Evening Grosbeaks!

Evening grosbeak and American goldfinch, Nov 2012 (photo by Marcy Cunkelman)

When I mentioned Ron Pittaway’s Winter Finch Forecast a month ago, I didn’t list evening grosbeaks because (silly me) I didn’t believe they’d get this far. I was wrong. Evening grosbeaks have made it to western Pennsylvania.  Woo hoo!

Evening grosbeaks (Coccothraustes vespertinus) are stocky yellow, black and white finches with heavy bills for cracking open seeds.  They live year-round in coniferous forests across Canada, the northern Rockies, and the Cascades but move south when seed cones become scarce. This winter is one of those years.

Evening grosbeaks are a very big deal in Pennsylvania. They used to visit regularly in the 1970s but their population is declining, conditions changed, and they stopped coming our way.   Their visits have been extremely spotty and intermittent for four decades. The one pictured above (left) visited Marcy Cunkelman’s feeder in November 2012.  In Mt. Pocono, Pennsylvania they returned to Bruce Johnson’s feeders this month after an absence of 42 years!

The eBird map below (12 Nov 2018) shows where they’ve been seen since September. I added seven purple dots for locations mentioned on PABIRDS that weren’t entered in eBird.  Notice the sightings in Crawford and Erie Counties!

PA evening grosbeak reports as of 12 Nov 2018 (eBird map + PABIRDS reports)

Fill your feeders with black sunflower seed and cross your fingers. Check here for the latest evening grosbeak sightings on eBird (Sep-Dec 2018)

I hope we get lucky!

(photo by Marcy Cunkelman, screenshot of evening grosbeaks sightings Sep-Dec 2018 from eBird + enhanced from PABIRDS reports)

1 thought on “Evening Grosbeaks!

  1. When I first saw the Evening Grosbeak at my bird feeder I was amazed, I had never seen such a beautiful, colorful bird. I had no idea what it was and set out to find out what the name of this bird was. Luckily I stumbled upon an article in a magazine that featured the Evening Grosbeak. We feel so blessed to have them visiting our feeder!

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