|White Winged Crossbill - All About Birds|
This fall/ early winter seems to be giving us some pretty good hints about what will be around the bird feeders this winter.
Already, birders are seeing winter finches making their appearance in southern Ontario and points south. The so-called winter finches do not show up every winter, because their nomadic travel patterns are determined by the seed crops available to them in northern forests. Not only the seeds of pines and spruce, but also the seeds of hardwood trees, are important winter foods to the winter finches in their normal northern range. Some years, the food supplies in the north are lacking, so many of the birds move south for the winter to find what they need.
Not all of the so-called northern finches are finches, but bird watchers sort of clump a number of them together. Generally, we are talking about White Winged Crossbills, Red Crossbills, Pine Grosbeaks, Pine Siskins, Common Redpolls and Evening Grosbeaks.
Winter finches share a couple of common behaviours. They generally are gregarious, hang out in groups and are nomadic and follow the food. In years when food is lacking in the north, many move south.
|Pine Siskin - All About Birds|
The Evening Grosbeak is always calling, which makes the lives of bird watchers much easier. We hear them flying over or chattering to one another when they are feeding. To learn their song, go to http://www.birdjam.com/birdsong.php?id=39.
|Pine Grosbeak - All About Birds|
The Evening Grosbeak has been selected by the American Birding Association as the Bird of the Year for 2012. And now it’s coming south to live up to its name.
Once people start to know this bird is around, the sales of bird feeders and sun flower seeds will surely increase. They are just delightful to watch and to listen to. The Grosbeaks have heavy beaks and are adept at eating seeds and breaking open the pits of Choke and Pin Cherries. Few other birds have the strength in their bills to open these pits.
Bob Curry, author of Birds of Hamilton, reports that in 1972 there was a major flight of Evening Grosbeaks through Southern Ontario, but, since then, the bird has become rare in Hamilton and surrounding areas. Between 2002 and 2005 only two of these fine birds were seen in the Hamilton Bird Study Area. So far this fall, birders are starting to report sightings from across the northeastern United States and Southern Ontario. So we are well on our way to seeing a strong showing.
|Evening Grosbeak - All About Birds|
Don’t be surprised if they show up in your neighbourhood.
HCA Manager of Operations & Customer Service