The species listed below are just a few of the more than two hundred species of birds that are found in the Portage Lake/Chain of Lakes area. This selection of birds focuses on species that are unusual in the area or that are associated with Portage Lake or the Chain of Lakes. The lakes in the Chain of Lakes are typically large, particularly Portage Lake, making them reliable places for wintering migratory waterfowl such as Canvasbacks, Bufflehead, and Common Loons. During the summer time, the marshes and forests along the water are filled with breeding birds, including Red-winged Blackbirds, Common Yellowthroats, and Belted Kingfishers. Other birds are attracted to the yards and brush piles of the waterfront, including Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and American Tree Sparrows.
The birds. . .
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
Bonaparte’s Gull (Chroicocephalus philadelphia)
Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)
Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)
Canvasback (Aythya valisineria)
Common Loon (Gavia immer)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Red-Headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus)
Red-Winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)
Ruby-Throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)
Tree Sparrow (Spizella arborea)
Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)
Note: Some additional resources listed under “Further Reading” may require a subscription to access, such as The Birds of North America Online. This comprehensive guide to many aspects of bird species’ life and behavior is a wonderful resource for all with a subscription. The title pages are viewable to the public and also contain a wealth of information. For those who want to read the entire species accounts, some libraries offer free access to card holders, such as the Ann Arbor District Library. A personal subscription helps support the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s conservation, research, and education projects.
The above bird pages as well as the “Be a bird” story were written by Sarah Toner who was 16 in 2014 and is a highly-respected birder. Sarah spent many summers at her grandparents home on Portage Lake.
Some Stories. . .
Birds of the Seasons by Raburn Howland
So you want to be a bird . . . by Sarah Toner