Bird Checklist
for Nichols Arboretum - Ann Arbor, Michigan

Washtenaw County

206 species

Last updated - October 27, 2011

Nichols Arboretum is probably the single best birding site in Washtenaw County, and it should be on any southeast Michigan birder's list of high-priority birding locations, especially for spring passerine migration. "The Arb," as it is called by most birders and other regular visitors, has 123 acres of varied habitat in a setting with an elevation change of 270 feet. Its size and breadth of character, a breadth not diminished by the Huron River, which bounds the Arb on the north, account for the diversity of avian wildlife that may be found here. The river boundary is over eight-tenths of a mile long. The Arb's natural areas together with its considerable assortment of botanical collections make it a place enjoyed by visitors of all feather.  This birding site and its location are described at the bottom of this document.


Checklist of the Birds of Nichols Arboretum

No claim is made that this is an "official" checklist, but it can be considered a reliable guide to the birds that may be found at Nichols Arboretum.
 

English NameScientific Name
DUCKS, GEESE, and SWANSAnatidae
  Canada Goose  Branta canadensis
  Mute Swan  Cygnus olor
  Trumpeter Swan  Cygnus buccinator
  Wood Duck  Aix sponsa
  Gadwall  Anas strepera
  American Wigeon  Anas americana
  American Black Duck  Anas rubripes
  Mallard  Anas platyrhynchos
  Green-winged Teal  Anas crecca
  Canvasback  Aythya valisineria
  Redhead  Aythya americana
  Greater Scaup  Aythya marila
  Lesser Scaup (T)  Aythya affinis
  Bufflehead  Bucephala albeola
  Common Goldeneye  Bucephala clangula
  Hooded Merganser  Lophodytes cucullatus
  Common Merganser  Mergus merganser
  Red-breasted Merganser  Mergus serrator
PARTRIDGES, GROUSE, TURKEYS, and OLD WORLD QUAILPhasianidae
  Ring-necked Pheasant  Phasianus colchicus
NEW WORLD QUAILOdontophoridae
  Northern Bobwhite (T)  Colinus virginianus
LOONSGaviidae
  Common Loon  Gavia immer
GREBESPodicipedidae
  Pied-billed Grebe  Podilymbus podiceps
CORMORANTSPhalacrocoracidae
  Double-crested Cormorant  Phalacrocorax auritus
BITTERNS, HERONS, and ALLIESArdeidae
  American Bittern  Botaurus lentiginosus
  Great Blue Heron  Ardea herodias
  Great Egret  Ardea alba
  Green Heron  Butorides virescens
  Black-crowned Night-Heron  Nycticorax nycticorax
  Yellow-crowned Night-Heron [Casual]  Nyctanassa violacea
NEW WORLD VULTURESCathartidae
  Turkey Vulture  Cathartes aura
KITES, HAWKS, EAGLES, and ALLIESAccipitridae
  Osprey  Pandion haliaetus
  Bald Eagle  Haliaeetus leucocephalus
  Northern Harrier  Circus cyaneus
  Sharp-shinned Hawk  Accipiter striatus
  Cooper's Hawk  Accipiter cooperii
  Northern Goshawk  Accipiter gentilis
  Red-shouldered Hawk  Buteo lineatus
  Broad-winged Hawk  Buteo platypterus
  Red-tailed Hawk  Buteo jamaicensis
CARACARAS and FALCONSFalconidae
  American Kestrel  Falco sparverius
  Merlin  Falco columbarius
  Peregrine Falcon  Falco peregrinus
RAILS, GALLINULES, and COOTSRallidae
  American Coot  Fulica americana
CRANESGruidae
  Sandhill Crane  Grus canadensis
PLOVERS and LAPWINGSCharadriidae
  Killdeer  Charadrius vociferus
SANDPIPERS, PHALAROPES, and ALLIESScolopacidae
  Spotted Sandpiper  Actitis macularius
  Solitary Sandpiper  Tringa solitaria
  American Woodcock  Scolopax minor
GULLS, TERNS, and SKIMMERSLaridae
  Bonaparte's Gull  Chroicocephalus philadelphia
  Ring-billed Gull  Larus delawarensis
  Herring Gull  Larus argentatus
  Caspian Tern  Hydroprogne caspia
  Black Tern (T)  Chlidonias niger
PIGEONS and DOVESColumbidae
  Rock Pigeon  Columba livia
  Mourning Dove  Zenaida macroura
CUCKOOS, ROADRUNNERS, and ANISCuculidae
  Yellow-billed Cuckoo  Coccyzus americanus
  Black-billed Cuckoo  Coccyzus erythropthalmus
TYPICAL OWLSStrigidae
  Eastern Screech-Owl  Megascops asio
  Great Horned Owl  Bubo virginianus
  Long-eared Owl (T)  Asio otus
  Northern Saw-whet Owl  Aegolius acadicus
GOATSUCKERSCaprimulgidae
  Common Nighthawk  Chordeiles minor
  Eastern Whip-poor-will (T)  Caprimulgus vociferus
SWIFTSApodidae
  Chimney Swift  Chaetura pelagica
HUMMINGBIRDSTrochilidae
  Ruby-throated Hummingbird  Archilochus colubris
KINGFISHERSAlcedinidae
  Belted Kingfisher  Megaceryle alcyon
WOODPECKERS and ALLIESPicidae
  Red-headed Woodpecker  Melanerpes erythrocephalus
  Red-bellied Woodpecker  Melanerpes carolinus
  Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  Sphyrapicus varius
  Downy Woodpecker  Picoides pubescens
  Hairy Woodpecker  Picoides villosus
  Black-backed Woodpecker  Picoides arcticus
  Northern Flicker  Colaptes auratus
  Pileated Woodpecker  Dryocopus pileatus
TYRANT FLYCATCHERSTyrannidae
  Olive-sided Flycatcher  Contopus cooperi
  Eastern Wood-Pewee  Contopus virens
  Yellow-bellied Flycatcher  Empidonax flaviventris
  Acadian Flycatcher  Empidonax virescens
  Alder Flycatcher  Empidonax alnorum
  Willow Flycatcher  Empidonax traillii
  Least Flycatcher  Empidonax minimus
  Eastern Phoebe  Sayornis phoebe
  Great Crested Flycatcher  Myiarchus crinitus
  Tropical/Couch's Kingbird [Accidental]  Tyrannus melancholicus/couchii
  Eastern Kingbird  Tyrannus tyrannus
SHRIKESLaniidae
  Northern Shrike  Lanius excubitor
VIREOSVireonidae
  White-eyed Vireo  Vireo griseus
  Bell's Vireo [Casual]  Vireo bellii
  Yellow-throated Vireo  Vireo flavifrons
  Blue-headed Vireo  Vireo solitarius
  Warbling Vireo  Vireo gilvus
  Philadelphia Vireo  Vireo philadelphicus
  Red-eyed Vireo  Vireo olivaceus
JAYS, MAGPIES, and CROWSCorvidae
  Blue Jay  Cyanocitta cristata
  American Crow  Corvus brachyrhynchos
LARKSAlaudidae
  Horned Lark  Eremophila alpestris
SWALLOWSHirundinidae
  Purple Martin  Progne subis
  Tree Swallow  Tachycineta bicolor
  Northern Rough-winged Swallow  Stelgidopteryx serripennis
  Bank Swallow  Riparia riparia
  Cliff Swallow  Petrochelidon pyrrhonota
  Barn Swallow  Hirundo rustica
CHICKADEES and TITMICEParidae
  Black-capped Chickadee  Poecile atricapillus
  Tufted Titmouse  Baeolophus bicolor
NUTHATCHESSittidae
  Red-breasted Nuthatch  Sitta canadensis
  White-breasted Nuthatch  Sitta carolinensis
CREEPERSCerthiidae
  Brown Creeper  Certhia americana
WRENSTroglodytidae
  Carolina Wren  Thryothorus ludovicianus
  House Wren  Troglodytes aedon
  Winter Wren  Troglodytes hiemalis
KINGLETSRegulidae
  Golden-crowned Kinglet  Regulus satrapa
  Ruby-crowned Kinglet  Regulus calendula
OLD WORLD WARBLERS and GNATCATCHERSSylviidae
  Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  Polioptila caerulea
THRUSHESTurdidae
  Eastern Bluebird  Sialia sialis
  Veery  Catharus fuscescens
  Gray-cheeked Thrush  Catharus minimus
  Swainson's Thrush  Catharus ustulatus
  Hermit Thrush  Catharus guttatus
  Wood Thrush  Hylocichla mustelina
  American Robin  Turdus migratorius
MOCKINGBIRDS, THRASHERS, and ALLIESMimidae
  Gray Catbird  Dumetella carolinensis
  Northern Mockingbird  Mimus polyglottos
  Brown Thrasher  Toxostoma rufum
STARLINGS and ALLIESSturnidae
  European Starling  Sturnus vulgaris
WAXWINGSBombycillidae
  Cedar Waxwing  Bombycilla cedrorum
LONGSPURS and ALLIESCalcaridae
  Snow Bunting  Plectrophenax nivalis
WOOD-WARBLERSParulidae
  Blue-winged Warbler  Vermivora pinus
  Golden-winged Warbler  Vermivora chrysoptera
  Tennessee Warbler  Oreothlypis peregrina
  Orange-crowned Warbler  Oreothlypis celata
  Nashville Warbler  Oreothlypis ruficapilla
  Northern Parula  Parula americana
  Yellow Warbler  Dendroica petechia
  Chestnut-sided Warbler  Dendroica pensylvanica
  Magnolia Warbler  Dendroica magnolia
  Cape May Warbler  Dendroica tigrina
  Black-throated Blue Warbler  Dendroica caerulescens
  Yellow-rumped Warbler  Dendroica coronata
  Black-throated Gray Warbler [Accidental]  Dendroica nigrescens
  Black-throated Green Warbler  Dendroica virens
  Hermit Warbler [Accidental]  Dendroica occidentalis
  Blackburnian Warbler  Dendroica fusca
  Yellow-throated Warbler  Dendroica dominica
  Pine Warbler  Dendroica pinus
  Kirtland's Warbler  Dendroica kirtlandii
  Prairie Warbler  Dendroica discolor
  Palm Warbler  Dendroica palmarum
  Bay-breasted Warbler  Dendroica castanea
  Blackpoll Warbler  Dendroica striata
  Cerulean Warbler  Dendroica cerulea
  Black-and-white Warbler  Mniotilta varia
  American Redstart  Setophaga ruticilla
  Prothonotary Warbler  Protonotaria citrea
  Worm-eating Warbler  Helmitheros vermivorum
  Ovenbird  Seiurus aurocapilla
  Northern Waterthrush  Parkesia noveboracensis
  Louisiana Waterthrush  Parkesia motacilla
  Kentucky Warbler  Oporornis formosus
  Connecticut Warbler  Oporornis agilis
  Mourning Warbler  Oporornis philadelphia
  Common Yellowthroat  Geothlypis trichas
  Hooded Warbler  Wilsonia citrina
  Wilson's Warbler  Wilsonia pusilla
  Canada Warbler  Wilsonia canadensis
  Yellow-breasted Chat  Icteria virens
TANAGERSThraupidae
  Summer Tanager  Piranga rubra
  Scarlet Tanager  Piranga olivacea
  Western Tanager [Casual]  Piranga ludoviciana
NEW WORLD SPARROWS and ALLIESEmberizidae
  Eastern Towhee  Pipilo erythrophthalmus
  American Tree Sparrow  Spizella arborea
  Chipping Sparrow  Spizella passerina
  Clay-colored Sparrow  Spizella pallida
  Field Sparrow  Spizella pusilla
  Vesper Sparrow (T)  Pooecetes gramineus
  Lark Sparrow (T)  Chondestes grammacus
  Savannah Sparrow (T)  Passerculus sandwichensis
  Fox Sparrow  Passerella iliaca
  Song Sparrow  Melospiza melodia
  Lincoln's Sparrow  Melospiza lincolnii
  Swamp Sparrow  Melospiza georgiana
  White-throated Sparrow  Zonotrichia albicollis
  Harris's Sparrow  Zonotrichia querula
  White-crowned Sparrow  Zonotrichia leucophrys
  Dark-eyed Junco  Junco hyemalis
CARDINALS and ALLIESCardinalidae
  Northern Cardinal  Cardinalis cardinalis
  Rose-breasted Grosbeak  Pheucticus ludovicianus
  Black-headed Grosbeak [Accidental]  Pheucticus melanocephalus
  Indigo Bunting  Passerina cyanea
BLACKBIRDS and ALLIESIcteridae
  Bobolink  Dolichonyx oryzivorus
  Red-winged Blackbird  Agelaius phoeniceus
  Eastern Meadowlark (T)  Sturnella magna
  Rusty Blackbird (T)  Euphagus carolinus
  Common Grackle  Quiscalus quiscula
  Brown-headed Cowbird  Molothrus ater
  Orchard Oriole  Icterus spurius
  Baltimore Oriole  Icterus galbula
FINCHES and ALLIESFringillidae
  Pine Grosbeak  Pinicola enucleator
  Purple Finch  Carpodacus purpureus
  House Finch  Carpodacus mexicanus
  Red Crossbill  Loxia curvirostra
  White-winged Crossbill  Loxia leucoptera
  Common Redpoll  Carduelis flammea
  Pine Siskin  Carduelis pinus
  American Goldfinch  Carduelis tristis
  Evening Grosbeak  Coccothraustes vespertinus
OLD WORLD SPARROWSPasseridae
  House Sparrow  Passer domesticus
 

TOTAL SPECIES COUNT FOR NICHOLS ARBORETUM:  206

MBRC Review List species are in blue.           top

Species not marked (T) in the checklist or specifically noted below are either in a Mike Kielb checklist through 2002 or were seen by Kielb through 2005 or are mentioned in the Washtenaw County book. This list does not include other species that Kielb may have documented since 2002.

(T) - Tinker, A.D. (1910), and not reported by other sources or in other material reviewed for developing this checklist; likely seen since 1910 but not necessarily recently

Gadwall - Jacco Gelderloos, early spring 2002

American Wigeon - Roger Kuhlman; 12-20-2006

Green-winged Teal - Roger Kuhlman; 12-29-2008

Canvasback - Norman Vesprini; 2-9-2007

Redhead - Norman Vesprini; 2-9-2007

Northern Harrier - Tinker; also others

Tropical/Couch's Kingbird - Mike Kielb; 5-13-2005

Northern Shrike - Ellie Shappirio and others; 10-27-2011

Horned Lark - Tinker; also Jacco Gelderloos, Hein Prinsen; 5-5-2002

Northern Mockingbird - Roger Kuhlman, Karen Drabenstott, Bruce Bowman; 5-6-1999

Western Tanager - seen by many; 5-8-2005

Clay-colored Sparrow - Jacco Gelderloos; 5-15-2002


Another checklist, Mike Kielb's (2002), can be found here (178 species). There is also a 1910 list of A.D. Tinker (138 species). (Both of these checklists are borrowed for publication here, with permission from Nichols Arboretum, as they are not presently available at any University or Nichols Arboretum web site.)

List Contributors

Washtenaw County birders have been the primary contributors to Nichols Arboretum bird checklist records, Mike Kielb primary among them as he stalks Nichols Arboretum continually. I have borrowed birds freely from his book (with John Swales and Dick Wolinski) and checklist. Eleven species came from the Tinker checklist. Some great records in this list are old and some are new--and many good birds on this list can be found at the Arb every year by birders who work at it (and many Arb lovers do!). If you have a species in your Arb list that is not in the above checklist, you are invited to submit it for inclusion.

Soon to be published new material from Mike Kielb will no doubt have some species not in the above checklist.

Location

Nichols Arboretum is located east of the University of Michigan's Central Campus in Ann Arbor. Its west side is bounded by the University of Michigan Medical Center and a cemetery. The Huron River bounds the Arb on the north, and Geddes Avenue and residential areas bound it on the south. Residences bound the Arb on the east. Ann Arbor is 35 miles west of Detroit.

Directions, Maps, and Parking

Directions and parking information accompany the maps.

  Location maps (directions and parking)
  Nichols Arboretum maps (parking and trails)

Description

Two books describe Nichols Arboretum in detail with information about what birds to look for, and where, in spring, summer, fall, and winter. Every birder who wants to explore Washtenaw County, one of the richest birding counties in Michigan, should have the first of these:  The Birds of Washtenaw County, Michigan (1992), by Michael A. Kielb, John M. Swales, and Richard A. Wolinski.  Every Michigan birder, and certainly all who have in mind coming to Michigan to bird, should have the second:  A Birder's Guide to Michigan (2004), by Allen T. Chartier and Jerry Ziarno.

These books have trail maps for the Arb, and you can also find trail maps here.

In these books and in your walks at the Arb you will become familiar with many named and unnamed areas. Some of the former are

  • School Girl's Glen
  • Dow Prairie
  • Heathdale
  • the Peony Garden
  • the Appalachian Glen
  • "the Rhododendron Glen"
  • the Caretaker's Road
  • the Huron River
  • "the river road" (Nichols Drive)
  • "the ridge trail"
  • "the beach"
  • "the valley"
  • "the warbler hot spot" or "warbler way"

Unnamed areas known to all birders include wood piles, scrub along a railroad track, a sometimes stream, meadow-like areas, deciduous woods, glens, and stands of pine trees.

The following description was excerpted The Birds of Washtenaw County, Michigan (1992).

Nichols Arboretum is the best studied ornithological site within Washtenaw County, if not Michigan. The spring migration, in particular, of birds in the Arb has been well studied over the years (Wood 1908; Tinker 1910, 1911; Barrows 1912; Wood and Tinker 1934; Wood 1951; Burrows 1954). The study of migration at this site was continued into the 1970s and 1980s with a complete survey of spring migrants, including peaks in migration, and early and late spring arrival dates (Kielb 1989). In contrast the fall migration is understudied, but there is no doubt that large numbers of migrants pass through. Even in winter interesting birds appear. In the summer, it is a nice place to take a stroll but lacks the abundance of interesting species that occur during other seasons.

... The fall warbler migration is as spectacular here as in the spring. Realistically many of the warblers are frequently drabber in plumage, but they are also much more numerous, and the length of their migration is more protracted than in the spring. The fall warbler migration starts in early August and continues into mid to late October. In late August the Arb can be full of migrants.

During the winter (late November through late February) the Arb is a good area to see winter finches and species that uncommonly spend the winter in the county.

Besides the two books mentioned above, see this web site for other information about birding in Washtenaw County and the rest of southeast Michigan.

Access

Nichols Arboretum is open year round, and admission is free. Hours are 8:00am to dusk, but there are no locked gates, so you need not be concerned about being locked in if you dally past dusk. The only restrooms at the Arb are in the Reader Center (Burnham House) at the Washington Heights entrance on the west side of the Arb, south of the Peony Garden. The hours there are M-F, 8:30am-4:30pm, weekends variable.

Contact

Nichols Arboretum
1600 Washington Heights
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Telephone: (734) 647-7600


Bruce M. Bowman, 2150 Spruceway Ln., Ann Arbor, Michigan 48103   /  (734) 994-5398
Bird Checklist for Nichols Arboretum - Ann Arbor, Michigan Bird Checklist for Nichols Arboretum - Ann Arbor, Michigan     top    home

created by / comments to:  Bruce M. Bowman  bbowman99@comcast.net

created: July 29, 2005
last modified: October 27, 2011

This page has been visited times since July 29, 2005.

URL: http://www.umich.edu/~bbowman/birds/se_mich/nichols_arb.html