Jan 15 2013

Look Closely

Published by at 7:30 am under Migration,Songbirds

If you merely glanced at this feeder from afar, you might assume all the birds are goldfinches.

They're all the same size, but the two birds at the top are common redpolls, the latest arrivals in a massive irruption of winter birds.

In western Pennsylvania they've joined purple finches, red and white-winged crossbills, pine siskins, evening grosbeaks, and red-breasted nuthatches, all of whom came south because of the drought up north.

I've chronicled other irruptions (see list below) but I don't remember a year in which so many species visited at the same time.  This year the only thing we seem to be missing are snowy owls.

Look closely at your feeders.  You might have some exciting visitors.

(photo by Marcy Cunkelman)

9 responses so far

9 Responses to “Look Closely”

  1. Carol Smithon 15 Jan 2013 at 8:06 am

    My husband noticed a common redpoll at our feeder in South Park a few days ago. Yesterday we were happy to see him back! No female yet.

  2. George Bercikon 15 Jan 2013 at 11:10 am

    About an hour ago,I saw 4 common redpolls and a white-winged crossbill, at home in Jefferson Hills.Earlier this winter,I had several evening grossbeaks,so i have been a fortunate recipient of this season’s major irruption.

  3. CarrolltonOhon 15 Jan 2013 at 6:22 pm

    Kate, are the golden crowned kinglet’s a part of this? I have a pair here in Carrollton Ohio, and finally photographed one, at the suet feeder. (They do Not sit still! lol!)
    Also, at the one park, there are many flocks of crossbills feasting on the white pine cones that are in abundance.
    Here is the pic of the kinglet on photobucket if you would like to see it:


  4. Kate St. Johnon 15 Jan 2013 at 8:13 pm

    Golden-crowned kinglets do migrate but they aren’t numerous in winter in Pittsburgh. However, lots PA birders are reporting kinglets in just the last few days. There must have been a new surge of them. What a strange winter!

  5. Marcy Con 15 Jan 2013 at 8:41 pm

    We have the GCrownKinglets here most of the winter into late April and May…cool you got a photo of it on the suet…you never know what you might see out the windows…I love surprises and learning something new…BTW, had 6 or more Redpolls here today…Still waiting for the Pine Siskins to make an appearance for 2013..(up to 36 species for the yard list.)

  6. Diane Shumakeron 16 Jan 2013 at 11:38 am

    I read about the red polls on your blog yesterday, and today about a hundred of them showed up at my feeders. This year I decided to put up thistle socks, and the birds are so thick on them I can’t see the socks! Also. right after you blogged about the evening grosbeaks, about a dozen showed up at my feeders, and are still here! I live in Tionesta, and this has been an amazing time for bird watching starting in May of 2012 whrn cedar wax wings found my holly bushes!!

  7. Anne Curtison 17 Jan 2013 at 6:17 pm

    This afternoon we had our own personal “irruption” twice! First the lawn was covered with so many grackles that I couldn’t see grass! When they moved on–very quickly–about 20 robins showed up.

  8. Melissa Rohmon 20 Jan 2013 at 1:50 pm

    Just had a common redpoll at our feeders in Scott Township! Still waiting for those grosbeaks…

  9. Karenon 13 Feb 2013 at 8:11 am

    I’ve had a male & female common redpolls at my feeder for over a month now…North Versailles, PA. Their beautiful!

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