It’s the time of year to be on the lookout for winter finches! According to the 2018-2019 Winter Finch Forecast, this should be a great year for birdwatching at your feeders!
Every year, once the weather turns, birds like dark-eyed juncos and pine siskins come back into town and are more frequently seen at feeders. Goldfinches have turned their dull brownish-yellow color and will be at nyjer feeders all winter long. This year, we may get even more visitors that aren’t commonly seen in the Rochester area.
Pinecone and birch seed crops have been poor in most of the Northeast this year, so birds who spend the spring and summer nesting in Northern Canada will most likely need to fly further south this winter to fill up on seeds. Because of this it is predicted this will be an irruption year for finches in New York and New England. Here are some of the birds you should be on the lookout for!
The Evening Grosbeak has been in decline and is a rare sight to see. This winter, however, you may be lucky enough to see one in your yard! Evening Grosbeaks are attracted to sunflower feeders, especially feeders with large perches. They are similar in size and in bill structure of cardinals, but they are slightly smaller, yellow and lack the crest the cardinal is known for. There have been a few sightings of Evening Grosbeaks in the Irondequoit area. Check the Rochester Birding Association’s facebook page for more up-to-date information.
Redpolls should be a common sight this winter. Redpolls are a small songbird, about the size of a chickadee. They can be identified by the small red dot on their head. We have two species that may venture into the area, the common and hoary redpoll. Don’t be suprised if you get a large flock of them at your nyjer feeders!
Purple Finches should be more common than usual this winter also. They are similar to house finches, but have much more color. Look for them on your feeders that offer black oil sunflower and safflower seed.
The Pine Grosbeak is a large finch that will definitely stick out if you have them visiting your feeders. They are most attracted to sunflower seed feeders, especially a style with a lot of room for perching! As their name suggests, look for them in pine trees where they will eat pine needles and tree buds.
This winter your best bet for attracting the most birds is to offer a diversity of food in your feeders. Sunflower, or a sunflower seed mix, and nyjer seed is a must. Having suet will attract woodpeckers and nuthatches. This winter we should see an irruption of red-breasted nuthatches in the area. Heated birdbaths are also great for birds in the winter. They keep water unfrozen using an internal thermostat. Heaters are also available to put in a birdbath you already have. Roosting pockets, which are woven fiber “huts” are great protection for birds surviving the elements. They provide birds with a place to roost during inclement weather.
Have you had any neat bird sightings? Post your pictures on to our Facebook page to spread the word!