Monday, November 12, 2007

Winter Finch Invasion.

“I had 4 Pine Siskins.”

“I had 12 Pine Siskins and a male Purple Finch.”

“I got both House and Purple finch, great for comparison AND a Red-breasted Nuthatch.”

“Millie, had Evening Grosbeak.”

All eyes turned to me expectantly.

“The bears haven’t gone down yet. I haven’t put out my feeders.”

They turned away with pitying looks.

Argh! This is annoying. Everyone else is seeing great winter finches at their feeders. I have not seen a Pine Siskin in 15 years; an Evening Grosbeak in 10; or a Purple Finch in at least that. (I have seen Red-breasted Nuthatch thanks to my friends that do have feeders out.) But that’s it.

Here in the Mid-Atlantic the buzz among birders is about the winter finch irruption. This is supposed to be the biggest flight since the late 90s. The tree seed crop has failed in Canada’s boreal forest. The birds are leaving and arriving at feeders down here.

So, hang up your feeders, we are expecting guest from out of town! I am hoping for frigid blasts of cold arctic air so the bears will den up and start their winter snooze, and then I will join you. Until then, tell me what kinds of birds you have at your house.


Anonymous said...

I'm not a birder but I know a few, just by...being alive, I guess:-)
The Grackels(sp?) seem to have gone south already. A couple of Mockingbirds cross the backyard now and then, although I haven't seen them in a week or so. There're at least two couples of Cardinals I see along the back fence, but not lately. Of course, there're always Sparrows(Spatsies we used to call 'em. They're everywhere, aren't they?), and I just heard two of the several Blue Jays screeching from tree to tree down the alley out back. Oh! And here's the coolest part. Back when we first moved in here, 5-6 yrs. ago I spotted, atop a powerline pole across the back alley, what I thought was an owl or hawk. Even when it flew off through the trees(kinda sparse but we do have 'em)20-30 yds. away, I couldn't tell which it was. Then, last year about this time, one night late I heard, "Hoo! Hoo!" somewhere in the backyard. Stopped still to be sure and heard it again. I doused the lights and carefully opened the kitchen window. It was in the tree right by the window, 10 feet above my head! I enjoyed this, hardly able to keep from laughing with delight, for another 10 min. or so, then I heard a rustle above me and the air whipped as mighty wings flew off through the night. Way cool. I haven't seen it again, but I've heard it hooing in the bakyard a couple more times since, the most recent just last week or so.
And I almost forgot, but they reminded me by one of 'em flying across the backyard just now, we also have quite a few pigeons,turtle doves the old folks back home called 'em - those fat grey birds that sit on the fences, powerlines, clothesline poles, and set such a soothing evening mood with their coo sound.
Well, I kinda ran on there a bit, didn't I? Anyway Bev, nice post. Thanks for letting us sit in on the birding clatch.

Anonymous said...

I just realized I mis-spoke in my last, long-winded comment here. In the first line I meant, I know a few birds, not birders. You're the only birder I've ever met, that I know of. Silly me, I've been doin' that the last couple of days.

Bevson said...

I just got back from the Catskills where I saw Common Redpolls and Pine Grosbeaks. The Grosbeaks are "ridiculously tame." Awesome.