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 Northern Waterthrush

Status in Michigan
Fairly Common Transient summer resident

Early Spring Date

Late Fall Date
Note: Early and Late Dates are being researched.
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Count totals in the NMB Databases for Northern Waterthrush.

Use the links below to view the Northern Waterthrush reports in the respective databases.
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Active Database - Summer 2005
View Northern Waterthrush sightings.
Northern Waterthrush Archives Reports
Spring 2005
Fall 2004
Spring 2004
Winter 03-04
Fall 2003 12
Spring 2003 65
Winter 02-03 0
Fall 2002 11
Summer 2002 3
Spring 2002 68
Winter 01-02 0
Fall 2001 7
Summer 2001 4
Spring 2001 19
Winter 00-01 0
Fall 2000 10
Summer 2000 5
Spring 2000 55
Winter 00-99 0
Fall 1999 7
Spring/Summer 1999 6

NMB Database
Seasonal Percentage Graph
For: Northern Waterthrush

Search "The Birds of Michigan" text.

Home - Foreword - Preface - Introduction - Hypothetical List - Literature Cited

Historical Text

Seiurus noveboracensis Water-thrush

Since the Northern and the Grinnell's Water-thrushes cannot be separated in the field, the following account of their status in Michigan is based entirely on specimens. Much information, however, regarding the numbers and distribution of this species can be gathered from observational data. Walkinshaw has found this water-thrush in Calhoun County in late April and an individual on 2 occasions in the third week of the month- April 17, 1938, and April 19, 1936. D. W. Douglass noted the species on Sand Point, Huron County, during the first half of May in 1932 and 1933, but recorded 1 there as early as April 13 in 1931. In the Upper Peninsula, Christofferson observed 5 at Blaney, Schoolcraft County, on May 12, 1938; Bryens generally recorded the species at McMillan, Luce County, about the middle of May or later. Several sight records made- in the summer months indicate that the species breeds in Michigan. R. E. Olsen noted a young Water-thrush that could hardly fly and 4 adults in Hartland Township, Livingston County, on June 14, 1931, and observed 2 adults there on June 28, 1931. Blanchard and Nelson (MS of 1937) recorded an adult carrying food near Douglas Lake, Cheboygan County, on July 13, 1931. In the Upper Peninsula a nest with young ready to leave was found near Hessel, Mackinac County, by Van Tyne (1923: 25) on June 23, 1920. In the Huron Mountains, Marquette County, Van Tyne heard Water-thrushes singing in late June, 1936; both Christy (1925: 215) and S. S. Gregory, Jr. (1929: 186), believed the species nested there. A fall record worthy of note is that of Swales, who saw 12 near Detroit on September 10, 1902.

Seiurus noveboracensis noveboracensis (Gmelin)
Northern Water-thrush

Common transient.

Many specimens of the Water-thrush in the Museum of Zoology exhibit varying degrees of intergradation between the forms noveboracensis and notabilis. Although some of the specimens mentioned in this account are intermediate in some degree, they tend more toward noveboracensis than toward notabilis (see McCabe and Miller, 1933: 192-97).

SPRING.-The greater number of specimens of the Northern Water- thrush have been taken in the second and third weeks of May in southern counties, and after the middle of the month farther north. In the Lower Peninsula, Brodkorb collected a specimen (U.M.M.Z.) in Erie Township, Monroe County, on May 9, 1937. Specimens (U.M.M.Z.) have been taken in Washtenaw County on May 8, 1940, by L. D. Case, and May 16, 1911, by N. A. Wood; several were secured in Berrien County on May 7 and 10, by N. A. Wood (1922: 29). A single bird was collected at Fish Point, Tuscola County, by N. A. Wood on May 25, 1926. Two specimens (U.M.M.Z.) have been collected from the Upper Peninsula: A. Campbell secured 1 at Whitefish Point, Chippewa County, on May 20, 1914, and N. A. Wood took 1 at Copper Harbor, Keweenaw County, on May 26, 1931.

FALL.-The Northern Water-thrush apparently migrates through Michigan chiefly in late August and early September. At least 9 specimens have been taken on Isle Roy ale (4 in the Max M. Peet collection and 5 in (U.M.M.Z.) from August 24 to September 7. Other specimens from the Upper Peninsula include 1 taken by R. E. Olsen at Deer Park, Luce County, on September 2, 1938, and 2 secured on Drummond Island, Chippewa County, by R. A. MacMullan, 1 on July 28 and 1 on August 9, 1938. The only specimen (U.M.M.Z.) from the northern part of the Lower Peninsula is 1 taken by D. Ameel at Douglas Lake, Cheboygan County, on August 4, 1939. A number of Northern Water-thrushes have been taken in the southern counties: Walkinshaw secured 1 (U.M.M.Z.) at Augusta, Kalama-zoo County, on September 4, 1933; T. D. Hinshaw took 1 (U.M.M.Z.) in Waterford Township, Oakland County, on September 11, 1938; and Max M. Peet collected a specimen near Iosco, Livingston County, on September 10, 1916. In the southeastern part of the peninsula specimens (U.M.M.Z.) have been collected on September 15, 1932, at Ann Arbor by F. E. Brooks; on August 6,2023 (by J. Van Tyne), and August 31, 2023 (by B. R. Camp- bell), in Erie Township, Monroe County. A specimen (U.M.M.Z.) was secured by J. Claire Wood near Detroit as late as September 22 in 1890.

Seiurus noveboracensis notabilis Ridgway
Grinnell's Water-thrush

Common transient.

SPRING.-Spring specimens in the Museum of Zoology are all from southern counties. N. A. Wood (1922; 29) collected 4 in Berrien County between May 5 and May 22 (1918 to 1920). Single individuals were collected by J. Claire Wood on May 19,1909, and by P. A. Taverner on May 26, 1907, in the Detroit area; by F. M. Gaige on May 2,1908, and N. A. Wood on May 3, 1912, in the Ann Arbor region; by Walter Koelz at Waterloo, Jackson County, on May 5, 1929; and by Gibbs in Montcalm County, on May 16, 1883.

SUMMER.-Grinnell's Water-thrush has been observed and collected (U.M.M.Z.) during the breeding season in 2 counties of the Upper Peninsula. N. A. Wood (1918:13) listed the birds as abundant in the vicinity of White- fish Lake, Alger County, during June and July, and recorded the first young there on July 25. F. M. Gaige (1914: 89) frequently observed this water- thrush in Dickinson County, and collected several specimens (U.M.M.Z.) in the first half of July; on several occasions he noted adults carrying food, but found no nests or young.

FALL.-Specimens of Grinnell's Water-thrush (U.M.M.Z.) have been taken on Isle Royale from August 5 to September 18, and 1 (U.M.M.Z.) was taken on Drummond Island, Chippewa County, by R. A. MacMullan on August 12, 1938. In the Lower Peninsula, N. A. Wood (1911: 103) collected a specimen (U.M.M.Z.) on Charity Island, Huron County, on August 27,1910, and F. M. Gaige secured 1 (U.M.M.Z.) there on September 14,1910. Among other specimens in the Museum of Zoology taken in southern counties are: several by N. A. Wood (1922: 29) in Berrien County between August 29 and September 4; 1 by Leonard Wing near South Haven, Van Buren County, on September 16, 1931; 1 by F. H. Chapin at Kalamazoo, September 25, 1886; and 1 by N. A. Wood at Portage Lake, Washtenaw County, on September 6, 1919. Several specimens (U.M.M.Z.) have been taken in Wayne County: E. D. Campbell took 1 on July 16, 1879; J. Claire Wood collected 3 in early September and 1 on October 9, 1906.

Mueseum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75
The Birds of Michigan
By: Norman A. Wood
University of Michigan Press
August 28, 2023

Digitized by: Keith F. Saylor
[email protected]

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