Winter Finch Forecast: Help Monitor Wild Bird Health

GR:  Here’s another great citizen naturalist opportunity.  Birds, like butterflies, are excellent indicators of ecosystem health. Join the Cornell Lab of Ornithology FeederWatch project beginning November 8, 2014, and make a contribution.

The following by Susan B. Whiting of the Vineyard Gazette

Every fall Ron Pittaway who is the Field Ornithologist for Ontario, Canada makes a winter finch forecast. One of the Vineyard birders always reminds me of same, this year it was Bob Shriber. Ron Pittaway’s forecast is based primarily on tree seed crop availability of spruces, birches and mountain-ashes. The general forecast predicts there will be a “mixed bag” of finch movements. For example purple finch and common redpolls will be seen on-Island as their foods of choice are less plentiful up north where these finches breed. The same is true of red crossbills. Ron Pittaway notes that although there are good spruce cone crops for the pine siskins, there will probably be some movement of these delicate finches into our area. So make sure that your feeders have not only sunflower seeds for the purple finches, but niger seed for the redpolls and siskins. Enjoy these finches they will probably be with us between now and April.


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