Winter Finch Forecast…

Every year several bird species move farther out of their normal wintering range. This movement is called an irruption. Finches and grosbeaks are notorious for these winter movements in years their food supplies in northern Canada run short. And, every year, Ron Pittaway will forecast the movements of several species of irrupting birds.

Primarily focused on the Northeast US, you can find his detailed forecast here. http://www.jeaniron.ca/2011/finchforecast.htm

If you live outside the northeast, you can visit Cornell University’s website at Allaboutbirds.org to find out the wintering ranges of a lot of different birds. I see that my area of St. Louis, Missouri is well within the wintering range of Pine Siskins and Common Redpolls, two birds I’ve yet to see. I may be in the wintering range, technically, but it takes an irruption to get these birds down to me.

So, even though the winter finch forecast is designed for the northeast, I can still use it to guess how likely I will be to see any of these birds over the winter. In this year’s case, not likely….again.

If you are curious about which birds you may see, you can do similar cross-referencing of information yourself. I share this because many people don’t know where to start looking for birds as they begin this hobby. Start with Allaboutbirds.org and use other articles you “google” to verify or connect your thoughts together. These days, the internet really is your friend when it comes to learning a new hobby.

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