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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Pine Grosbeak, Irruptive Species

As we mentioned in our last blog entry, Pine Grosbeaks are another "irruptive species," coming down into the upper U.S from their western montane and northern boreal breeding range, when there is a lack of winter food. Males have rosy red on their plumage, females and young birds have variable mustard-olive or russet on their plumage. They love crabapples and I photographed this one in winter in northern New Hampshire eating crabapples in a tree behind a fast food restaurant! We still don't have them on our property list here in southern NH, but we keep hoping. Some have been seen on mountain tops nearby. This is another species you can watch for in your yard this winter. Another good reason to plant crabapples in the spring.

Photo @ Lillian Stokes, 2007


Anonymous said...

This is a dream bird to me! Congrats on the stunning photo!

Andree said...

Hi again.

I may have had this today at my feeder. I have many photos. I say pine brosbeak, but someone else says pine warbler, and somebody else says yellow vireo.

In my book, none of these should be here in the snow and cold (it's been single temps for many nights now). But I read about these irruptive species and now I don't know.

Could I ask you to please look on my blog to see if you know? If you can't, I understand.

Thank you so much for your time!


Lillian Stokes said...

Your photo is of American Goldfinches in winter plumage. You can still see a little of their yellow under their chin and they have the black wings and conical, pointed beaks of goldfinches. American Goldfinches can be found in VT. in winter. They eat thistle (Nyjer) and sunflower at bird feeders.
Pine Grosbeaks are much larger than goldfinches. The females and immatures are gray and russet, the males are rosy red. Yellow-throated Vireo has long since migrated out of VT. Pine Warblers are slightly larger than goldfinches, are yellow on head and breast, have grayish wings with two prominent white wing bars. They mostly stay in pines and eat insects, on rare occassions come to bird feeders for hulled sunflower. They can stay in New England until Oct. then migrate south.