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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

More Pine Grosbeaks, Irruptive Species

Pine Grosbeak, russet plumage

same bird

same bird

This Pine Grosbeak is a different individual and has less russet.

And the beat goes on.... As we have been discussing for the last few weeks, New England is getting flooded with "irruptive species," those northern bird species who come down into the U.S. when their winter food supply is scarce. These irruptive species, Pine Grosbeaks, I photographed yesterday at a local school that has a thick planting of crabapple trees. Love the way they just chow down on the crabapples, not even pausing to wipe their bills, Yum! the hardest thing is getting a photo of them without apple all over their bill! Note that these are more russet colored than my earlier photos. Pine Grosbeak females and immatures can be either mustard-olive or russet on their plumage. Adult males are rosy red. Other people in our town have Pine Grosbeaks, a friend just said he had 50 at his house.

And while I am writing this, I just looked out the window and saw 18 Common Redpolls, another irruptive species, at our feeders! The careful birder looks closely at the Common Redpolls to see if they can find the more rare, paler, Hoary Redpoll.

The Christmas Bird Counts are coming up (ours is this Sat.), it will be really interesting this year to see what the increase is in the number of irrputive species and where they are occurring in the country.

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