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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Evening Grosbeaks, Irruptive Species

Evening Grosbeaks, female on left, male on right

If you haven't guessed by now, our theme of the week is "irrputive species," those usually more northern species of birds who "irrupt" in large scale movements and come down into the U.S. during winters when their seed and cone food supply is lacking. We have heard that this has been a poor year for the cone crop in Canada and there is anecdotal evidence that the Pinyon nut crop in California, Utah and Nevada completely failed this year.
We had Evening Grosbeaks flying overhead here yesterday in southern NH. Watch for these big "space cadet" looking finches with the very large beaks to potentially show up at feeders across much of the U.S. Sunflower is their favorite seed. They like large perches to accomodate their size, so tray feeders and feeders with wide ledges are ideal.
In the West, even Pinyon Jays, who rely on that Pinyon nut cone crop, may be forced out of their usual range. It's shaping up to be a very unusual year.

Photo © Lillian Stokes, 2007


Anonymous said...

These are such amazing birds and seems like a highlight to many peoples back yard bird list! Love your photo of the male and female together like that!

Patty said...

Thanks for the posts about irruptive species. I started looking more carefully at the finches on my feeder here in D.C., and, there was a pine siskin!! A life bird for me. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

There are lots of Evening Grosbeaks on Vancouver Island this year. You could say it's an irruption here.