Michigan hummingbirds return from their winter migration away from Michigan in May. But some early birds start coming in from April. 

Wrapping Up

The easiest hummingbirds to attract into any Michigan home are ruby-throated hummingbirds.

All you have to do is put up a feeder of nectar/sugar water. And make your garden hummer-friendly with red flowering plants like honeysuckles and cardinal flowers.

So, if you ask me what your chances of attracting hummingbirds are in Michigan, I’d say 90 percent. But don’t expect a variety.

Also, check out some simple ways to make your backyard bird-friendly and attractive to even more birds. You'd welcome a tune of hummingbirds soon enough.

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