Winter Finch Warning in Effect for All of New England

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By Patrick Comins on November 11, 2012, 9:12am Last modified: November 16, 2012, 7:56am

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An Evening Grosbeak.

Each fall, birders look forward to Ron Pittaway's Winter Finch Forecast.  This annual forecast is specific to southern Ontario, but has some broader application for the northeast U.S. as well.  To see a summary of his forecast you can go here:

http://ebird.org/content/ebird/news/ff2012

I have been meaning to write an article for months now on the implications of his forecast for Southern New England, but have waited so long that it is time now for "nowcasting" rather than a forecast.   The finches are upon us in good numbers and there is an all-out invasion underway from Canada, the likes of which we haven't seen in years.   In this slideshow, I will seek to introduce you to some of the players and interpret what you should expect this fall and winter both at your feeders and out in the field. 

Many finches and some other species of birds are what is known as irruptive migrants, that is to say, they are irregular in their movements.  Some years they stay deep within the boreal and sub-boreal wilds of Canada and in other years they can move as far south as the southeast states.   I focus on the east, because some of these species are widespread residents in the western US and can even be found breeding in the southwest states.  Their movements are entirely related to food. If their preferred food is abundant, they will remain to the north, if it is scarce, they will move south and/or east in search of better foraging grounds, including your feeders!  Keep those feeders full this year!

What to expect: 

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Patrick Comins

Town: Meriden, CT  

Reporting for WXedge since September 2012.

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