Status of Winter Finch Irruptions in the Northeast–October 2012

There are a number of winter finches that are predicted to irrupt into the northeast this fall and winter due to poor cone and seed crops. Red-breasted Nuthatches, Red Crossbills, and Pine Siskins have been reported in decent numbers throughout much of the region already. I will go through the status of each winter finch in the northeast thus far. Click on each map to see the sightings for the entire country and Canada. These sightings are from August through October 2012.

Pine Grosbeaks are supposed to make a decent flight into southern Ontario, but have yet to do so. There are only a few scattered reports in the northeast.

Pine Grosbeak at Rocky Mountain National Park, Photo by Kyle Horton

Pine Grosbeak sightings in the northeast from August to October 2012.

As predicted, Purple Finches are being reported in good numbers throughout much of the northeast and as far south as North Carolina.

Purple Finch sightings in the northeast from August to October 2012.

Red Crossills are making a nice movement south with birds being reported as far south as Georgia. There are reports in southern Delaware of flyover birds at Cape Henlopen State Park. If possible, take a recording of birds calling or singing and send them to Matt Young at The Cornell Lab of Ornithology (may6 AT cornell DOT edu).

Matt wrote a nice piece on eBird discussing each Type of Red Crossbill and included spectrograms and audio files of flight calls for each type.

*North American Red Crossbill Types: Status and Flight Call Identification

Red Crossbill sightings in the northeast from August to October 2012.

White-winged Crossbills are not supposed to be irruptive in the northeast this year, but birds may wander into the area. There have been scattered reports throughout the northeast with reports coming from north of New York only.

White-winged Crossbill sightings in the northeast from August to October 2012.

Common Redpolls are predicted to make a southerly appearance, but have yet to do so. Last winter, a decent-sized flock showed up along Lake Erie at Presque Isle State Park at the end of December (2011). It may be a month or two before they start showing up in the northeast.

Common Redpoll at Algonquin Provincial Park, Photo by Kyle Horton

Common Redpoll sightings in the northeast from August to October 2012.

Always check Common Redpoll flocks for the illusive Hoary Redpoll. For confirmation, try taking photographs and detailed field notes for validity. There have been no reports in the northeast yet this fall.

Hoary Redpoll sightings in the northeast from August to October 2012.

I have been seeing reports of large flocks of Pine Siskins throughout the northeast over the last two weeks. They are predicted to move south, but could irrupt over much of the country due to their opportunistic feeding habits.

Pine Siskin, Photo by Nate Fronk

Pine Siskin sightings in the northeast from August to October 2012.

Evening Grosbeaks, the ABA Bird of the Year, are supposed to make an appearance into the northeast. Birds have been reported in the northeast, but mostly north of Pennsylvania. Keep and eye on your feeders for this gorgeous bird over the next few weeks and throughout the winter.

Evening Grosbeak sightings in the northeast from August to October 2012.

Red-breasted Nuthatches are being reported in every state except for Florida, with higher concentrations coming from north of North Carolina.

Red-breasted Nuthatch, Photo by Nate Fronk

Red-breasted Nuthatch sightings in the northeast from August to October 2012.

Bohemian Waxwings are expected to make a southerly flight this year, but none have showed up in the northeast, yet.

Bohemian Waxwing sightings in the northeast from August to October 2012.

Check out Ron Pittaway’s Winter Finch Forecast for more details and make sure to report all sightings to eBird so you can add to these cool maps!

Birds of North America–Snowy Owl Species Account

Cumberland County, Pennsylvania Snowy Owl on 1/22/2012 (Photo by Nate Fronk)

The folks over at BNA are allowing free access to the Snowy Owl species account due to the irruption this year. The species accounts that BNA provides are filled with knowledge about each species and I highly recommend that you check it out!