According to the report Pine Siskins will move east and west this fall searching for areas with excellent spruce cone crops. While there is a good spruce cone crop around James Bay and east across north central Quebec East of Ontario cone crops are generally poor in the Atlantic Provinces, New York state New Hampshire and other northern New England states. Pine Siskins like bird feeders filled with sunflower or thistle (Nyjer) seed.
Many Purple Finches stayed north last year because of good seed crops there but this year expect many to migrate south of Ontario because of poor coniferous and deciduous seed crops in central and northeastern Ontario.
Pine Grosbeak, female
Here's a basic guide to some of the winter finches and how to attract them to your bird feeders.
Purple Finch, males are red, female has a white eyebrow, American Goldfinch, winter, top.
Purple Finch — This is a large-headed, broad-necked, short-tailed finch that is a fairly common winter visitor to the eastern half of the US and along the West Coast. The male is strongly reddish on the head and body while the female is streaked white and brown and has a thick white eyebrow. One of the Purple Finch’s common calls is a distinctive sharp flat “pik.”
Pine Siskin — The Pine Siskin is a slim finch with a small head and fine-pointed bill. At first you might overlook this rather drab streaked brown bird until it opens its wings and reveals a bright yellow streak. It has a distinctive ascending buzzy call that sounds like steam from a boiling tea kettle — “zzzeeet.” Siskins can be in flocks from a few birds to a hundred or more and they can fill the room at your feeders and even eat on the ground beneath, cleaning up fallen seed bits.
American Goldfinches, winter plumage, Pine Siskin, far right.
Evening Grosbeak, male
Evening Grosbeak — Aptly named, this large finch has a huge deep-based conical bill, well-suited to cracking open the large seeds it likes, such as black oil sunflower and even striped sunflower which has a tougher shell. This bill is pale greenish in spring and summer and paler in winter. Both sexes have white patches on their black wings, seen in flight. The male’s body is a deep yellow and he has a dark head with bright yellow eyebrow; the female has a gray head and back separated by a dull yellowish collar. The calls of Evening Grosbeaks have been likened to the sound of old fashioned sleigh bells.