Tag Archive | finch irruption 2011

My not-so-Common Redpolls

This topic has come up a lot this winter; all the wintering finches here this year. I am going to add on to this topic once again.

My yard in southeast Calgary has gathered a fairly respectable list; about 90 species of birds have visited it in the last 10 years. The Common Redpoll is on this list, having been seen in my yard once in 2009 for all of about 10 seconds. For whatever reason, my community is not favored by redpolls. This year, though, they were everywhere, including my yard.

On December 23, I had a redpoll in my yard for almost half an hour. And not only was it in my yard, but it visited my feeders as well.

We have been seeing so many finches this winter likely because it is an irruption year; a year when food sources (such as catkins and cone crops for finches and lemmings for Snowy Owls) are hard come by on these birds’ normal wintering grounds.

It’s neat for me to be able to see birds I don’t usually see in my backyard, such as the not-so-Common ( in my neighborhood) Redpoll.

Posted by Matthew Sim

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Sunday Showcase: Pine Grosbeaks

Rob English took these shots in December right outside his house, resulting in some great pics and a life bird for himself!  Rob says, “the pictures on the ground are of one who had crashed into the neighbor’s window. The first one is right after she hit and the last one was just before she was flying again. I watched her for about 45 minutes before she flew just to make sure the cats didn’t get her. The robin was hanging out in the tree with these guys. There must have been about 15 female grosbeaks and only one male.” Click to enlarge.